Building “Africanised” New Media Training into Journalism Education
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Building “Africanised” New Media Training into Journalism Education






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  • Was a survey of 500 “top African tweeters”
  • These figures are not adjusted for income
  • In rough order of priority

Building “Africanised” New Media Training into Journalism Education Building “Africanised” New Media Training into Journalism Education Presentation Transcript

  • Building “Africanised” NewMedia Training intoJournalism Education
  • There are some v goodbooks out about OnlineJournalism
  • .. But they have un-examinedWestern assumptions
  • … about journalists
  • … but in parts of Africa…• Berger (2005) found ―poor skills and worse ICT infrastructure in many newsrooms‖… [where computers exist] ―in many cases these devices do not work, and a great many more are not even connected to the Internet. This is not even to investigate the models and performance of those devices that are wired. Even as regards unwired computers, in many cases journalists queue to share these rather than have personal workstations. Where there is access, such as in one Malawian newsroom, it is only permitted for 30 minutes per journalists per day.‖
  • … and about the audience
  • Portland Communications (2012)
  • Internet unknown for mostAfricans Gillwald & Stork (2008)
  • Internet broadbandpenetration still < 10% atbest GSMA 2012
  • … though expected to grow GSMA 2012
  • Will cellphones save digitaljournalism?
  • Impressive growthfigures/projections GSMA 2012
  • The future is already here…It‘s just not very evenly distributed – WilliamGibson
  • Numbers can both under andover-estimate mobileavailability•―A report by Buddecomm estimated that 20-25% of the active connections in both Egypt and South Africa can be attributed to second handsets or SIMs… may be much higher in the less developed African nations.‖•On the other hand, shared handsets enable some access for broader range of people. (Nyamnjoh 2005:54)
  • Progress is patchy bycountry GSMA 2012
  • … and between urban andrural, rich and poor•Rural African mobile penetration = 3% /13%•Bottom quintile penetration = 1.6% / 10%All Africa / Middle income countries(World Bank 2009)
  • Cost a significant issue GSMA 2012
  • … for journalists as well asthe public•―journalists do use cellphones extensively for their work — but a disincentive to this is that most of those interviewed are not subsidised by their workplaces for doing so.‖ Berger (2005)
  • Business models & demandfor/awareness of mobile-based news unclear
  • … so much for the supplyside – what of the demand?―It is regrettable that scholarly focushas been rather on what ICTs do toAfricans, instead of what Africans dowith ICTs‖ - Nyamnjoh (2005)
  • The case of citizenjournalism―A chance to replace professionalexclusivity with a participatoryinclusiveness that might lead to agreater variety among the people whocan enter and even run the newsmedia.‖ (Beckett 2008)
  • Making citizen journalists –Cultural barriers•In Grahamstown, S.A. "there is not an established culture of individuals en masse engaging in public communications, even at the level of phoning to comment within radio talk- shows‖ (Berger 2011)•―the quality of production of youth citizen journalism has partly hinged on
  • Making citizen journalists –Skill barriers•Contributors may need ―a lot of training around writing, story- telling, accuracy, verification and fairness.‖ (Berger 2011)(A familiar complaint in the developedworld too!)
  • African ‗citizenjournalism‘•Potentially valuable supplement to overstretched journalists but…•May require significant social & technical capacity building•Beware over-reliance on content & views from urban elites
  • Suggested foci foreducators•Basic digital skills•Internet research & tools•Reaching Western or diaspora markets•Reaching elite or specialist domestic markets•Reaching and interacting with wider publics in innovative ways
  • Research• Use of most suitable tools for online research (bookmark organization, search engines, etc)where suitable = low bandwidth, offline-compatible• Use of social networks like Facebook/LinkedIn to find Western experts/interviewees• Use of open data initiatives to get Western government & NGO data
  • Reaching Western markets
  • Reaching Western markets
  • Reaching diaspora markets
  • Reaching and interacting withwider publics in innovativeways•Rhodes Uni & Knight Foundation funded citizen journalism effort in Grahamstown, S.A.•Started using SMS•Went on to use local radio, Mxit(Berger, 2011)
  • … not always sustainable
  • References• Beckett, C. (2008). SuperMedia: saving journalism so it can save the world. Malden, MA: Blackwell.• Berger, G. (2005). Powering African Newsrooms: Theorising how Southern African Journalists make use of ICTs for Newsgathering in Doing Digital Journalism: How Southern African Newsgatherers are using ICTs (pp. 1-14). Grahamstown: High Way Africa. Retrieved from• Berger, G. (2011). Empowering the youth as citizen journalists: A South African experience. Journalism, 12(6), 708-726. doi: 10.1177/1464884911405466• GSMA. (2012). African Mobile Observatory. Retrieved from• Nyamnjoh, F. B. (2005). Africas media, democracy and the politics of belonging: Zed Books.• Portland Communications. (2012). How Africa Tweets. Retrieved from africa-tweets/• World Bank. (2009). Information and Communication Technologies : A Boost for
  • Thank you for your attentionDr David R Brake, Senior LecturerDepartment of Journalism & Communicationdavidbrake@gmail.com