Converged Newsrooms: A Case Study from West Africa"


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Converged Newsrooms: A Case Study from West Africa" The 2008 Africa Media Leadership Conference: “Doing Digital Media in Africa: Prospects, Promises and Problems”. May 24 to 27, Kampala’s Imperial Royale Hotel,Uganda

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  • Converged Newsrooms: A Case Study from West Africa"

    1. 1. "Converged Newsrooms: A Case Study from West Africa" The 2008 Africa Media Leadership Conference: “Doing Digital Media in Africa: Prospects, Promises and Problems”. May 24 to 27, Kampala’s Imperial Royale Hotel,Uganda Kwami Ahiabenu, II [email_address]
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Introduction -penplusbytes </li></ul><ul><li>New media in West Africa and convergence </li></ul><ul><li>Overview of “converged newsroom” in West Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies of converged newsroom - Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia </li></ul><ul><li>Prospects and challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
    3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>International Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Journalism (Penplusbytes) is a new media organization based in Accra, West Africa with the mandate of promoting ICT Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Established on 18 th July 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>It consists of a network of 300 plus media organizations and journalists interested in using ICTs as a tool for the improvement of journalism. </li></ul><ul><li>Training –online and f2f, research, publishing, </li></ul><ul><li>’ 08- elections project, Ghana, SMS in the newsroom online course (UGC) , communication design and new media book project </li></ul>
    4. 4. What is media convergence ? <ul><li>According to Dr. Mike Gasher : Media convergence is an economic strategy in which communications companies seek financial benefit by making the various media properties they own work together. The strategy is a product of three elements: </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate concentration </li></ul><ul><li>Digitization </li></ul><ul><li>Government deregulation </li></ul>
    5. 5. What is media convergence ? <ul><li>Graham Murdock (2000) identifies the following three trends of convergence in today's media: </li></ul><ul><li>the convergence of cultural forms </li></ul><ul><li>the convergence of communications systems, and </li></ul><ul><li>the convergence of corporate ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Others levels of convergence – </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing partnership </li></ul><ul><li>Job description </li></ul><ul><li>Story telling techniques </li></ul>
    6. 6. Operational definition of converged newsroom <ul><li>Converged newsroom can be described as a content production process which is premised on generation of outputs to multiple news platform. </li></ul><ul><li>Converged newsroom output can be published on the web, appear on TV, radio, SMS and newspaper etc </li></ul><ul><li>Converged newsroom means two (or more) platforms are joined together and becoming similar </li></ul><ul><li>Unified output by a unified team </li></ul><ul><li>For example, eliminating online department and shifting processes into one main converged newsroom. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Convergence in West Africa <ul><li>Broader picture – increasing number of media organizations are integrating ICTs in their operations across board </li></ul><ul><li>A subset of this movement is the gradual evolution of Converged newsroom, which is still at its infancy stage in the sub region </li></ul><ul><li>Business case not fully developed </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges exist but the prospects and the future is bright </li></ul>
    8. 8. Case studies <ul><li>We undertook a quick survey in the following countries : </li></ul><ul><li>Sierra Leone </li></ul><ul><li>Nigeria </li></ul><ul><li>Benin </li></ul><ul><li>Ghana </li></ul><ul><li>Senegal </li></ul><ul><li>The Gambia </li></ul><ul><li>Cote d’lvoire </li></ul>
    9. 9. Factors for and against –converged newsroom <ul><li>Conservatism </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of resources –financial and human </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of understanding/know how </li></ul><ul><li>Demand on time </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive edge </li></ul><ul><li>Trend </li></ul><ul><li>Widespread availability of user friendly technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Business Sense/value added </li></ul><ul><li>Promote stories </li></ul>Reasons Against Reasons for
    10. 10. Converged newsroom - outputs <ul><li>Generally in West Africa outputs from converged newsroom are directly or indirectly delivered to the following platforms : </li></ul><ul><li>Print </li></ul><ul><li>Online </li></ul><ul><li>Radio </li></ul><ul><li>TV </li></ul><ul><li>SMS </li></ul><ul><li>Fon TV - </li></ul><ul><li>voice telephony – mobile or line as a platform is not popular </li></ul>
    11. 11. Advantages of converged newsroom <ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Transmission of news in different formats </li></ul><ul><li>Audience </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to reach beyond usual geographical coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of options for accessing news by the audience </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>More interaction with audience </li></ul><ul><li>More news for audience </li></ul><ul><li>Increased audience numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Access to news is quick </li></ul>
    12. 12. Advantages of converged newsroom <ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to adapt news headlines </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking news </li></ul><ul><li>More information for news research </li></ul><ul><li>Team </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing of ideas/learning from each other </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate team work and makes the job easier </li></ul><ul><li>It gives the opportunity of different individuals with diverse ideas to work as a team </li></ul><ul><li>Availability of more newsroom team to bring more news </li></ul><ul><li>Diversification of opinions and sharing views on news topic </li></ul>
    13. 13. Challenges of converged newsroom <ul><li>Converged newsroom equipment is expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Unstable GSM network </li></ul><ul><li>Internet facility erratic and services limited to urban areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Network problems </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive factors </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult working relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Less sales of the paper since audience have access to news on TV, radio and Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of human capacity in ICT for news room players </li></ul>
    14. 14. Looking ahead <ul><li>Converged newsroom in West Africa is ready for a take off and the prospects are bright </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents said : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Despite the challenges there is always a fulfillment after production </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Converged newsroom helps and it stimulate everyone to prove him/herself </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Despite the challenges it is good to have a converged newsroom </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Leadership issues <ul><li>Change </li></ul><ul><li>Champions </li></ul><ul><li>People management is crucial </li></ul><ul><li>You do not need to be an ICT guru to drive a converged newsroom it is more of leadership and managerial role </li></ul><ul><li>Calls for restructuring of newsroom </li></ul><ul><li>‘ business case’ </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a workable plan </li></ul>
    16. 16. Conclusion <ul><li>Converged newsroom is here to stay with us though it growth is slow, its prospects are bright and there is no doubt it is going to be the face of future newsrooms not only in West Africa but across the continent. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Thank You <ul><li>Kwami Ahiabenu, II </li></ul><ul><li>International Institute for ICT Journalism –penplusbytes </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>