This paper discusses the various ways in which a community newspaper in Mozambique is creatively appropriating new media technologies to enhance its news production and distribution practices. Far from being backward, the case of @Verdade demonstrates that despite being under-resourced, community newspapers in Africa are catching up in terms of creatively appropriating new media technologies. Besides spawning new ways of practising journalism, this article argues that the pervasiveness of new media technologies in the routines of the @Verdade newsroom has engendered collaborative storytelling while at the same time destabilizing traditional journalism’s ethical practices. Using data drawn from qualitative research, the study discusses how the use of social network sites, the mobile phone as well as the internet in general are aiding @Verdade to generate and engage with news sources as well as deliver content to diverse audiences. Drawing on structuration theory (as modified by Orlikowski) and the sociology of journalism approach, the paper argues that the disruptive impact of new media technologies needs to be understood as a duality of influences—the human agency of individual journalists and owners (internal newsroom creativity) vis-à-vis the wider context of news production (restructuring of journalism practice).
This is absolutely nuts.
The rapid global and regional uptake of smartphones has changed the way people communicate and use the internet. This will transform all other industries. A new phase of rapidly diversifying smartphone use has emerged, as consumers are increasingly able to personalize the content they access. Across society people are looking for mobile innovations to improve their everyday lives.
Sub-Saharan mobile consumers use their devices throughout the day and in different locations and for a broad range of activities. The growing trend for anytime, anywhere access to services and features is a key driver of mobile broadband use in the region. In fact, mobile broadband is now the primary way that many Sub-Saharan consumers access the internet. 70 percent of mobile users in the countries researched in the region browse the web on their devices, in comparison to 6 percent who use desktop computers.
As telecommunication technologies become a central part in the way
businesses and society function, key stakeholders in the region such as government and network providers need to put resources in place that assist in dealing with consumer demand. More spectrum will need to be allocated to support networks, as their capacity is not growing as fast as the increase in data traffic.
The idea that phones should have sensors is far from outlandish. Phones already incorporate primitive versions, including the sensor that picks up the cellular signal, light sensors that dim the keyboard and acceleration sensors that notice when the user lifts the phone to his ear. “Today, everybody can look at his phone and say how many signal bars he has,” says Eric Paulos, a researcher at Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker. “In a few years, everybody will look at his phone and see what the pollen count is.” Mr Paulos runs a project on “participatory urbanism” for Intel, which explores exactly how sensors inside mobile phones might improve society. He recently conducted a study in Ghana, where he attached tiny pollution sensors to the phones of 15 taxi drivers. Using the data—the amount of pollution at specific times of day in places where the taxis went—Mr Paulos’s team drew up a pollution map of the city which revealed surprising patterns in particular roads. Some of the taxi drivers changed their routes as a result. Carbon monoxide, ozone, pollen, sun intensity and temperature are among the things that Mr Paulos considers particularly easy to measure by tweaking mobile phones in ways that consumers would not even notice. Any such data would need to be collected in a discreet way to assure the privacy of consumers. But eventually, thinks Mr Paulos, this new twist to the everyday mobility of ordinary people could lead to “grassroots citizen science”.