This article critically interrogates the impact of new information and communication technologies on the institutional practices of mainstream journalists in Nigeria with particular reference to current newsroom practices and how user-generated content (UGC) was incorporated into mainstream media coverage of the 2011 Nigerian election. Rooted in the sociology of journalism, the study employs an ethnographic approach to examine the implications of new information and communication technologies for journalistic practices in Nigeria. With a reading of new information technologies as “alternative journalism”, the ethnography, which deployed in-depth interviews with print journalists as well as newsroom observation, investigated whether “alternative journalism” is challenging traditional newsroom culture in Nigeria. The findings suggest that alternative journalism is redefining the roles of mainstream journalists as “news producers”. Journalists have become “gatewatchers” with everyone else, especially during the 2011 elections when citizens actively engaged with alternative journalism in reporting the elections. However, mainstream journalists continue to contest their hegemonic traditional practices of giving prominence to “official” sources in news reporting, and negotiate how “alternative journalism” in the form of UGC is networked into mainstream reporting to avoid publishing rumours. The study concludes that contrary to scholarship that sees digital technologies as “de-professionalising” journalists, mainstream journalism in Nigeria maintains the dominant discourse by articulating and appropriating content from “alternative” sources for subtle economic motives.
News media are an institution where ritualized journalistic practices govern the production of news content. This study analyzes those practices in a new realm, online video, to assess whether this form of video journalism deviates from traditional standards. A content analysis of 882 videos on YouTube reveals that most news videos adhere to traditional production practices (e.g., editing techniques, audio quality), but break from common content standards (e.g., use of sources, fairness). We find that these more relaxed content practices are rewarded with a higher number of views, while adherence to traditional production practices does not predict popularity. Interestingly, online videos that are repurposed from broadcast platforms experience the greatest spike in viewership when breaking from those standards, suggesting that such deviations in traditional television news are especially valued by audiences. We discuss these results in the context of the possibility of a new set of institutionalized practices and address implications for the current and future state of journalism.
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).
For many of the new digital pureplay news companies like First Look, finding the challenges of trying to be a news company in a digital framework is very difficult. You have layers of legal teams, you have layers of checking. I think many of these digital pureplays will have to build the infrastructure and the costs associated with that or they can’t be real news organisations.
Someone who is 23 or 24 years old wants to see someone their own age looking at the world with them, for them, interpreting it, not seeing someone in a studio talking on a live feed to some one down the line who is making it safe or managed for them. What is the connection with a presenter in the studios in their 40s and 50s? The whole process of TV news is not necessarily speaking to that audience.