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.
Journalists at major media houses in South Africa use Twitter as a journalistic tool for crowd sourcing, breaking news events, live blogging and to balance, check and cultivate sources. This paper analyses the use of the social network platform by the top 500 South African journalists. The findings suggest that pluralism and openness are important characteristics of the South African Twitter network. Although two strong sub-networks can be detected, we conclude that they give structure to the network and enhance the role of journalists in public debates and democratic decision-making. This is shown in the analysis of three trending news topics related to politics and crime. The last trending topic of the study questions the process of the individualization of journalism through Twitter. The paper concludes by confronting its generic findings from the perspectives and opinions of leading journalists and editors.
This article examines the civil society campaign to stop the construction of a military base in South Korea as a case study in both the promises and limits of global advocacy networks in the digital media age. First the article traces the historical and political contexts leading up to the 2007 decision by the South Korean government to locate the naval base on the coastline of Jeju Island, despite strong objections from residents of the targeted village. Then the article illustrates how local activists fighting the base gained support in the global peace, justice, and environmental movements, even if the larger protest campaign and the international media coverage it generated did not stop the project. The case illustrates how the notion of the ‘global public sphere’ remains highly contingent upon the readiness of local and global political actors to anticipate and overcome the persuasive and coercive powers of national governments as well as national political cultures that can enable authoritarian tactics to stifle public debate. It also illustrates how activists in the global justice movement often run into formidable obstacles when confronted by centralized political and economic power in specific national settings.
The extensive use of social media for protest purposes was a distinctive feature of the recent protest events in Spain, Greece, and the United States. Like the Occupy Wall Street protesters in the United States, the indignant activists of Spain and Greece protested against unjust, unequal, and corrupt political and economic institutions marked by the arrogance of those in power. Social media can potentially change or contribute to the political communication, mobilization, and organization of social movements. To what extent did these three movements use social media in such ways? To answer this question a comparative content analysis of tweets sent during the heydays of each of the campaigns is conducted. The results indicate that, although Twitter was used significantly for political discussion and to communicate protest information, calls for participation were not predominant. Only a very small minority of tweets referred to protest organization and coordination issues. Furthermore, comparing the actual content of the Twitter information exchanges reveals similarities as well as differences among the three movements, which can be explained by the different national contexts.
[JUNE 2014] Facebook recently rolled out an update for Android devices that’s supposed to speed things up for users. If that update delivered on its promise, then you’ve got the company’s trip to Africa to thank – that’s how Facebook’s engineers got a taste of how slow the app can be on low-end phones with developing nations’ internet speeds. One of the social network’s engineers, Alex Sourov, detailed in a blog post how they bought several low-end Android phones in Africa to test out their app, which didn’t only crash repeatedly, but also loaded really slowly. Even worse, they ended up consuming a month’s worth of data plan within 40 just minutes trying to use the app. It became apparent that they needed to give their Android app an overhaul if the social network wants to reach even more people around the globe – so they did.