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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).

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I just bought a new TV. The old one had a good run, but after the volume got stuck on 63, I decided it was time to replace it. I am now the owner of a new “smart” TV, which promises to deliver streaming multimedia content, games, apps, social media, and Internet browsing. Oh, and TV too. The only problem is that I’m now afraid to use it. You would be too — if you read through the 46-page privacy policy. The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how, and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect “when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.” It records “the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.” It ignores “do-not-track” requests as a considered matter of policy.

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The discussion will tackle questions about whether changes within journalism will leave the public knowing more or less than they have in the past. Will new technologies bring us greater depth of information? Will news survive or will celebrity gossip take over? Will citizen journalism carry more weight than traditional TV channels?

The debate will be introduced by magazine editor Rachael Jolley and hosted by columnist, author and Index on Censorship chairman David Aaronovitch.

Speakers include:

Richard Sambrook, professor of journalism and director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University and former director of global news at the BBC.

Raymond Joseph, data journalist and former regional editor of the South African Sunday Times.

Rachel Briggs, director of Hostage UK and deputy director of the Institute of Strategic Dialogue.

Amie Ferris-Rotman, John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and former senior correspondent for Reuters in Afghanistan.

“The motivation question is always important,” Thiel said. “I think [with] the great companies there’s always this mission part where there’s always a sense that if you didn’t do it, no one else would. If you aren’t working on this, this will not get built. That was true of the original Paypal vision.” Thiel said that in most companies, people tend to learn the wrong lessons. For example, if you were in a startup that failed in the 1990s, the lesson was that it was impossible, and that you needed to set your sights on something smaller and easier to execute.
Conversely, if you were a part of a company where everything works perfectly well, like Google or Microsoft, the lesson was that it was too easy, which might contribute to why these companies haven’t produced the volume or caliber of companies that we have seen come from PayPal. Entrepreneurs coming from these types of companies underestimate how difficult it is to build a company. “At this point Silicon Valley has become this magnet for talent from all over the US and all over the world. New York had that position for a quarter of a century, from say 1982 to 2007 or 2008. So, there is a way in which I think Silicon Valley is replacing New York as the place where people try to achieve great things, and I actually think that’s a very healthy shift,” Thiel said.