Making News Outside Legacy Media

Cheruiyot, David, Wahutu, j. Siguru, Mare, Admire, Ogola, George Otieno orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4513-4550 and Mabweazara, Hayes Mawindi (2022) Making News Outside Legacy Media. African Journalism Studies, 42 (4). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2374-3670

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One of the recurrent questions in journalism scholarship is whether journalism as a profession and institution can grow and thrive outside the traditional newsroom (especially, with the dominant agenda-setting media in most African countries being either state- or privately run press). In introducing this special issue, we revisit this pertinent question, while also considering the implications of today’s digitally networked continent, and the question of the ever-expanding communication ecology that is a dynamic space for media production by both human and non-human actors. First, we acknowledge that the current peripheralization of journalism is a global phenomenon, and that digital technologies seem to reproduce similar trends and patterns in various journalistic cultures across the world, and therefore the increasingly connected continent cannot be understood in isolation. The case studies featured in our special issue show that digital technologies have clearly fast-tracked the changes in media production and intensified the disruptive effects of the operations of non-journalistic actors within the continent’s communication ecology. We then argue that when carefully considered, these changes in media production and journalistic practices are merely part of a continuation of trends that preceded the digital age. Non-traditional ways of making news have been driven mainly by non-journalistic actors’ perpetual need to challenge or question traditional actors, in media and politics, as the exclusive disseminators, the dominant voices, or the sole arbiters in spaces of deliberation within the communication ecology.

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