The Three Alternative Journalisms of Africa


Terje S Skjerdal
Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication, Norway and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Much African journalism scholarship has had a critical stand towards ‘Western’ journalism models. The criticism has resulted in the submission of alternative African journalism models such as ujamaa journalism, ubuntu journalism and oral discourse journalism. The present article reviews a number of significant contributions to normative African journalism models over the past 50 years and argues that they constitute three major streams: journalism for social change, communal journalism and journalism based on oral discourse. The vital differences between these three journalism models are explicated along the dimensions of interventionism and cultural essentialism. The article goes on to enquire why the three journalism models of Africa, different as they are, appear to be in collective conflict with Western journalism paradigms. It is suggested that the dimensions of socio-historicity and professionalism best explain the conflict… [See More]

Radio in Africa: Publics, Cultures, Communities

Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies

Liz Gunner, Dina Ligaga and Dumisani Moyo, eds., Johannesburg: Wits University Press. 2011. pp. 320, ISBN: 9 781868 145508 (Paperback only) Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies 34(3): 168–171 © 2013 Institute for Media Analysis in South Africa

Originating from three events held in South Africa between 2005 and 2007, Radio in Africa is a very welcome addition to the fi eld of radio studies, fi lling a gap in the study of this medium for recent and innovative research based on the experiences of the continent. Although the book can obviously not offer in such a format (17 chapters) a fully comprehensive view of the trends of the whole continent – and northern African countries here are a notable exception – it provides radio scholars with very valuable material to position African radio in the global context and advance the research agenda.

Radio has had, and continues to have, a crucial position in the everyday life of Africans, as is well documented by one part of the book, with the other two being dedicated to chapters exploring the role of the medium in the context of popular democracies, and as a mirror of processes of change…[See More]


The Evolution and Challenges of Online Journalism in Nigeria.

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of Journalism and Citizen Media at Kennesaw State University, USA.)

Two momentous developments have defined the Nigerian journalistic landscape in the last ten years. The first is the migration of all major Nigerian newspapers to the Internet (while actively sustaining their print editions) in hopes of reaching the highly educated Nigerian migratory elite in the diaspora (Youngstedt 2004; Reynolds and Younstedt 2004; Reynolds 2002; Stoller 1999). The second development is the robust growth and flowering of transnational, diasporan citizen online news media that have vigorously sought and captured the attention of Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora (Kperogi 2011; Kperogi 2008). On the surface, these developments seem contradictory, even counter-intuitive: the migration of news content from homeland legacy newspapers to the Internet should have functioned to satisfy the thirst for domestic news by geographically displaced diasporan Nigerians and therefore obviated the need for diasporan-run citizen news outlets. This is more so because the Nigerian diaspora in the West, though highly educated and savvy, had never before now been a vector of informational flows to the homeland (Bastian 1999). So what dynamics actuated this process? …[See More]


African Citizen Journalists’ Ethics and the emerging Networked Public Sphere

Bruce Mutsvairo, Simon Columbus1,*, Iris Leijendekker / Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands

Internet access is scarcer in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world: African Internet users account for barely more than five percent of the world’s online population, and in many countries the Internet penetration rate still lies below five percent. However, the picture is changing rapidly as more and more people gain access. Mobile phone adoption has exploded all over the continent, so much so that today most Africans have access to a mobile device. In a number of countries, the introduction of 3G networks has also revolutionized the way by which many people access the Internet while for most of the previous decade cybercafés prevailed, more and more people now access the Internet via their mobile phones. In these countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, among others a significant share of the population is now online (Columbus & Heacock, forthcoming)…[See More]


Emerging Parterns and trends in Citizen Journalism in Africa: The case of Zimbabwe

Bruce Mutsvairo / Simon Columbus / Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands

Citizen journalism is a relatively novel phenomenon even in developed countries, where the term has come into use since the mid-2000’s (Al an, 2009, p. 18), and even more so in Africa. The boundaries of citizen journalism are not yet clearly drawn, but the term is frequently used to denote non-professional, amateur publication of news items (ibid.). Often, the reporters are “incidental journalists” witnessing and capturing exceptional events (p. 21). As Al an argues, citizen journalism thus plays a particular role in crisis reporting (ibid.). Benkler (2006) argues that citizen journalism is a phenomenon of the emergence of a “networked public sphere” based on digital y networked technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones. In the networked public sphere, “commons-based peer production”, of which citizen journalism is a form, is enabled by two shifts in communication technology, writes Benkler (p. 212): “The first element is the shift from a hub-and-spoke architecture with unidirectional links to the end points in the mass media, to distributed architecture with multidirectional connections among all nodes in the networked information environment. The second is the practical elimination of communications costs as a barrier to speaking across associational boundaries.” That is, digital y networked technologies allow people to become their own broadcasters and to reach unprecedented audiences at low cost…[See More]