Wired Journalism for Africa: Making It Work

The emergence of online digital tools have dramatically revolutionized the traditional story-telling and publishing model. Rather than merely rely on text and pictures, journalism has an opportunity to open readers or audiences to a revolutionary interactive experience.


Also, production is highly low cost. In todays’ digital storytelling environment, a combination of sound, images, and video can be utilized to enliven the process of storytelling.


In itself, this approach enhances the interactivity of a specific digital platform, thereby increasing the levels of dialogue and conversation.


Unlike the traditional journalistic model in which news is seen as a product to be created and delivered to audiences, online digital tools largely involve audiences playing an active part in defining the meaning of news.


“The audience decides what journalism they want. It always has. And the journalism that people want today has nothing to do with gatekeeping. Unfettered access to information and unparalleled interaction with that information is today’s standard,” says Mark Briggs in an article titled “Raising the Ante: The Internet’s Impact on Journalism Education”.


According to Briggs, journalists today lack the skills required for building the multi-dimensional story-telling model.


“The ability to recognize and make sense of so many sources of information, rumor and speculation – and to publicly interact with those sources – are new skills that many journalists do not possess,” he says.


The challenge in today’s digitalized environment is to create a news model that facilitates dialogue, and makes the audience participate in shaping the value of the conversation.


It is no longer a one way street.  


Journalism in today’s digital media environment, will be circular as opposed to a top-down model, in which readers and audiences are regarded as passive in the process of content creation.


The practice is more about creating an open space utilizing web technologies that can bring people together to address complex, important issues and achieve meaningful results among people.


In its ideal form, journalism seeks to inform, educate and empower citizens to be knowledgeable actors in decisions that affect their own well-being. Journalism is therefore an attempt to define reality.


In a wired environment, it is a fallacy to say that that privilege of content creation is the preserve of traditional journalists.


The internet has given citizen s the power to define their truths and share that information with the rest of the world.


Conversation-focused journalism is indeed the way of the future. In the developing, such models have to exist more traditional print methods.


Due to low connectivity, and adeptness to digital technology, many people still heavily rely on traditional means in spite of the apparent limitations.


Efforts to actively encourage and engage with audiences, particularly young people, need to be promoted. Furthermore, there is need for a platform that promotes the culture and identity of the target audiences.


Platforms must be designed and implemented in a fashion that energizes the target audiences to become active participants.

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