The Use of New Media in Journalism and News Dissemination in Zambia: The Case of the Internet

Mambwe, Elastus (2013) The Use of New Media in Journalism and News Dissemination in Zambia: The Case of the Internet. Masters thesis, University of Zambia.

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The field of mass communication has seen a growing use of new technologies that include news websites, weblogs, mobile news alerts and applications among others, mostly over the internet. Collectively, these technologies are part of the emerging area of ‘new media’, of which the internet is considered a key component and is thus recognised as an essential mass medium based on its distinctive technology, manner of use, range of content and services, and its distinct own image, (McQuail, 2005: 28). Despite acknowledging the importance of the internet as a mass medium, it is doubtful that media houses in Zambia have fully developed their capacities in this new arena of mass communication. The impact that the internet has had on the practice of journalism also remained unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the level of use, scope and impact of the internet on journalism in Zambia and to help gain a knowledge base on the available internet facilities for journalists, the available skills and the significant achievements and challenges brought by the internet on the practice of journalism in Zambia. The study also investigated the impact of the internet on the delivery and gathering of news. It also sought to investigate the reasons for the current levels of use of the internet and identify the factors that inhibit the use of the internet and other new communication technologies by the Zambian media. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used, employing a combination of in-depth interviews, structured respondent questionnaires, focus group discussions, observations and policy review in Lusaka and Livingstone between November 2011 and February 2012. The research findings showed that the internet has had a positive impact on the practice of journalism and that it has influenced journalists to engage more with news consumers. However, it was also discovered that further positive impact has been inhibited by factors such as the lack of access to internet facilities; the cost of accessing the internet and other communication technologies, and the lack of training on how to use new communication technologies. It was discovered from both the qualitative and quantitative analyses of the study that there is still a dire need for improved skills on the part of media practitioners for internet’s potential to be fully exploited. It is argued from the findings that new media such as the internet provides greater access to vast and innumerable sources of information necessary for the work of the journalist, hence the need to harness, enhance and promote their use in the news production process. It is further argued that new communication technologies such as the internet and other new media should now be seen as part of society. This means that their use in any production process including that of the news should be considered as valuable as the other tools traditionally employed have been. This realisation is essential for the survival of the modern media house, the journalistic profession and the field of mass communication in the 21st century.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Africana
Depositing User: Mr E Mambwe
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2023 05:12
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2023 05:12

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