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Category Archives: Social Media

New Media for the Kenyan Journalist

Networking

New Media's Ubiquity

Imagine this, the year is 1912 and you are a Newspaper Journalist, and you hear of an invention called the RADIO & its great potential in journalism, wouldn’t you be worried? Now imagine, the year is 1950 and you are a radio journalist and there is a huge buzz about the latest invention called TELEVISION, would you have panicked? Journalism is a profession that has undergone a Darwinian process of evolution, from the talking drums and smoke signals to town criers and information posters to telegrams and newspapers to radio and television and now the internet and mobile telephony.

New or advanced technologies are often seen as a hindrance or a threat by what may be perceived as already “established” professions  e.g. Computers to the “then” Secretary with her loyal typewriter, the  digital watch to the “then” watch maker, the tractor to the “then”  farmer with his hoe  etc. This article is in relation to the current to be “then” journalist to his/her pen. Gone are the days of writing stories in shorthand and typing them later in the newsroom. Technology has been creeping into all professions and hasn’t spared the fourth estate and this is witnessed in all levels and departments i.e. from editorial to printing, from news gathering to news dissemination etc . It’s purpose has become synonymous with the everyday operations of a media house. This has presented an opportunity to Media Houses to use it as an excuse to layoff “unskilled” staff and streamline their operations. In addition new technologies have presented a ubiquitous approach to access news i.e. through mobile phones either by SMS, News Apps or mobile Internet, Computers i.e. through websites, blogs, email newsletters etc. But to be fair to Media Houses, Samantha Spooner, a New Media practising journalist from a prominent Kenyan media house, states that some media houses are forced to invest in their staff to bring them up to speed but the reality of the situation is that following strict editorial policy for so long has made them resistant to this evolution. She continues further to indicate that

it has been a long time since such an evolution revolution occurred and they aren’t as dynamic as before!

To repeat Erik Hersmans’ (WhiteAfrican.com)words

Those who create, develop and invest in new technologies are the ones who write the rules of tomorrow.

As much as we acknowledge the presence and purpose of such technology whether software or hardware, journalists are yet to fully or partially explore its potential. In recent training workshops on Development Journalism sponsored by UNDP, the session on New Media seemed to be an eye opener and a beginners class on New Media rather  than a deliberation of  how New Media can be used in sparring  Development Journalism. This is where it came to my realisation that as much as we know of somethings availability do we really know what it really is and how it can be used to one’s advantage? During the training sessions, we came to see how elaborating to the journalist  with the basic knowledge of New Media empowers them to improve their methodology in reporting in terms of increased news collection,  faster dissemination and improve creativity. Kenyan reporters are dynamic, versatile and resilient and I witnessed this in Mombasa earlier in the year where in the middle of a workshop journalists armed with a mobile phone, camera and a laptop were able to stay attentive in the training sessions while gather and send stories back to their respective news rooms. As I witnessed this impressive sight I could not help but wonder whether a huge majority Kenyan Journalists operate similarly to caged fleas that are not aware of how far they can jump.

Sadly for the profession as Aly Khan Satchu (Rich.co.ke) states,

journalists and the media in general urgently need to comprehend the New World.

He was in particular referring to New Media facilitating for Citizen Journalism to flourish for it is more grassroots’ and does not require much skill to execute.

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Posted by on August 16, 2010 in New Media, Social Media, Tech

 

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Ushahidi @ Mind Speak

On 27 March 2010, Erik Hersman otherwise known as White African was invited by Aly Khan Satchu (Rich.co.ke) to come give a talk about Ushahidi and iHub. It was quite an informative and engaging talk. Erik was quite open and descriptive about Ushahidi, how it began, how they got seed money, gaining success and what else is in the works for Ushahidi.

Erik Hersman Presenting about Ushahidi @ Mindspeak

Erik Hersman presenting about Ushahidi @ Mindspeak

Ushahidi has gone international and has been praised by many sectors of the modern society. It has been used in South Africa during the Xenophobic attacks, Congo violence, India elections, Pakistan violence, Haiti earthquake, Washington snowstorm and recently in Chile earthquakes. Locally Ushahidi has been rolled out to report Crime activity in Nairobi, Kenya through Hatari.co.ke

On technology start-ups Erik was quite straight about a few things

Build first, Money later

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Posted by on March 30, 2010 in New Media, Social Media, Tech

 

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New Media + Journalism = National Development?

WindmillThe best way to begin this article is by sharing the story of the teenager from Malawi who dropped out of school but taught himself through the public library and at the age of 14 transformed his rural village by building electric windmills out of a junk bicycle and tractor fan. During a television interview in the USA he said during his first experience with the internet was after his fame and 5 years later after his invention. He “Googled” the word Windmills and he could not comprehend the amount of information presented before him through a small screen within seconds. It was at that moment he wondered

Where has it (Internet) been all this time?

The most obvious thought that comes into one’s mind is “What if he was aware and used the Internet before coming up with his creation?

According to Wikipedia, New Media is a term meant to encompass the emergence of digital,

A school in a Masai village using a MacBook. Apple.com

computerized, or networked information and communication technologies in the later part of the 20th century. Most technologies described as “New Media” are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible, interactive and impartial. Some examples may be the Internet (databases, websites such as blogs, social networking websites etc), Mobile telephony (SMS, MMS, etc). New Media is not television programs, feature films, magazines, books, or paper-based publications.

New Media with Technology Convergence shifts the model of mass communication, and this has radically shaped the ways we interact and communicate with one another in the modern society. How can it be used to reach out and be utilised in the conservative and underprivileged groups? According to Erik Hersman in his article, “THE DARK CONTINENT: ITS STILL DARK”, he states that

Those who create, develop and invest in new technologies are the ones who write the rules of tomorrow

Kenya and Africa as a whole is on the verge of a technical revolution, why shouldn’t the Mass Media be the one to guide this process? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2010 in New Media, Social Media

 

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Evolution or Adaptation? Cohesion or Competition between Social Media and News Media

social media

Social Interactive Media

Social media took the internet culture in such an unpredictable manner that the internet public had to either join in or be left out. It has provided a platform for any party either an individual, company or organisation to express themselves directly with the internet publics(s). It is considered as a more direct ways to express oneself rather than allow someone else the privilege to interpret one’s input, expressions or thoughts. Social media has also provided for real-time participation by users with little or no editing or moderation. This in all has created a novel open internet society that has abruptly unintentionally forced for its recognition as a force not to ignore. This is due to large in part to its Media/press capabilities i.e. collection and dissemination of data and information via text, images and video.

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Posted by on November 13, 2009 in New Media, Social Media

 

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