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Now late blooming Dar goes online, media grasps power of social sites... Revolutions are springing

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by nngu007, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Feb 25, 2012
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    Posted Saturday, February 18 2012 at 14:01

    We live in interesting times. Revolutions are springing up everywhere - The Arab Spring; Occupy Wall Street; Walk to Work. For those working the news business, arguably, there has never been a more exciting time to be a journalist.

    But journalism itself is going through a revolution.

    Eight years ago, no one outside of Harvard had heard of Facebook. The micro-blogging site, Twitter, wouldn't come into existence until two years later. However, since they emerged, social networking sites, including the Internet video-sharing platform YouTube.com entered the public consciousness, they have transformed the way news is reported and consumed, and in the process, completely upended contemporary journalism.

    In Tanzania too, media houses are starting to notice the potential of the web. The three most prominent print media organisations - Tanzanian Standard Newspapers (publishers of the Daily News, Habari Leo, Sunday News and Habari Leo Jumapili), IPP Media (The Guardian, Nipashe, Nipashe Jumapili, The Guardian on Sunday and others), Mwananchi Communications, a subsidiary of the Nation Media Group, (Mwananchi, The Citizen, Mwananchi Jumapili, The Sunday Citizen) all have a presence online. Their websites are updated daily with content that appears in the printed editions. But when it comes to incorporating social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter into their work patterns, the picture gets complicated.

    "It's all new. Initially, media houses ignored the social media craze - they never quoted sources and never incorporated it into their news sites," says Orton Kiishweko, an award winning reporter at Daily News.

    However, as Facebook and Twitter gain popularity in the country (according to figures by Facebook, there are over 380,000 registered users of the site in Tanzania), newsrooms are starting to recognise the significance of utilising these tools in their news operations.

    Peter Nyanje, news editor at The Citizen, said, "A few years ago, conservative editors were not enthusiastic about the power and role of social media. But after noting how it has taken the information world by storm, they have now started to appreciate it."

    Last month, the Daily News revealed its newly revamped website,
    DailyNews Online Edition - Daily News | Tanzania's Leading Online News Edition, specifically designed to integrate social media. TSN's webmaster, Richard Kazimoto, told a reporter that the key to the new website was that "the social network integration would allow readers to share stories with friends on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and in turn make it more interactive."

    Mr Nyanje's paper is also making its presence felt on social networking sites. The Mwananchi Communications Facebook page claims over 9,000 "likes" while on Twitter, @MwananchiNews has over 2,700 followers. Furthermore, the paper actively encourages its journalists to employ these platforms in their reporting.

    But old attitudes die hard. According to Mr Kiishweko, the majority of journalists are still averse to Facebook and Twitter. "Many of us, including editors, have little idea on how Facebook and Twitter can be leveraged so that as media houses we can become more relevant to changing patterns among our audience," he says.

    However, younger journalists, who use these sites, are starting to see the potential therein. Richard Mgamba, editor-in-chief of The Guardian on Sunday and a 2009 winner of the CNN African Journalist Award for print media, has noticed this generational divide.

    Younger generation upbeat

    "The younger generation is positive about new media. It helps them get connected, get feedback and get tips. They are able to engage with readers," Mr Mgamba said.

    While it is clear that newspapers are now aware of the potential power of social media, the question still remains as to what extent they are using these tools.

    "Tanzanian media houses are not dealing with social media or incorporating it well enough when it comes to breaking news," said Gaure Mdee, an editor and writer at Fema magazine, arguably the most popular publication in Tanzania. "Why do I say that? Three examples: The Gongo la Mboto ammunition dump explosions, the Zanzibar ferry disaster and the recent Dar floods all happened last year with devastating results - and it took the mainstream [press] up to four hours to respond."

    Mr Mdee is right. Twitter and Facebook were buzzing with information when those three stories unravelled, but media houses were caught off guard and failed to leverage these platforms to report on the breaking news.

    But for Richard Mgamba, it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how the two media work. "You can't say mainstream media was slow," he said. "With social media, anything goes thus it is quick to respond to breaking news. But mainstream media content go through an editorial process."

    For Mr Mdee, this explanation is unsatisfactory. "I think the role of Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for a media house is to get information out there as soon as possible," he said. While he concedes that some of that information may be prone to error or could be unconfirmed, newspapers can augment their coverage by employing these tools.

    "What is clear is, these platforms have so many users; so why not exploit it?" he questioned?.

    Regarding the extent to which media houses are still not yet fully utilising social networking sites, Mr Mgamba said: "Reporters aren't completely knowledgeable about these tools yet. It is a new thing. It is a matter of understanding. As we continue to struggle with this, we'll improve."

    So, what is the role of Facebook and Twitter in the future of Tanzanian journalism?

    "Right now, that role is minimal. We are not utilising it to the maximum," Mr Mgamba said. "But smart phones are now allowing reporters to hook up to the social media faster."

    Mr Omar Mohammed is a Media Analyst with Serengeti Advisers Ltd

  2. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Feb 25, 2012
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    Bring us truthful Change; a change we can believe in ...
  3. G

    Game Theory JF-Expert Member

    Mar 5, 2012
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    so this guy writes about online media in Tanzania and not a word about JF?

    Hivi JF imewakosea nini hawa mainstream media?
  4. EMT

    EMT JF-Expert Member

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    I am surprised too. Can you talk about social media in Tanzania without mentioning Jamii Forums?
  5. G

    Game Theory JF-Expert Member

    Mar 5, 2012
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    Anti JF in the mainstream media is just outrageous

    maybe its about time JF also restructure itself and be more independent from party politics of the MSM

    the hate is way too strong and this is how they repay Max & Co

    dawa kuwapelekea mashambulizi huko huko. About time milango ya diplomasia na kuoneana hawa ikafungwa

    JF should call out on these disgraceful media types

    TIMING JF-Expert Member

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    Kwa kusoma comments za Slidingroof na EMT, nimesham-discredit jamaa
  7. m

    mambomengi JF-Expert Member

    Mar 5, 2012
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    Jamaa wengi hapa JF wanakopi habari kutoka kwenye "mainstream" bila kutoa credit, nafikiri hapo hate ndio inapokolea! Inabidi na sisi ma-repota wa humu tubadilike.
  8. Maundumula

    Maundumula JF-Expert Member

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    Aliamua ku base twitter na fb ambazo zina watumiaji wengi.