The Impact of ICT on the Print Media Journalist in Uganda

On: September 11, 2009
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About Ali Balunywa
I have 20 years experience in the print media in Africa and Europe. I am in possession of a Bachelors degree in social sciences from Makerere University in Kampala and a post graduate diploma in Journalism and Media management. I am currently following a Masters of Media in New Media studies at the University of Amsterdam.

Website
http://balunywa.blogspot.com/    

On 22 September 2009, I shall graduate from the University of Amsterdam, having fulfilled all the requirements necessary to attain a Masters of Art in New Media and Digital culture which I have been pursuing in last one year.  Here below is the abstract of my research. If you wish to look at the whole research, please visit: Download AliBalunywaMA-Thesis-09.pdf

Abstract

I chose my topic of research because not much research has been done on how ICT has impacted on the print media journalist in Africa. My research will therefore enrich media theorists who lacked information on how the new media has heavily influenced African journalism. I established that Africa’s media density and Internet connectivity are quite low. These limitations however emphasize the strategic importance of African journalists have placed on ICT to enrich their information and reach.

During my research, I established that all journalists are aware of the relevance of ICT and its impact on the day-to-day activities of journalists. I also observed how the new media has reduced the technological gap between the West and South and how ICT has simplified the work of the journalist. Production time has been tremendously cut down by ICT use

To get my results, I used different research methods, which included observation; I worked at the New Vision newspaper in Uganda for one month. I observed how journalists use new media in their day-to-day work. I also participated in the day-to-day work of a journalist. I was deployed by the editor to gather news, write stories and generally attended the daily journalists’ meetings.  I also interviewed 35 journalists, writers, editors, subeditors and managers. Finally, I distributed 200 questionnaires of which 101 were returned filled in. I tried to establish how far ICT/New Media has advanced print media journalism in Uganda.

Journalism in Uganda matured only in the last 20 years. Before this it was basically one of those professions for school dropouts.  Government mostly owned the media industry and its main objective was propaganda. Today all this has radically changed. The private sector has embraced the media and the industry is blossoming.  The journalists have not missed out new advances in technology. African Media professionals to enhance their writing skills, design, layout, photography, presentation, sales and marketing have applied ICT.

From my findings, I established that the new media has been instrumental in narrowing the digital divide between the west and south. Journalists in both situations are using the same new media to facilitate their work. There might be an absence of broadband Internet in Africa, but that doesn’t hinder journalists from using the latest new media tools even as the speeds might be low.

Larger implications of my findings indicate that well as the less developed countries have struggled to economically grow without much success, new technologies seem to have succeeded where other resources have failed. The new media is part of these technologies. What is happening anywhere in the world is now syndicated the world over and can be reported at the same time in Washington, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Kampala.

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