Thursday January 19, 2017

The Future of Journalism in Africa

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission lawyer George Chikumbirike is met by journalists as he leaves the High Court in the capital Harare April 7, 2008. Zimbabwe's High Court said on Monday it has jurisdiction to decide on an opposition bid to force the release of presidential election results, but delayed the case until Tuesday, an opposition lawyer said. REUTERS/Howard Burditt (ZIMBABWE)

TheSTAR – In early 2016, ninety journalists at daily newspapers across Canada lost their jobs. At broadcasters, the story was no different: at least 600 jobs lost across the sector in the first quarter alone.

The Canadian Media Guild reported 10,000 jobs cut from the print and broadcast industries between 2008 and 2013, including 910 jobs lost following closure of papers by Canada’s largest newspaper chain, Sun Media.

The story is similar across legacy media worldwide.

How has this happened? With the arrival of Craigslist, Google, Facebook and Twitter, the traditional revenue streams for legacy media from classifieds to ad sales effectively disappeared.

Meanwhile online advertising and paywalls generate a tenth of the revenue of the previous model. Rapidly changing technology is fundamentally changing the way in which media is consumed.

This problem is particularly salient in Africa, where journalists are often one of the few checks or balances on government.

Yet funding for quality media can be scarce, forcing journalists to often seek out employment at politically hyper partisan or compromised media organizations.

The implications of compromised financing on journalists’ ability to report human rights and governance issues in countries on the continent are significant for the continent’s democratic future.

The Upper Nile Times

Times Wire Staff
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