Browsing by Author "Tshabangu, Thulani"
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- ItemCitizen journalism and alternative media in Zimbabwe: An ethnographic study of citizen participation, newsmaking practices and discourses at AMH Voices(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-12) Tshabangu, Thulani; Botma, Gabriel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dept. of Journalism.ENGLISH ABSTRACT:Technologies such as the internet and mobile smartphones allow citizens to play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing and disseminating news, thereby challenging the dominance of conventional media and professionalised ways of journalistic practices. This production-based ethnographic study investigates the operations of citizen journalism and alternative media in a repressive environment in Zimbabwe. It focuses on citizen participation, newsmaking practices and discourses at the citizen journalism and alternative media outlet of AMH Voices. The study is located within a specific context and timeframe, which isfrom 2014 to 2018, during which Zimbabwe’s multidimensional crisis elongated. Central to this study was an endeavour to demonstrate how the crisis supported the emergence of citizen journalism as well as how citizen journalists constructed and circulated alternative political narratives and counterhegemonic discourses of the crisis at AMH Voices. The theoretical point of departure in this study refers to the public sphere and critical political economy theories. The argument is that a counterpublic sphere emerged, in which AMH Voices was viewed as an oppositional public sphere that afforded marginalised citizens the opportunity to participate in journalistic processes. Participation in journalistic processes enabled ordinary citizens to express themselves and contest the hegemonic position by establishing counterhegemonic news frames, reframing news stories and setting new topics for discursive conflict and negotiation. The critical political economy theory (CPE) was applied to understand how ownership and control at AMH Voices impacted on editorial direction and output. The CPE theory was also applied to understand structural factors that constrained citizen journalism and alternative media in Zimbabwe. Data was collected through triangulated ethnographic methods of participant observation, interviews and critical discourse analysis. AMH Voices was under constant flux as citizen participation, newsmaking practices and discourses changed from the time of its inception in 2014 due to a change of context and organisational factors. The findings revealed that citizen participation occurred at three, namely levels of content production, decision making and public sphere deliberations. Content related participation enabled citizen journalists to contribute to news production processes in different ways and at different stages. Participation in decision making was through a reader representative who sat in the public editorial board to convey reader feedback and interests. Participation in public sphere deliberations was the most common form of citizen participation that occurred through user comments, where citizens engaged in peer to peer review of thoughts and ideas. The newsmaking practices at AMH Voices were structured, unstructured, hybrid and digital. The citizen news discourses were mostly framed in non-dominant perspectives using interpretive news writing styles to express alternative political narratives, challenge the status quo and advocate for radical political change. However, the study showed that citizen journalism and alternative media at AMH Voices were also influenced by contextual and structural pressures and influences, including conservative views on gender, which made it difficult to categorise it as an automatic or consistent counterpublic sphere.