Date of Award
Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)
Graduate School of Media and Communications
Convergence is not a new concept in Kenya’s media industry. Legacy media organizations in Kenya have relaunched several times in an attempt to integrate their newsroom operations and to create digitally fronted newsrooms. This study explores the news processes that converged newsrooms have put in place to support the integration of previously distinct media operations and the opportunities and challenges inherent in converged newsrooms in Kenya. It is a case study of Standard Group PLC which fully converged its newsroom operations in April 2021 after having undergone several convergence attempts “with little success” (Vaseling, 2021). This study was guided by two theories: Media Convergence Theory and the Disruptive Innovation Theory. The study adopted a Qualitative Study Approach and Descriptive Case Study Design to examine SG as a single unit. The researcher observed intake and output meetings at SG’s converged newsroom, the process of converging story ideas, the media house’s implementation of the Digital First Approach and how stories are identified, assigned, and edited at the SG converged newsroom. In-depth interviews were also conducted with 14 reporters and editors who were selected purposively from SG’s newly created thematic desks in the converged newsroom. The following came out of observation of SG’s converged newsroom processes: the merging of SG’s traditional platforms into a close-knit unit; the inverted news process that starts at the bottom; converging story ideas at SG and the newsroom’s prioritization of digital content. Opportunities of convergence that were identified in this study include: better told stories for the audiences, an opportunity to explore other talents, a better appreciation of the role of the Digital Desk and proper utilization of resources and maximized profits. The study also identified challenges such as too much work, reluctance among journalists to work across multiple platforms owing to personality differences and age, varied platform demands, lack of clarity in roles, gaps in the implementation of the strategy and inadequate facilitation of journalists. The study recommends proper coordination of field reporters and reporters on the digital Radar Desk whose roles sometimes collide. The study also recommends that structures should be put in place to guide the ownership of by-lines where field reporters are collaborating on stories with their digital counterparts. SG should reinforce structures that have been put in place to measure performance of journalists across multiple platforms. The media group should also find a way to align convergence to the Human Resource issues such as facilitation, compensation and managing workloads of the journalists who are now required to generate and submit content across platforms of the converged newsroom.
Aineah, Agnes. (2022). News processes, opportunities and challenges in converged Kenyan newsrooms: a case study of Standard Group Plc (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Aga Khan University. Graduate School of Media & Communications