Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Nancy Booker

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Sam Kamau


Graduate School of Media and Communications


The purpose of the study is to assess how media houses in Kenya are using social media to diffuse their news content and build loyal audiences in a competitive media environment. It uses two media houses, the Nation Media Group and Royal Media Services as case studies. The study aimed at attaining four specific objectives: to examine how social media platforms, facilitate diffusion of news content in media houses in Kenya; to examine whether sharing of news on social media lead to growth of digital audiences; to examine the strategies legacy media stations in Kenya, use to disseminate news content and grow audiences on social media and to explore the challenges associated with relying on social media for news diffusion and audience building. The study adopted qualitative research approach. Multi-case study was used as a data collection method. In-depth interviews aided by interview guide were used to generate data from a purposively sampled respondents. The study was anchored on the media news theory and audience theory. The two theories complemented each other and were useful in bringing on board the comparative advantage of each. The study found out that the two media houses have embraced social media platforms to facilitate diffusion of news. The study established that the primary use of social media is anchored on the broader process of information sourcing and getting feedback from the audience. Further, the study found that social media plays a key role in news diffusion and audience building. The researcher concluded that there is need for the social media account managers in the media stations to have a continuous training to acquire relevant and practical skills to improve the editorial. In addition, there is need to conduct a study on the role of audience on selection of content from social networking sites used by the media stations for news diffusion and audience building as well as a study on the impact of paywall on news consumption on social media.