Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Rose Kimani


Graduate School of Media and Communications


The media landscape is changing, especially as more and more media audiences embrace social networking sites and consume their news content from social networking sites. Even as media organizations grapple with declining operations due to their traditional models of operation, media editors face a myriad of challenges, including competing with citizen journalism as they push to maintain and retain their journalistic duty of gatekeeping. In the face of the changing ecology of news, this study sought to establish the impact of social networking sites on the production of news and on the gatekeeping role of legacy media editors. The objectives were to assess the contribution of social networking sites to selection of news by legacy media, to establish patterns in the production of legacy media news in the era of social networking sites, and to examine the gatekeeping roles of legacy media editors in the wake of digital disruption. The gatekeeping theory and the networked gatekeeping theory formed the theoretical framework. The researcher adopted a qualitative research approach and a descriptive research design. The sample size of digital editors was arrived at through purposive sampling, and in-depth interviews were employed to generate data. The study established that social networking sites impact the production process of news and play a part in the selection of news by legacy media in Kenya. It also found that social networking sites have resulted in emergent patterns in news production and that feedback received from social networking sites impacts decisions made by editors in legacy media newsrooms. The study concluded that social networking sites have created an avenue for audiences to be part of the prod news production by legacy media newsrooms in Kenya even as legacy media editors are adopting newer strategies afloat and keeping up with the digital disruption. The researcher recommended setting journalistic standards for dealing with content from social networking sites and having l journalism stakeholders adhere to the standards as they embrace emergent patterns in their operations.