Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Joyce Omwoha

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Nancy Booker


Graduate School of Media and Communications


This study examines how the Nation Media Group (NMG) utilises comments made on its social media platform to break, update, and ultimately publish stories on social media platforms, the study focused on Facebook. Previous studies have established that the audience has the power to determine what content media houses publish, even forcing social media editors to delete or change stories they publish online. Thus, media practitioners must understand how to best engage with their online consumers while delivering quality journalistic content and maintaining integrity. Through the literature review of similar studies, it was found that scholars have determined that audience comments can be corrective, critical of the media, and additive. This study used both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods- in-depth interviews and directed content analysis. The researcher developed a codebook to analyse social media user comments and categorise them under additive, critical and corrective of the media. The findings revealed that the majority of comments (94%) were additive in nature, particularly adding details to the breaking news stories posted. Critical comments were 4% of those questioning the type of stories that Nation chooses to prioritise as breaking news stories and only 2% of the comments were corrective. The findings also show that social media editors follow rigorous procedures to source information before it is included as part of breaking news posts. The process includes using information shared by journalists present at the sites of unfolding events, sub-editors who craft the short news alerts and other senior editors who determine which stories will be posted on Facebook. These findings contradict the hypothesis of the study, revealing that even though commentators are knowledgeable and can contribute to the advancement of breaking news stories, media houses are wary of spreading fake news, as commentators are not verifiable sources of news, which can cause legal implications to the media house and do not adhere to journalistic rules.