Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Benjamin Muindi


Graduate School of Media and Communications


This thesis investigates the audience perceptions and the role of cookies in the user experience of selected news websites in Kenya. In an era dominated by digital media consumption, understanding how users interact with online news platforms is crucial for media practitioners and technology developers. The study focuses on the Kenyan context, exploring the unique dynamics that shape user engagement with news content and the impact of cookies on their online experience. The research employed a mixed-methods approach, combining a quantitative survey focused on audience perceptions of cookies and interactions with cookie consent notices and in-depth interviews with commercial website developers. Through in-depth interviews, the study aims to capture the perspectives of commercial website developers on cookie applications on news websites. Concurrently, the analysis of cookies – small pieces of data stored on users' devices provides insights into the technological mechanisms employed by news websites to enhance user experience, personalize content, and facilitate targeted advertising. Key objectives include understanding how users perceive the credibility and trustworthiness of news websites, assessing the role of personalized content in shaping user engagement and examining the implications of cookie usage on privacy concerns. The research also explores the potential trade-offs between personalized content delivery and user privacy within the Kenyan online news landscape. The findings of this study contribute to the fields of media studies, digital journalism, and user experience design. By shedding light on audience perceptions and the impact of cookies on news consumption in Kenya, this research offers practical insights for media organizations, web developers, and policymakers seeking to enhance the online news experience while respecting user privacy. In conclusion, this thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of audience perceptions and the role of cookies in selected news websites in Kenya. The research contributes to a nuanced understanding of the evolving dynamics between media consumption, technology, and user privacy in the digital age by bridging the gap between user perspectives and technological practices.