Title

Challenges of implementing convergence in Kenyan newsrooms: a case of The Standard Group PLC

Date of Award

1-30-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Sam Kamau

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Wambui Wamunyu

Department

Graduate School of Media and Communications

Abstract

This study sought to find out the challenges of implementing convergence in Kenyan newsrooms: A case of the Standard Group PLC. This study was guided by three objectives: (1) Factors driving the need for newsroom convergence, (2) Key actors driving the convergence process at Standard Group PLC and (3) Challenges of implementing convergence at SG. The study was guided by two theories – Media Convergence Theory and Disruptive Innovation Theory. This study used a Qualitative Research Approach, the researcher conducted in-depth interviews with 13 participants from the institution and one Focus Group Discussion with 9 participants from all editorial departments to collect data. The participants for this study were journalists and editors who have worked at the Standard Group PLC for more than 5 years as well as key actors in the convergence implementation process. All participants were purposively selected. This study identified cost management, competition, technological advances and audience behavior as factors driving the need for newsroom convergence at the group. It also identified that top management, journalists, editors and managing editors as the key actors driving the convergence process. The study also identified five challenges of implementing convergence, they include cost, inadequate communication, organization and newsroom culture, lack of a clear digital/convergence strategy and resistance by some journalists and managers. This study recommends that Standard Group PLC establishes a communication channel that is inclusive of all key actors in the implementation of convergence process. It also recommends training of managers on change management to curb resistance in the newsroom. Standard Group PLC is however at the fore front in coming up with innovative ideas and strategies that will not only change the newsroom operations but the business model as well. Presently, there are ongoing efforts and investments in integrating the content teams and the commercial teams to create viable media products in new a move termed as a business transformation. This is an innovation in response to the digital disruption experienced in the media industry locally and globally.

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