Date of Award
Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)
Graduate School of Media and Communications
Over the years, technological innovations have become useful in communication and influenced the way people work (UNCTAD, 2018), with social media applications becoming more acceptable for use at work (Agur, 2019; Azeema & Nazuk, 2017; McIntyre & Sobel, 2019). Many newsrooms in Kenya have integrated the use of social media applications in news production. As a result, the social media application WhatsApp has been domesticated by journalists and is widely used as a tool for news gathering and a channel for communication and for news production as a whole. Thus, the study sought to find out what motivates journalists to use WhatsApp for work, how WhatsApp is integrated in news production in Kenya, and how this integration changes journalists’ routines. The study makes use of the Domestication of Technology Theory, which explores how people adopt technology to fit into their lives, adapt it to their use and change their routines in tandem with the technology. In turn, the routines keep changing how they adopt it, and sometimes this cycle of change continues. The study targeted journalists in Kenya and utilised a mixed methods approach. It utilised a survey and key informant interviews to explore motivations for using WhatsApp in journalism, how WhatsApp has been integrated in news production, and how this has changed journalists’ routines. Data was collected using questionnaires and an interview schedule, and analysed at the three levels of descriptive, explanatory and interpretive analysis. Findings were then presented in tables, figures and narratives. The study found that WhatsApp is being domesticated in Kenyan newsrooms and a majority of journalists are motivated to use it, mainly due to its efficiency and ease of use. Integration of WhatsApp in news production has also led to a change in journalists’ routines. However, the same integration has come with challenges, the main one being proliferation of fake news/misinformation. To this end, media houses require more robust action in tackling the challenge of misinformation. In addition, further studies could address what effect the integration of WhatsApp has on quality and credibility of news and/or how it affects newsroom operations and journalists’ roles at a more granular level.
Koga, Valerie R.A. (2021). Whatsapp in the newsroom: utilisation of WhatsApp in journalistic practices in Kenya (Unpublished Masters Thesis). Nairobi: Aga Khan University.