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Representation of Africa online: sourcing practice and frames of reference

By Ola Ogunyemi

Abstract

The dominant perspective on the representation of Africa in the western media claims that western media coverage is bias and crisis orientated and the liberal perspective claims that the coverage of Africa is not as negative as is often assumed. However, there is a paucity of literature on the representation of Africa online. This research enquiry is relevant because literature claims that the Internet has the potential to resolve the journalistic predicament of representing other culture through political participation and deliberation. But this requires a re-orientation of the sourcing practice of news organization to embrace sensitivity to and knowledge of African cultures. Moreover, the journalistic predicament can be resolved or not depending on the news gathering approach adopted by the news organization. Literature has identified two approaches, that is, ‘gatekeeping’ used mainly by dominant traditional media and ‘gatewatching’ used by alternative media in their quest to counter mainstream ideology. \ud This study examines the impacts of the ‘gatewatching’ approach adopted by Africa Have Your Say (AHYS) website on its representation and frames of reference of Africa. It uses on-site observation, in-depth interviews and textual analysis to gather data. The study found that although the sourcing practice at the AHYS is elaborate and complex, the ‘gatewatching’ approach makes its susceptible to second level agenda setting. Hence, its frame repeats the attributes and tone used by the mainstream traditional media. However, a minority of users did not use repeat this frame in their comments

Topics: P500 Journalism
Publisher: Sage
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0021934710378747
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:2979

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