Newsroom Practices Assessing the Effects of News Media Competition on Objectivity in Kenya: A Case of Standard Group Communication
Kibisu, Martin M
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The aim of this study was to assess the effects of news media competitionon objectivity at the Standard Group. This study was based on three objectives, namely: To assess the effects of newsroom cultures on objectivity; to examine the effects of technology on objectivity; and to determine the effects of competition on newsroom practices. This study adopted in-depth interviews with media experts, namely: News editors, news reporters, producers and correspondents. Data was collected frompractising journalists working for the Standard Group. The main focus of these interviews was examining newsroom practices with the specific focus on how objectivity is applied in the news production process.This study used the gatekeeping and framing theories. Data generated from the study was analysed using three themes, including; newsroom cultures, news media technologies and news media competition. Overall, the study reveals that whereas objectivity as a key journalistic tenet is well understood and appreciated by media practitioners, practise remains largelyunatenable. This is given by the fact that whereas there is a general understanding of what objectivity means among respondents, they indicate that media practitioners have biases, which largely affect their journalistic practices, and particularly those relating to news collection and production. The study also reveals that news technologies are a double-edged sword; they are both beneficial and obstructive in journalism. In essence, whereas there is a general understanding that there are positive changes brought about by the appropriation and use of technologies, for example efficiency and speed of communication, there are also challenges, for example errors that affect factuality of reports. The research further reveals that these challenges come about by the need by media outlets and practitioners for instantentity and immediacy, mostly as a consequence of competition and commercialism. Lastly, whereas the study reveals that news media competition has enhanced the quality of news media content and career growth of individual journalists, the counter narrative is that it has also been a source of many errors and distortion of news media reports that have cast the media house in bad light.
University of Nairobi
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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