The viability of a free newspaper in the nairobi metropolitan area in kenya: a needs assessment study
Mburu, Stephen N
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The main aim of this study was to explore the viability of establishing a free newspaper in Kenya, and in particular in the Nairobi City County, which forms the Nairobi metropolitan area, to fill the gap left by mainstream paid-for newspapers. Specifically, the study sought to establish the level of daily newspaper readership and accessibility in the Nairobi metropolitan area; to establish the range of issues covered in the Daily Nation, the leading mainstream paid-for newspaper in Kenya; and, to explore the viability of establishing a free newspaper (free sheet) in the Nairobi metropolitan area. The research was informed by three theories: Uses and Gratifications Theory, Agenda-Setting Theory, and Political-Economic Theory. To achieve the study objectives, the researcher used a qualitative research methodology which helped get in-depth details from respondents. Data was collected through qualitative content analysis and semi-structured interviews. The findings of the study indicate that the Daily Nation, as the leading mainstream national newspaper, focuses more on the powerful, the affluent and the elite than on the common man at the grassroots. As such, there is a huge gap left by mainstream newspapers as far as the coverage of grassroots or common man's issues is concerned. The findings also revealed that a free newspaper focusing on issues of concern to the common man — such as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), entertainment, education, human interest, as well as problems associated with water, transport, crime and security — is viable in Kenya, and in particular in the Nairobi metropolitan area.