Blogging : investigating the role played by blogs in contemporary South African journalism and the public sphere.
Atagana, Michelle Ishioma.
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This thesis seeks to investigate the role that blogs play in contemporary South African journalism through examining six blogs in the South African blogosphere and their content choices. This thesis draws on four key theoretical frameworks around which the research questions have been formulated: New Media and Journalism, Journalistic Blogging, Audiences and the Public Sphere. There are three key research questions: 1. What is the role played by blogging in contemporary South African journalism? 2. To what extent has the blogosphere become a Public Sphere? 3. How have blogs influenced/changed/impacted on the style and content of South African journalism? The qualitative data collected through blog observation, interviews with blog owner/ editors and concluded focus group discussions with blog readers, is designed to help reveal the role blogs and bloggers play in contemporary South African journalism, and through discussions with the audience and monitoring conversations online, help explore the possibilities of a public sphere. The conclusion of this thesis is that blogs do play a role in contemporary South African journalism and can serve as an effective public sphere. Defining what it means to be a journalist and recognising the differences between blogger and journalist is an issue that needs to be effectively understood before a conclusive agreement is to be reached in the blogger/journalist debate. However, for now the relationship between South African news agents and South African bloggers is promising.
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