The impact of technology on journalism is a question that has been asked and answered many times in many forums. However, we are all aware of one aspect of technology and that is it is ever evolving which means we have to keep up with it.

In this regard, the Aga Khan University School of Media and Communications (GSMC) has partnered with the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) to study how new technologies have impacted journalism.  IPSOS Synovate will also participate as the implementing partner.

From the research, it is expected that we will find out about the challenges and opportunities associated with new skills adopted by journalists and their impact on news organizations.

The study will target journalists currently working in Kenya, and looking to find out about the various technologies they are using and their level of adoption as well.

“Based on the findings, GSMC will design and develop programmes that will address the gaps and needs of journalists,” said Michael Meyer, the founding dean at GSMC.

According to Meyer, the study will be an online survey targeting professionals working in various platforms including radio, print, online and television.

As it stands now, more media houses and journalists are finding it necessary to embrace new online tools such as blogs, social media and mobile apps in their work because if they don’t they will be overtaken by citizen journalism which keeps attracting more people by the day.

Today publishing news is less time-consuming, less expensive and you do not have to go and take images at the site or wait for someone to bring you’re their most cherished photo, you can just log onto their Facebook page and you will have a good photo for the story. Today, we easily carry out interviews online with our subjects and that has significantly reduced the amount of time one would use to publish a news story as you do not have to go to the field miles away to get a story. As long as they are online, bingo! You have your story.

With the uptake of all these tools there has also been a surge in fake news because anyone can get access to a blog and post whatever they want about the topical issues of the day. This has posed grave danger to the security of the country, people’s reputations, relationships, privacy and the marriage institution as well.

According to a study commissioned by the strategic communications consultancy Portland in collaboration with GeoPoll, 90% of Kenyans have seen or heard false news around the 2017 general election, with 87% reporting instances of deliberately false – or fake – news. The Reality of Fake News in Kenya, sought to quantify the prevalence and impact of false information during an election campaign in Africa.

 

Apart from fake news, technology has made many journalists throw ethics out of the window in an effort to compete with the merchant of fake news and citizen journalists. Some journalists do not allow themselves time to verify facts or even look for more decent photos. In some instances, people will post graphic photos of a dead or injured person with total disregard to their family. As expected, more people will flock to the website to see the photos and the

website will get more traffic as compared to the other news outlets. While the rewards maybe immediate or long-term, they can also lead to perennial court cases and you may have to pay billions in litigation for a fake story defamation or invasion to privacy.