Brian Ekdale

Associate Professor, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Iowa

Academic, Blog, Kenya, Publications

New Article: Community Journalism in Kibera

I have a new article in Journalism Practice about the difficulties of doing community journalism in places like Kibera. The article is titled “‘I Wish They Knew that We are Doing This for Them’: Participation and resistance in African community journalism” and will appear in an upcoming special issue on “Community journalism midst media revolution” edited by Sue Robinson. Here’s the abstract:

This article examines the relationship between community journalists and residents in Kibera, a sizable slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Focusing on two videojournalism initiatives, this research explores the structural and cultural features of Kibera that impacted residents’ participation and nonparticipation in these projects. Findings reveal that many residents were unfamiliar with these projects because the organizations were located in a more expensive part of Kibera and the videos were not regularly distributed locally. In addition, Kibera has a history of exploitation by media producers and nongovernmental organizations, so residents are conditioned to be wary of journalism organizations. Thus, while journalists believed they were providing a service to the community, many residents did not see the value of this work. This study reveals that journalists in contentious communities must dedicate adequate resources to building productive relationships with those who are not actively engaged in news production. Otherwise, those who do not believe that journalists are serving the best interest of the community may choose to resist this work.

Make sure you check out the full issue when it appears in print in 2014. In the meantime, you can access the individual articles online. There’s great stuff in there from Seth Lewis, Avery Holton & Mark Coddington, the amazing Katy Culver, and several others.

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