SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter presented the discussion of key data findings, discussion of the findings, conclusion drawn from the findings highlighted and recommendations made there-to. The conclusions and recommendations drawn were focussed on addressing the purpose of this study which was to: establish the effects of digitalization on the mainstream media in Kenya, to determine the effects of social media on the journalism practice in Kenya, and to find out the effects of digitalization on consumption of media services in Kenya.
The study was organized into five chapters. The first chapter was the Introduction which gave the background on the effects of digitalization on mainstream media and journalism in Kenya, statement of the problem which sought to establish the effects of digitalization on mainstream media and journalism in Kenya (2006-2018). The objectives were to establish the effects of digitalization on mainstream media in Kenya; to determine the effects of social media on the journalism practice in Kenya; and to find out the effects of digitalization on consumption of media services in Kenya. Justification of the study provided the significance for the study for future scholars and academicians as it was to serve as a guide for future research in providing material on the subject of digitalization’s effects on mainstream media and journalism. Furthermore, the findings from the study were to suggest areas where future researchers and academicians may research on. The scope and limitations of the study was limited to the analysis of the effects of digitalization on mainstream media and journalism in Kenya (2006-2018). The study targeted various players in the media industry in Kenya which included Media Owners Association officials, Kenya Union of Journalists officials, Bloggers Association of Kenya writers and heads of media training institutions.
Chapter two presented an analysis of literature as carried out by other scholars on the concept of digitalization and its effects on mainstream media. The study extensively reviewed the impact of digitalization on mainstream media and the journalism practice as the world embraces globalization. The theoretical framework was guided by the research objectives. Uses and gratifications theory of mass media was used in this study as it explains why and how people actively seek out specific media to satisfy specific needs. This is because mainstream media still remains relevant despite social media being available and accessible to audiences.
Chapter three was about research methodology. It covered research design, population, sampling and sample size, data collection and data collection instrument and finally data analysis.
Chapter four presented the findings of the study, analysis of data and presentation of major findings. For the purpose of demonstrating the relationship among the variables, the data was presented in the form of tables and percentages.
5.7 Summary of Findings
5.7.1 Effects of Digitalization on Mainstream Media
On the effects of digital technologies, 87.5% of the respondents indicated that digital technologies had enhanced the collection, dissemination and consumption of information and news while 12.5% indicated that digital technologies had not enhanced the collection, dissemination and consumption of information and news by the mainstream media in Kenya.
On the question of the effects of digitalization on media ethics, 75% of the respondents indicated that digitalization affected media ethics in Kenya, 18.8% indicated that it did not, while 6.2% of the respondents were not sure of whether or not it did.
Regarding the extent to which the integration of social media by mainstream media had widened audience reach, 93.8% of the respondents indicated that it did to a very great extent, 3.1% of the respondents indicated that it did to a great extent while 3.1% of the respondents indicated that it did to a moderate extent.
On whether media training institutions were taking social media as a serious field of study, 81.2% of the respondents indicated that media training institutions in Kenya did not take social media as a serious field of study, while 18.8% of the respondents indicated that media institutions in Kenya took social media as a serious field of study.
5.7.2 Effects of Social Media on the Journalism Practice
On whether journalists needed to know how to use social media effectively in this digital era, 100% of the respondents said that journalists indeed needed to know how to use social media effectively.
On the extent to which citizen journalism affected traditional journalism, 68.8% of the respondents indicated that citizen journalism affected the traditional journalism practice to a very great extent, 18.8% indicated that citizen journalism affected the traditional journalism practice to a great extent while 12.5% of the respondents indicated that citizen journalism affected the traditional journalism practice to a moderate extent.
On whether or not social media increased the propagation of fake news 93.8% of the respondents indicated that social media increased the propagation of fake news while 6.2% of the respondents indicated that social media did not increase the propagation of fake news.
5.7.3 Effects of Digitalization on Consumption of Media Services
On the extent to which social media platforms are used to access information and news, 90.6% of the respondents indicated that social media platforms are used to access information and news to a very great extent. 6.3% indicated that social media platforms were used to a great extent to access information and news, while 3.1% indicated that social media platforms were used to a moderate extent to access information and news.
As to whether or not social media enhanced the speed and immediacy of breaking news, the study established that all the respondents (100%) indicated that it did.
The study also established that 87.5% of the respondents indicated that mainstream media audiences use social media to produce and consume information and news to a very great extent, while 12.5% of the respondents indicated that mainstream media audiences use social media to produce and consume information and news to a great extent.
The study makes the following conclusions:
5.8.1 Digitalization on Mainstream Media
The study found out that digital technologies have indeed aided the gathering, production, dissemination and consumption of information and news. According to Bakker, P. ; Sadaba, C. (2008), the collection, packaging, analysis and dissemination of media products are becoming increasingly participatory. The active participation of users or consumers is seen not only as a common feature of modern productions but desirable as part of increasing cultivation of symbiotic relationships and discipleship, and loyalty which is important as competition for audiences intensifies. Ordinary people are now increasingly involved in media business by contributing stories, pictures and audio-visual material for publication by mainstream media.
The study also revealed that digitalization affected media ethics. Unlike in mainstream media, the digital space hardly has gatekeepers. This lack of regulation makes it easy for citizen journalists to produce content that is too permissive by legal and even cultural standards. According to Witschge ; T. Nygren, media ethics such as truth, impartiality, fairness and objectivity in reporting are not adhered to by citizen journalists as they are not bound by any code of conduct. Often times mobile phones have been used to send pornographic content indiscriminately. Given that pornography is illegal is Kenya, the digital space easily becomes a brooding ground for immoral and unlawful content.
The study also noted that integration of social media by mainstream media helped in widening audience reach. Obijiofor (2015) observed that the youth in Africa have embraced social media for the purposes of connecting and interacting. Seeing as social media has transformed the way youths learn, communicate, collect information, collaborate with their peers and entertain themselves, mainstream media have found it necessary to embrace social media in a bid to widen their audience reach.
The study observed that media training institutions had not taken social media as a serious field of study. It therefore concludes that these institutions should take social media as a serious field of study in order to equip media students for the industry where social media has been embraced.
5.8.2 Social Media on the Journalism Practice
The study established that social media had affected the journalism practice considerably. It found out that journalists are expected to know how to use social media effectively in his digital era. Knight and Cook (2015) describe social media as a form of media whose prime role is interaction rather than just dissemination of information. Social media have been described as powerful tools in guiding journalists in new ways of telling stories because they have tools that enable convergence of audio, video and text.
The study revealed that citizen journalism affected the journalism practice to a very great extent. Apart from the challenge on media ethics, there is also loss of revenue for mainstream media organizations. This is majorly because the audience for offline media seems to be diminishing while the younger generation tends to be more social media-oriented. The problem is that the online audience prefer to get the content free and is yet to embrace the concept of subscription. This means that media organizations are still grappling with ways to generate money from their online platforms besides what they make from advertising.
The study also confirmed that social media increased the propagation of fake news. This was seen as a major challenge that necessitated legal action to deter perpetrators. The President Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta assented to law the Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill passed in Parliament in May 2018, that stipulates stiff penalties on cyber espionage, false publications, child pornography, computer forgery, cyberstalking and cyber bullying. According to a 16th May publication by the Standard newspaper, sharing fake news and propagating hate speech will attract a fine of five million Kenya Shillings or to imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both.
5.8.3 Digitalization on Consumption of Media Services
The study revealed that social media have become popular sources of news and information. Convergence of mobile technology coupled with access to the internet have made it easy for media consumers to access content through online platforms. In a bid to maximize on available resources of manpower and money, media houses now have converged newsrooms. For example, from its converged newsroom, SG is able to use fewer resources to generate news content from a pool of reporters and correspondents with skills to report for print, radio, and television. This has made social media popular sources of news and information.
The study noted that social media had enhanced the speed and immediacy of breaking news. Though this was seen as being positive, urgency to ‘scoop’ or be the first to tell a story by citizen and traditional journalists led some to post information that was unverified or unconfirmed.
The study also found that mainstream media audiences were involved in the production and consumption of media content to a very great extent. The study observed that there were young people who had taken blogging as a career and were writing on issues that were not given coverage on mainstream media. It also observed that twitter was a popular platform where users set agenda and actively discussed issues affecting them in one way or another.
The study concluded that despite social media being popular sources of information especially among the youth, mainstream media were still the most credible sources of news. This is owing to the gatekeeping measures taken to ensure that what is reported conforms to the set legal and cultural standards while also observing media ethics.
The study asked respondents to briefly comment on the effects of digital broadcasting. It was observed that though the transition had hiccups in its inception, the move bore positive results. Variety of channels for consumers, improved signal quality and increased job opportunities for artists, content producers and journalists were among the responses obtained.
On the flip side, loss of revenue for mainstream media was cited as a major challenge as the media marketplace had become increasingly competitive.
From the findings and conclusions, the study recommends that mainstream media and journalists fully embrace and take advantage of digitalization because of its numerous opportunities. Participation by audience in discussions and debates on mainstream media through social media platforms was seen to be a major benefit of digitalization.
The study recommends that mainstream media embraces citizen journalism. Citizen journalists could be useful in telling stories where there are no reporters on the ground. Mainstream media can therefore verify the information and use it if it adheres to the set standards.
The study also recommends that mainstream media improve on the quality of their content as it was noted that not much research was being carried out resulting to shallow reporting. Mainstream media would do better if they would do follow up stories to what they report, or what is popularly known as Day Two journalism.
The study further recommends that media training institution take social media as a serious field of study in order to equip future journalists for the industry dynamics.