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Interactivity in online journalism : a case study of the interactive nature of Nigeria's online Guardian

by Folayan, Oluseyi Olukemi

Abstract (Summary)
Interactivity is a distinguishing feature of the online environment but online newspapers have been slow in recognising interactivity as an essential condition of effective Web communication. Existing research show online newspapers generally offer few and token interactive options.

This research explored interactivity in online journalism using Nigeria's online Guardian as a case study exploring the nature, levels and utilisation of interactivity and interactive features on the site.

This study found that few interactive options are offered in Nigeria's online Guardian and those interactive options on offer just produced an illusion of interactivity; it was apparent that little effort was made to give interactive options on the site the significant attention they deserve. The study highlighted the difference between the availability and use of interactive features on an online newspaper site: the mere presence of such features does not necessarily speak to the levels or nature of interactivity on the site.

The difficulty in obtaining findings for the qualitative aspect of this study spoke significantly to the findings in light of the fact that these were attempts using interactive options provided by the newspaper site. They stress what relevant literature highlights: the mere presence of interactive features is not in itself interactivity .

Factors contributing to the low levels of interactivity in Nigeria's online Guardian include lack of technical expertise plus human and financial resources and the persistence of a mindset that hinders the development and integration of new information communication technologies and interactivity in online journalism.

Theoretically, the possibilities are vast but the likelihood of translating theory into reality appears slim. For Nigeria's online Guardian to become interactive in a participatory way, it must undergo changes and choices about values, goals and standards. There must be a shift in attitudes and approaches towards news-content production and delivery as well as the problematic commercial aspects of electronic publishing routines and the effect of such choices on management and newsroom organisation.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:journalism and media studies

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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