The Wits Centre for Journalism (WCJ) is pleased to welcome Dr Job Mwaura, who joins us as a Research Associate. Mwaura’s appointment follows his success in securing the prestigious Centennial Wits Postdoctoral Fellowship, standing out amongst 29 highly competitive candidates.

“Dr Mwaura brings a wealth of experience and passion to his new role,” says WCJ Director, Dr Dinesh Balliah. “His research primarily focuses on digital transformation and its impacts on society, the economy, and the environment. We are excited to support his work as he seeks to uncover opportunities for enhanced efficiency, cost reduction and creating more equitable and inclusive communities driven by digital innovations.”

Mwaura is also set to publish insights derived from his PhD thesis on digital activism in the era of social media. He has several forthcoming publications this year, and this upcoming work promises to add depth to our understanding of digital cultures and technologies.

“I’m leading a number of intriguing research projects at the moment,” says Mwaura. “One significant endeavour, in partnership with Dr Meghan Cohen from Regis University (Denver, Colorado), probes into Kenya’s complex dynamics of press freedom. I will also be collaborating with Prof David Cheruiyot and Prof Lusike Mukhongo to harness the power of immersive technologies to re-envision African narratives, a pioneering project generously funded by Meta and the National Research Foundation.”

In addition, he is working alongside Dr Last Alfandika in a collaborative research study examining the intricacies of academic freedom in East and Southern Africa. Lastly, joining forces with Prof Mehita Igani, the distinguished South African Chair in Science Communication, Mwaura is actively contributing to a project that bridges digital media and climate consumption in Kenya and South Africa.

“Alongside his new role at the WCJ, we are delighted to announce Dr Mwaura’s re-election to the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) executive committee for the 2023-2025 term, marking his second consecutive term since his initial election in 2021,” says Balliah.

“The AoIR is renowned for promoting critical and scholarly internet research that breaks traditional disciplinary boundaries and encourages interdisciplinary collaboration. Dr Mwaura has consistently embodied these values and has actively worked towards increasing African scholar representation within the association, and his re-election reaffirms his commitment to these critical efforts.”

With plans to reach out to universities and research institutions across Africa and to collaborate with local research networks, Mwaura says he is determined to further enrich the association with diverse perspectives. Additionally, his role as an executive member will strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations, leading to more comprehensive insights into the multifaceted nature of the internet, particularly within the African context.

“My long-term vision for the AoIR involves fostering an environment that addresses pressing global issues like racial segregation, hate, gender and sexual violence, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in online interactions,” says Mwaura. “By encouraging inclusive discussions, I believe the AoIR can take a leading role in addressing these critical concerns.”