One theme that runs through presentations at Highway Africa is how the new mediascape has a significant impact on journalists’ jobs, writes Nalumino Nalumino for the Highway Africa News Agency. There has been rapid downsizing and retrenchments in developed countries like the United States. Could we see similar effects in African media in coming years?


In a paper on Digital Media Business Models, Prof Guy Berger said trust and quality, social civic news and gaming networks, data mashups and data portability are disrupting how traditional media is produced and consumed all over the whole world.
He said newspapers in America are losing circulation and advertising more than ever before. Berger explained that 42 and 31 percent of US sub-editors and photographers have been retrenched on some news titles.
“American newspapers are in absolute crisis even television news is losing audience. . .” he said. 
Berger reported some 4,500 journalists have lost their jobs in the USA. Interestingly, he said some of the media outfits who are laying off staff like the Wall Street Journal are simultaneously hiring videographers and web-editors according to a new multimedia logic.
It seems the future of the developed world’s media is in the multimedia web. This is all the more reason that the general manager of Social Media of South Africa’s largest online operation,, Matthew Buckland said online media should know more about their users to deliver relevant and personalized content and advertising to users.

Punching holes in the gains made by the online media, Buckland said most online advertising are getting insignificant click rates due to improper packaging of advertising and content for their intended users. He said there is need for online outfitters to relook at how they brand user tailored advertising and content which is relevant.
There are 3.3 billion people in the world, Buckland said who use mobile phones. He reckons it is one of the key platform for future access to internet as already evidenced from the statistics in Japan where 70 percent of people access internet by mobile phones.
Buckland who is former general manager of South Africa online news publisher Mail & Guardian Online, also founded the award-wining editorial blog ThoughtLeader and blog aggregator advised online media entities to invest and create multiple brands and user targeted relevant content while creating space for users to participate in agenda setting as some of the innovations that will keep the online media afloat.

* Thanks to Highway Africa News Agency.