Development Journalism Practices on Tanzania’s Social Media: An Analysis of YouTube Online TV

Elisha Merick Magolanga


Abstract Ineffective media engagement of ordinary people in development processes has emerged to be one of the reasons behind slow socioeconomic progress in Tanzania. This paper assesses the practice of Development Journalism (DJ) as a tool for mobilising the participation of ordinary people in development programmes. Specifically, the study targets emerging social media platforms, which facilitates the sharing of user-generated content to be shared online. It explores the extent to which YouTube online TV in Tanzania practices development journalism. The fast penetration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) evolves a media convergence that provides golden opportunities for fostering development journalism through social media (SM) platforms. It addresses one question: To what extent do SM support the growth of DJ in Tanzania? Using quantitative research methods, the study collected data from study a sample of 270 published stories over three months from three YouTube online TV; Mwananchi Digital, Ayo TV and Azam TV. The stories from the online SM platforms associated with the YouTube were measured using Development Journalism principles and indicators as developed by internationally-renowned media academics to determine their DJ status. Historical and political factors affecting DJ have been reviewed and analysed. Key finding reveals low rate of Development Journalism practice through ICTs-powered social media platforms. In fact, the overall number of stories with Development Journalism status is fewer than those with non-Development Journalism status was. Economic, technology and policy actions must complement DJ efforts including training to support the growth of DJ in Tanzania.


Key words: Development Journalism, Development News, Development Communication, Media and Development, and Social Media.

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