EXAMINING THE LINKAGES BETWEEN READERSHIP AND ONLINE NEWS CONTENT IN KENYA: A CASE OF THE NATION MEDIA GROUP

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ABSTRACT
The study examines the linkages between readership and online news content in Kenya. Using the Nation Media Group, the study sought to examine the type of content the Nation Media Group websites—the Daily Nation and the Nairobi News—serve to their targeted audiences and the resultant consumption dynamics. The objectives of the study were to assess readers’ consumption patterns based on content subject, to determine the contribution of multimedia text to readership consumption, explore the relationship between proximity of issues and choice of content and examine the link between consumption of a story and its placement on the website. The study stemmed from the perceived challenges of Kenyan websites serving the “right” content to the diverse online audiences through various digital technology channels. The research employed a netnographic method — a study of online communities — to gather data. Observation, interviews with consumers, website editors and producers, as well as analysis of web consumption analytics were used in the research. The study found out that politics is the most dominant subject consumed by Daily Nation audiences, followed by crime. For Nairobi News, the subject matter was not a big consideration compared with the content’s style and tone. Currency and resonance was also found to be important elements influencing consumption of content. Human-interest stories were found to be popular with the audiences. Evidence revealed that content placement had impact on the consumption of content, both positively and negatively. The study recommends restyling of content on the Daily Nation website in a manner that is more attractive to new audiences. Besides, publishing of more niche content is proposed, as well as more human-interest stories focusing on individual experiences.

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