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Title: An analysis of how South African professional journalists perceive their identities on social media
Authors: Tyhalibongo, Xolo Luthando 
Keywords: Journalism -- South Africa;Social media and journalism -- South Africa;Journalism -- Social aspects -- South Africa;Online journalism -- South Africa;Journalistic ethics -- South Africa;Reporters and reporting -- South Africa
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Abstract: Professional journalists in South Africa occupy a very tenuous space. The advent of digital media has fundamentally disrupted journalism and how professional journalists practice their work, and, more importantly, how they perceive themselves. While on one hand professional journalists are citizens with a wide range of views and opinions on a wide range of issues, on the other hand, they are employees of media institutions whose editorial policies set limits on the views and opinions they can articulate. This tension is often confusing not only to journalists but also to ordinary citizens when journalists express their opinions on social media. It is not usually clear whether they share views as citizens or as professional journalists. Premised on the liquid journalism theory and the social self-theory, this study sought to understand how South African journalists perceive their identities on social media and the mechanisms media institutions in the country have developed to assist journalists to negotiate their identities on social media. The data informing the qualitative study was collected using virtual ethnography, qualitative content analysis and semi-structured interviews with purposively selected journalists and editors. The findings of the study show that South African journalists perceive themselves differently on social media. While some journalists perceive themselves as citizens with rights to freely share their views on social media, other journalists view themselves as professional journalists whose identities are tied to their profession and media institutions. The findings reveal tensions and conflict amongst journalists in negotiating their identities on social media. While on one hand they strive to express their views as citizens on the other hand they are constrained by the press code and media company standards that view social media as an extension of their practice as journalists. The study further finds that media institutions in South Africa have not developed comprehensive, consistent and coherent mechanisms to assist professional journalists to negotiate their identities on social media.
Description: Thesis (MTech (Public Relations Management))--Cape Peninsula University of Technology, 2022
Appears in Collections:Public Relations Management - Master's Degree

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