Blogging, journalism and the public sphere : assessing the value of the 'blogosphere' as a new form of the public sphere : a case study of the Mail & Guardian Online's Blogmark

Sibanda, Fortune (2007) Blogging, journalism and the public sphere : assessing the value of the 'blogosphere' as a new form of the public sphere : a case study of the Mail & Guardian Online's Blogmark. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

[img]
Preview
Text
SIBANDA-MA-TR07-131.pdf

979Kb

Abstract

The study seeks to investigate whether weblogs can act as virtual public spheres, where people can meet to discuss issues of interest to them. It uses the Mail & Guardian Online’s Blogmark as a case study. Weblogs – highly interactive online journals comprised of links and postings in reverse chronological order – are fast becoming an avenue of choice for many internet users wanting to share opinions and news with others online. Because of their unique read-and-write characteristics, some have equated them to the 18th century coffeehouses, around which the early forms of citizen involvement in public affairs began in early capitalist Europe. Despite their growing popularity, however, not much scholarly work has been dedicated to the practice of blogging in Africa, and particularly in South Africa. The study’s theoretical framework is drawn from Jürgen Habermas’s concept of the public sphere. While noting some of the criticisms of the Habermasian model, it is argued that the concept is instrumental in our understanding of the relationship between the media and democracy. The study, however, adopted a re-worked model of the concept of the public sphere. This model argues for the need to have a multiplicity of public sphericules (instead of one single public sphere as advocated by Habermas), around which individuals can congregate to discuss issues of common concern to them. Using a combination of qualitative content analysis, self-completion questionnaires and a semi-structured interview, the study found Blogmark to be an example of how emerging internet genres such as weblogs can be vehicles of citizen involvement in public life. A range of issues were discussed in the blog, from politics, race and ii i gender issues, to personal anecdotes, relationships, and sex. However, while some posts exhibited high levels of interactivity, with many bloggers joining in to offer their opinions, some read like online monologues. The study argues that although blogging is a practice that is still limited to a few privileged individuals, with the everrising size of the ‘blogosphere’, weblogs such as Blogmark are making a small but not insignificant contribution to the number of voices that can be heard in the public realm.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Blogs, Jurgen Habermas, Mail and Guardian, Online journalism, Electronic newspapers
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Journalism and Media Studies
ID Code:2731
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:26 Apr 2012 12:37
Last Modified:26 Apr 2012 12:37
0 full-text download(s) since 26 Apr 2012 12:37
0 full-text download(s) in the past 12 months
More statistics...

Repository Staff Only: item control page