Changing Production Practices of News and New Audience Configurations at BBC World Service: A Case Study of BBC Hausa on Facebook

Andersson, Matilda (2010). Changing Production Practices of News and New Audience Configurations at BBC World Service: A Case Study of BBC Hausa on Facebook. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f20b

Abstract

This study addresses whether social media like facebook is changing the relationship between audiences and producers of news. Using an ethnographic approach the research follows both the news production and the consumption of social media at the BBC Hausa service through observation and interviews with producers and through analysing facebook statistics and BBC in-house audience data. The study shows that the majority of facebook ‘fans’ are diasporic, younger and more male skewed than average for the BBC Hausa radio audience in Africa. Practically no women take part of the debates on BBC Hausa facebook that predominately evolve around football and politics. Despite the increased potential of interactivity on facebook due to reduced moderation compared to traditional BBC message boards, few ‘fans’ interact on a day-to-day basis and the majority of interactions are in response to traditional news content. The producers do not interact directly with fans but instead use facebook as a source of news, commentary for radio programmes and an address book for eyewitness accounts from all over the world. The study raises important issues about the extent to which social media have a democratising and empowering force for audiences in Africa and for the wider global Hausa diaspora.

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