How Rwandan Journalists Use WhatsApp to Advance Their Profession and Collaborate for the Good of Their Country

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Social media can create opportunities and networks that empower people and advance communities, especially in developing nations. This study examined how Rwandan journalists believe the professional use of the popular online messaging application WhatsApp influences their daily news processes as well as influences their news audiences. In-depth interviews with journalists revealed that in Rwanda, a developing country that has experienced substantial social and economic progress since its 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, journalists regularly use WhatsApp to generate story ideas, communicate with sources, disseminate news, receive audience feedback, and most notably, to collaborate with one another and promote professional practices for the good of their country. In practice, these activities empowered audiences, increased participation, and improved professionalism, ultimately contributing to the country’s post-genocide reconstruction and development. Theoretically, this research advances knowledge about how journalism is connected to social media and ultimately contributes to a subfield of an emerging area called epistemologies of digital journalism.

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