Dispatches from the dispersed: Comparatively analysing the role of Internet-based diasporic journalism within Zimbabwean and Iranian contexts

Alinejad, Donya and Mutsvairo, Bruce (2015) Dispatches from the dispersed: Comparatively analysing the role of Internet-based diasporic journalism within Zimbabwean and Iranian contexts. In: Journalism, Audiences and Diaspora. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke. ISBN 9781137457226

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Abstract

This study zooms in on two in-depth case studies of websites dedicated to diasporic journalism. It does so with the intention to investigate these websites’ relevance and overall contribution towards transnational connections made to contested democracies in their countries of origin. The first is Tehran Bureau, the first “virtual bureau” covering Iran and its Diaspora. The second is NewZimbabwe.com, an influential news site dedicated to news coverage both inside Zimbabwe and among its Diaspora. The authors present digital ethnographic case studies of the two sites, addressing the central question: in what ways do Diaspora actors from the two countries with repressive environments for journalists and marginalized international statuses come to play influential transnational roles in news production about their “countries of origin.” The study is based on digital ethnographic field research carried out intermittently between 2008 and 2012 within the Iranian Diaspora in Los Angeles, California while the Zimbabwean case specifically explores web-based articles published by NewZimbabwe.com. During this period, the rise in popularity of these two sites accompanied major political turning-points in Iran and Zimbabwe respectively in the form of hotly-disputed Presidential elections. The authors apply the Uses and Gratifications model as a theoretical base to understand the role of Internet-based media in the everyday lives of key Diaspora actors, treating them as both media producers and users at once. The comparison reveals how the particular affordances of digital media are shaped by the particular cultural and political contexts in which they are taken up, and the different ends toward which they are used. Both cases also reflect how these projects of diasporic journalism, in which internet plays an important role, help carve new relationships between web-based journalism and mainstream news media. The authors conclude that the intersection between internet media and diasporic news production -- central in these two cases -- signals a change in the relationships of these diaspora actors to events in the “country of origin,” as well as to audiences in the “country of settlement.”

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: T500 African studies
T600 Modern Middle Eastern studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Media & Communication Design
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Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2014 10:46
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2015 10:13
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/17146

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