Journalists’ Perceptions of Social Media as Sources of Information in Cameroon

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T imothy M. Shing, Kingsley L. Ngange, Stephen N. Ndode

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Published: 9 May 2024 | Article Type : Research Article

Abstract

In journalism practice, sources make the news. With the world today facing numerous crises: pandemics, terrorism, wars, political instability, hate speech, xenophobia, fake news, and dis/misinformation; getting sources in journalism practice has become more challenging and this is negatively affecting the profession. Sources shy away from giving information to journalists; yet, information remains the stock-in-trade of journalism. Simply put, without information, there is no journalism. With individuals increasingly shying away from giving out information, journalists have resorted to social media sources with limited censorship, reduced cost, diverse platforms, rapid and convenient communication, amongst other merits. Thus, this study, guided by the medium and gatekeeping theories, focuses on uses journalists make of social media as sources of information in Cameroon. The quantitative approach is employed with survey as research method and a questionnaire as data collection instrument. Findings demonstrate that most journalists use social media for newsgathering (119, 93%). WhatsApp (107, 83.6%) is the most used, followed by Facebook (87, 68%), websites (77, 60.1%), Google Updates (76, 59.4%), Twitter/X (50, 39.1%), and Instagram (31, 24.2%) - the least understood and used platform by journalists. Also, 40.6% of respondents affirm social media as effective information sources, 50.8% are neutral, while 8.9% reject the point. Inferentially, journalists significantly consider social media as information sources. It is recommended that journalists approach social media information with caution to ensure they do not spread propaganda or fake news.

Keywords: Journalists’ Perceptions, Social Media, Sources of Information, Cameroon.

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Citation:

T imothy M. Shing, Kingsley L. Ngange, Stephen N. Ndode. (2024-05-09). "Journalists’ Perceptions of Social Media as Sources of Information in Cameroon." *Volume 3*, 1, 38-51