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Ghana Digital Journalism Forum Held

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The Ghana News Agency (GNA) in collaboration with the Accra Institute of Technology (AIT) on Tuesday held a day?s forum on digital journalism to examine its impact on traditional journalism and its implications for journalism practice and ethics.

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Professor Clement Dzidonu, President of AIT in his presentation, said in the wake of the internet and with the advent of digital journalism, more people accessed news through many modes and with greater frequency.

“As news is becoming largely accessed through the internet, advertising has also become more drawn to this medium”, he said.

Prof Dzidonu noted, however, that the bulk of online advertising revenue goes to companies that do not make news, such as Facebook and Google.

He indicated that Ghanaian newspapers had not been left unscathed by the global decline in newspaper circulation and were experiencing falling sales and low revenues with the growth of new media.

Prof Dzidonu added that digital journalism was changing the scope of journalism with its characteristic ground-breaking features such as automation of news, crowd sourcing and high presence of interactivity and user-generated content.

“Some of the characteristics such as the increased interactivity and the high speed of propagation are problematic”, he said, adding that in the words of Richard Gingras, the Senior Director of news at Google, ?the internet has the ability to provide support for any opinion, any belief, any fear and give it greater volume.?

Mr Kenteman Nii Laryea Sowah, the Executive Secretary of the Private Newspaper Publishers Association (PRINPAG) who participated in the programme conceded that: ?We are under siege and that is the naked truth?.

Mr Sowah noted that newspapers thrived on advertising revenue and not on sales, and that although some newspapers had begun employing the internet, studies in the United States had shown that the revenue from online advertising was not compensating for the shortfall in print circulation.

Dr Bernard Otabil, General Manager of the GNA said with the advent of the Internet and digital journalism, media establishments either had to innovate or face extinction.

“We can survive and remain relevant only if we do not allow ourselves to become tied down by rules that ignore the realities of the prevailing digital revolution and the future of the media landscape”, he said.

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