Africa should consider publishing more weekend online news
After using Google News to examine ICT attention in last week’s post, I decided to next look at the daily distribution of news stories related to African ICT. It has become apparent over the past couple of weeks that few, if any, online news stories focusing on African connectivity or technological development are published on the weekend. The few that exist are written by foreign news outlets, most often in the Middle East, Europe, or United States. Many Western media sources write fewer articles for Saturdays, but put in extra effort for a comprehensive Sunday edition. In Africa, however, the practice seems to be a silent period over the weekend.
Perhaps a day or two of rest is beneficial. Too often we fail to realize how fast the pace of digital life has become. The United States used to completely shut down on Sundays. Now, many services run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the Internet is constantly updated. A similar situation is unfolding in Africa as businesses take root and technology spreads. In 20 years Africans could very well be as on-the-go as more technological advanced cultures are today. The potential social conflicts are many (one of which is how technology will interfere with the Sabbath) but such speculation is for another day.
Still, the act of balancing technology and tradition invokes a Catch-22 situation. At this point, Africa needs to put immediate effort into lasting ICT progress. There is no time to waste if Africa is to catch up with the rest of the world. However, Africa must also find a way to boost its ICT know-how while maintaining a unique culture. In short, Africa cannot simply follow all of the same practices that brought technologically savvy countries their success.
However, African media outlets should entertain the thought of publishing weekend news content. The benefits:
- Internet news readers seek current (no more than 2 days old) information. According to digital standards, stories from late-Friday are dated come Monday morning.
- Even if weekend news stories are more “filler” than down-to-the-hour current, people will get the idea that Africa is even more full of action and development than once thought.
- Foreigners, a good source of investment, will see Africa as a connected region.
- Citizens will have greater awareness of issues that affect their lives.
A recap of the past four weekends of the term ‘africa ict’ in the news shows that African news outlets essentially shut down on the weekend:
Sunday, November 8th: 0 Africa-based articles.
Sunday, November 1st: 2 Africa-based articles from Nigeria’s The Vanguard. The articles are from a ‘Mobile Week with GSM’ weekly feature, and were most likely written earlier in the week.
Sunday, October 25th: an Africa-based article from The Vanguard weekly column, an article from USA’s PBS, an article in a United Arab Emirates’ paper.
Sunday, October 18th: 0 Africa-based articles.
Note: Google News seems to use U.S. time zones for its dating purposes. Therefore, articles indexed by Google on a Sunday are usually published on Monday in Africa. Additionally, some articles are counted twice in Google’s results, but the daily numbers are all relative and can be used in comparison.