Citizen journalism and digital voices: Instituting a collaborative process between global youth, technology and media for positive social change
Robin Worley, Pepperdine University, United States
Pepperdine University . Awarded
Millions of youths in developing countries are described by UNICEF as “invisible and excluded.” They live at the margins of society, facing challenges to their daily existence, powerless to make positive changes. But the emergence of citizen journalism and digital storytelling may offer these youths a chance to share their voices and positively impact their lives. The Internet and mobile devices have allowed ordinary citizens to become citizen journalists by sharing news when and where it happens with a global audience. Digital storytelling is also growing as a means of sharing one‘s personal story with a larger audience than ever before. Both of these emerging areas of digital communication have proven effective in creating change in a variety of settings, from politics to corporations.
This dissertation examines the potential for citizen journalism and digital storytelling to empower youths in developing countries by giving them a voice and the tools to share their stories with a global audience, thus increasing awareness and support that may impact their lives in positive ways. This dissertation features a case study of Kenyan teens that used media and technology to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on their lives.
Media artifacts explored included digitals stories, videos and podcasts. Analyses revealed both negative and positive topics and themes; however, there were more positive findings suggesting that youths felt more positive and optimistic about their futures than if they had remained isolated and silent. Two conclusions were drawn from the data. The first is that being a social change agent brings out the best in people: courage, self-sacrifice, strength, collaboration, compassion, and hope. The second is that citizen journalism and digital storytelling are effective means of empowering global youths to create positive social change.
While the conclusions were positive, it also became clear that partnerships are needed with organizations and corporations in developed countries in order to maintain these programs. It is recommended that a network of supportive organizations and corporations be created to work together to uplift youths in developing countries who are striving to make their voices heard on a global level.
Worley, R. Citizen journalism and digital voices: Instituting a collaborative process between global youth, technology and media for positive social change. Ph.D. thesis, Pepperdine University.
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