Digital Minds in Analogic Bodies: Nigerian Media Practices and Permanent Transition
Nigerian print and electronic media were beset by a revenue crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the context of structural adjustment of the country’s economy, the so-called Fourth Estate became a victim of its own success when its century-long visionary pursuit of democracy and social justice could no longer be sustained by old expectations based on circulation and advertisement. That apparent economic crisis was exacerbated by political problems arising from draconian military practices of rule, censorship, direct intimidation, and the corruption or cooptation of media ethics. The emergence of “guerrilla journalism” in the 1990s, as well as the turn toward digitally-informed “citizen journalism” in the 2000s were practical, though partial, responses to this complex crisis. The professional and ethical grounds of online news outlets and other activist and social-media-driven journalistic practices may be shaky, but it is possible to establish structural links between the current appeals of these Internet platforms and earlier formations, especially those arising from print culture. The arbitrariness that was characteristic of military rule had the paradoxical effect, in some instances, of reinforcing political disobedience in a context where increased mobility of people and availability of technology create new awareness of political freedom. While they may appear disparate and unconnected, these processes were actually informed by thought-through ideas of professionalism. But there are as yet no systematic accounts of these ideas, or of their impact on these processes as historical and social agents. This volume attempts one such preliminary account through a tactical tribute to the Nigerian journalist Dapo Olorunyomi, one of the most consistent articulators of ethical and investigative journalism as a key prerequisite for a democratic public sphere.
This is a call for papers from scholars of print and electronic media on topics related to the broad socio-historical processes described above. Such contributions may include but are not necessarily limited to ethics in media practice; the state of media (print and electronic) in relation to the crisis in literacy and print culture; political control of media; new media and the redefinition of professionalism; case studies of media organizations; media infrastructure; and historical accounts/profiles of epochal moments in post-independence Nigeria media.