Changing Times: Prospects of Community Press In the Information Society: A Case of Gweru Times (Published)
The means and ways through which communities receive information has transformed over the past years. Circulating of news through printed newspaper has evolved into a more digital path leaving many questions regarding the future of the printed press. Harper (2010) notes that this shift is sometimes called the social media revolution. Community newspapers play a pivotal role in promoting and maintaining the quality of life in small communities. These roles arise because the community press is often the only media source that provides exclusive local content. To keep the citizens of that community informed of the events, decisions, discussions and debates occurring in their own community. In this information age the community press is undergoing changes and as such the community press should be aware of how people access information in order to stay relevant and prosperous. Nasir (2012) notes that The Information Society or Information Age is a new phenomenon since 1950 which brings with it new challenges as we seek to integrate an expanding universe of print and multimedia sources into our daily lives. Community papers are also becoming more and more prevalent in the country. Sawasky (2010) summarizes that there are three general duties that a community newspaper attempts to fulfill and notes that firstly, the community newspaper is responsible to the citizens of that community to keep them informed and aware of current events. Secondly, the newspaper supports and encourages local businesses as it also a local business that thrives economically when the community thrives. Finally, the community newspaper performs as a vital communications tool for the services of the community.
In the body of qualitative research literature, a number of attempts have demonstrated that technology could serve a useful role to enrich and deepen the process of data collection and analysis. The purpose of this study is threefold. First it attempts to explore possible learning experiences within dialogues among women from the platform of the virtual community (the blog). Second, it endeavors to uncover to what extent women could benefit from this virtual community. Finally, it provides an example and possible strategies for qualitative researchers to incorporate technology into their research. Three analytical strategies were utilized: word count, content analysis, and constant comparison analysis. Two major findings are discovered. First, in this virtual community, women are eager to “know others” and “hear others’ stories” (see figure 1 and table 1). The findings of constant comparison analysis further confirm the results from word count and content analysis. Second, it seems that for qualitative researchers, blogs or similar online formats could provide a rich and meaningful context data for the investigation.