The Chronicles is Re-launching to Contribute to Informed Citizenry

The Chronicles newspaper was launched in 2011 but was pushed into abeyance at the end of 2012 and is now re-launching as an online media outlet. It will also have an associated YouTube channel ‘Chronicles TV’.

There are five main reasons why The Chronicles is re-launching. These are:

First, it intends to fill the gap and partake to the opportunities created by the ever changing information communication technologies.

To explain, there is compelling evidence to show that changing technology has affected and continues to dictate the way individuals access and share news and information with many accessing information largely through social media channels like Facebook, twitter – the list is endless.   

As a result, traditional media like television, radio and newspapers no longer ‘break news’ or dictate what’s or isn’t news nor what can or can’t be debated.

In fact, in most cases, social media, particularly Twitter drives what’s debated in traditional media like radio and television.

Yet, instead of adjusting to this new and evolving reality, most media outlets in the country, in their day-to-day reporting still use the old model of “breaking news” of what happened in different public spaces. Most report what social media has already reported!

For instance, a 2017 report on “how media covers policy in Rwanda” published by Pax Press shows that most media houses in the country derive their stories from conferences, meetings and workshops but these are also often simultaneously shared live on social media channels like Twitter or live streamed on YouTube, etc

This failure to adjust has led to many newspapers to close shop as a 2016 Rwanda Governance Report on the state of ‘the print media” in the country shows and many online media outlets are also struggling to cope especially that the same changing technology has also made traditional media business models obsolete.

Yet, the same technology has, at the same time created the opportunities to open “borderless” online media where, if the content is correct and the business model appropriate, it’s possible to create viable media outlets than it has ever been. It’s this opportunity The chronicles intends to partake.

Secondly, a 2017 Study on “How the Media Reports Policy” concluded that not only does the media cover policy as “events” rather than as substantive actions and choices that affect lives and development in the country, but that there is a general lack of serious debate of policies in the media; how they are originated and implemented as well as their impact in society.

For example, the study shows that while 94.2% of issues reported in media relate to policies in a broad sense, 51.1% of these are hard news; 2.1% are investigative stories, 2.4% are interpretive stories; 1.5% are rejoinders; 13.7% features and 8.1% commentaries.

Clearly, this shows a generalized lack of debating or interpreting the meaning and impact of policy or investigating effects of policy.

The Chronicles comes to fill this gap by specializing in interpretive and investigative journalism that is badly needed especially that social media has taken on the role of “breaking news”.

Thirdly, a 2018 study conducted by Rwanda Governance Board titled “Assessing Standards in Media Houses and Associations” shows that not only are journalistic and management standards low in most media houses but also “only 47.7% of media houses have internal journalistic code of conduct and only 31.5% of them enforce them”.

Clearly, this illustrate a professional gap and The Chronicles intends to fill it especially by acting as a training tool for young practicing journalists who will be invited to attend the “Center for Journalism Training and Media Excellency” that is connected to the media outlet at the same time as they produce content for the same media outlet as “in-house trainees”.

Fourth, The Chronicles intends to actively contribute not only to internal debate but seriously engage regional; continental and global issues that are rarely debated.

In particular, it will focus on reporting the East African Community integration more as well as the African Union.

For without the media engaging these issues, integration will remain an elitist affair far from the lives of citizens and without accountability.

By writing and debating national, regional and continental affairs, we intend to contribute to “Telling Our Own Stories”.

Finally, with the prevailing unemployment, The Chronicles intends to play a ‘small’ part in addressing this challenge and, at the same time, training journalists on how to improve their marketability and skills; operate maximally in this age of media convergence and create competitive content that sales.

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