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Decline of newspaper readership- content or digital space?


The circulation of Kenyan newspapers has been on the decline since 2014 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statics.

Though the statistics were collected in 2014 and 2015, nothing has changed so far and the decline still hits the once vibrant print journalism in the 80’s and 90’s.

Is it because of the current content carried by both English and Swahili dailies or the growing of digital platform where Kenyans visit and get breaking news on daily basis.

It is a fact that the digital space to some extent has ‘killed’ the print media and people no longer wait until the next day to get what’s news.

The revenue in the sector had also declined following the digital space where Kenyans access news through various mobile applications thus a ‘no need’ of purchasing a newspaper, watching a live broadcast or even listening to the radio.

According to the KNBS 102,000 newspapers were in circulation every morning in 2014, however the number went down to 98,548 copies in 2015 a margin of up to 3.4 % decline.

The Swahili newspapers dropped from 5,800 to 5,209 the same period, statistics that have also rendered many journalists jobless.

The digital space became the big winner where 1.5 million Kenyans accessed news through online platforms up from 1.02 million in 2014 a whopping 53.7 % growth.

To date the margins between print and digital or electronic has been huge

Despite all these figures, the media need to build up on its content and embrace fresh approach to news content and analysis.

Hajj Ramadhan, a Coast based Journalist agrees that though the digital space is unavoidable, journalists and media owners should reinvent so that they give their audience what they do not know.

Oh her part, Radio Journalist and Head of News at a Coast based Islamic radio station Radio Rahma Ruth Keah says that journalists need to conduct research and give their audience fresh, captivating,  fine content and not what the social media  breaks first before even before the mainstream could pick up.