A critical reflection on digital disruption in journalism and journalism education


  • Anusharani Sewchurran Durban University of Techology, South Africa
  • Benda Hofmeyr University of Pretoria, South Africa




Digital disruption, Data visualization, Journalism, Journalism education, South Africa


In this essay, we critically reflect on digital disruption in journalism and journalism education with specific focus on the South African context. After contextualising the problematics in terms of what Castells terms the “information technology revolution”, we define data visualisation and survey the existing literature on the subject. The history of journalism education in South Africa is briefly revisited before assessing the current state of the profession in the country. The dangers posed by digital visualisation to the core ethos and function of journalism as a vehicle in the service of contributing to a resilient democracy is thrown into relief by utilising critical concepts from the work of Foucault, Habermas and Fuchs. We subsequently cite a few examples of the undisclosed bias inherent in data visualisation. In conclusion, we consider the feasibility and potential effects of the necessity to adopt data visualisation techniques on journalism in South Africa.


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