Making Meaning of Media Development Today

Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh


This article aims to fill a gap in the academic literature on how employees at a media development intermediary construct meaning of their work. Based on in-depth interviews with 18 employees of Internews, this research shows that employees believe the organization has “evolved” from the past to include the entire “information ecosystem” today. Themes that emerged include a focus on information as a solution, an emphasis on local communities, the desire to give voice to marginalized communities, and a practice of listening. Interviewees strictly adhered to official narratives of their work and to contemporary development orthodoxy, perhaps because of group think and participant bias. Despite these narratives, we have to consider the ulterior motives of media development as a neocolonial project. Although some of the results may seem obvious, there is merit in documenting these findings to demystify media development work today.


information ecosystems, international development professionals, Internews, interviews, media development

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