What future for readers’ comments? A master’s thesis on this question was defended on the 3rd of February 2022 at the Advanced School of Mass Communication, by Eileen Fenwi Fopa.

The place of readers’ comments within the online press in Cameroon, towards identifying new patterns for audience feedback” is theme of a master’s thesis that was defended at the advanced school of mass communication, ASMAC by Eileen Fenwi Fopa. This theme has its roots in the advent of the internet and web 2.0 in particular haven brought great innovation to societies and their practices. Not living behind the newspaper that thanks to this web has move from the classical print paper version to online versions. The web 2.0 has brought alongside practices like blogging and readers’ comments that can be of added value to the press, most especially the online press in as far as audience measurement and information edification is concerned.

This work had as objective to know the mode of functioning of the online press in Cameroon most especially the place accorded to readers’ comments. The following research questions came up: RQ1-what editorial model is suitable for the online press in Cameroon? RQ2-What could be the peculiarity of the online press in as far as information edification is concerned? RQ3-Could online newspapers be a response to McLuhan’s thought of “medium being the message”? RQ4- Is the blogging styles not the most appropriate for the online press?             

 Based on the above questions, the following hypotheses were presented:

Main HP- Majority of online newspapers and news sites do not yet have an economic model specific to them

HP1-The broadcasting model is still the most pertinent in online newspapers in Cameroon, though inappropriate

HP2- Medium is indeed the message, as the way we read on paper is practically not the same way we read on screen.

HP3- The blogging system of communication that comes with the web 2.0 is so far the most appropriate and adapted for the online press.

The following results came up, readers’ comments as a new pattern for identifying audience feedback. With the question: do you create space for your audience to comment? And if yes, why? The answer was yes, this already tells that, readers’ comment is one of the pertinent forms for acquiring audience feedback. Equally with the question: how do you measure your audience? The responses were as follows, by the traffic on the site (that is in the form of views, likes and comments). This point to the fact that readers’ comments is of prime importance in as far audience feedback is concerned.

Another discovery was that, the blogging regime is the most appropriate economic model for the online press. Blogging is a form of dairy writing for consumption on the internet, this model encourages a high level of readership as readers are motivated with the aspect of being able to contribute, unlike is the case with the traditional papers where interactivity is relatively slow. These results boils down to the conclusion that, the online press has a bright future if specific rules and regulations are set to better govern this sector.

Author:

Chancelin Wabo

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Email:

chancelinwabo@gmail.com