Working journalists in the Honours Mid-Career, Masters and PhD programmes are expected to produce research that relates to ongoing issues in journalism and the operations of the media. Through their research, they critically examine what is well-known to them from their years of professional experience, or isolate a particular area for in-depth analysis. Much of the work that they do provides useful information about South Africa and Africa’s media industry,  brings a new perspective to debates about the media, or makes a contribution to journalism studies.

Student research is generally undertaken within one of the research projects, although Masters students may choose an individual topic. Honours students work on defined themes in groups.

Masters students research reports or theses are available through the university library, which has an electronic database of all dissertations produced from 2006. The database can be searched by keyword from the university library website, or you can browse theses by subject heading, below.


Africa-China research focus

Richard Frank, 2016:  The South African media’s framing of the introduction of Mandarin into the South African school curriculum. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Long-form journalism research reports

Lisa Steyn, 2016: A late harvest: post ’94 policy & its implications in the Hex River Valley. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Brigitte Read, 2016: A narrative exploration of migrants to South Africa and how they navigate the changing immigration landscape. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Sintha Chiumia, 2016: Bus trip to Joni: the story of undocumented Malawian migrants’ journeys to Johannesburg. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Linda Loubser, 2014: Afrikaner identity in the born-free generation: Voortrekkers, farmers and Fokofpolisiekar. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Critical political economy
(including the impact of advertising on news media)

Felile Moholi, 2015: The influence of government advertising on print media content in Lesotho. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Favour Nunoo, 2015: The ‘serial callers’ of Ghana: how ‘serial callers’ influence public debate on talk radio and the implications for Ghana’s public sphere. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Nicola Mawson, 2011 Critical political economy in practice: the case of an advertising/editorial conflict at Brainstorm. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Helen Ueckermann, 2006: The impact of income-generating strategies at newspapers: a study of Geld. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Ndaba Dlamini, 2009: Doing business at the Financial Mail: the operating relationship between specialized print media and advertisers. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Eno Bassey, 2006: The Rise and Fall of ThisDay Newspaper : The Significance of Advertising to Its Demise. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Community media

Michael Tsingo, 2009: The impact of commercialism on community: a case study of coverage of the Alexandra Renewal Project by two commercially-owned newspapers. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Muchena Zigomo, 2010: Investigating the commercial community press: the influence of commercial factors in audience selection by Caxton Community Newspapers. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Romie Murkens, 2009: The ‘special interest’ and ‘geographic’ models of community radio: a study of the effectiveness of the two models in meeting the needs of the community. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).



Busisiwe Ntuli, 2013. A critical analysis of newsroom processes and attitudes and their implication for the application of the Press Code of Conduct

Olivia Kumwenda, 2010: The functioning and transformation of press self-regulation in a new democratic media landscape: a case study of the South African Press Ombudsman. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Susan Stos, 2009: Chequebook journalism: a South African picture. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Thoraya Pandy, 2009: Advocacy journalism and the organisational factors that support it. A study of Personal Finance in the context of coverage of the retirement annuity reform issue in South Africa. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


HIV/AIDS and the media

Miriam Mokoena, 2014: How journalists view their role in HIV and AIDS reporting in a new South Africa . (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Charles King, 2012: Between science, politics and human rights: media coverage of the blood controversies. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Carol Muchendu, 2008: Sourcing of HIV/AIDS treatment news: A case study of selected  South African print media. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Frederick Ogenga, 2008: Production of HIV/AIDS lessons in the entertainment-education television programme Tsha Tsha and their reception by HIV-positive men in Soweto-Johannesburg. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Media and public debate

Kenichi Serino, 2009:  The origin of ideas in the ‘Paper for the People’: research into how the Sunday Times chooses topics and commentators for its opinion pages. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Philile Masango, 2010: An analysis of the engagements of intellectuals and intellectual activity in the South African media: a case study of the Native Club. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Alan Finlay, 2009: Making space: the counterpublics of post-apartheid independent literary publishing activities (1994-2000). (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Rebecca Kahn, 2010: Oop vir interpretasie: an examination of the South African media’s take-up and representation of the music of Fokofpolisiekar. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Jemima Radebe, 2007: The role of the media in transition to democracy: An analysis of the coverage of the alleged arms deal corruption by The Sowetan and the Mail & Guardian. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Online and new media

Lydia-Anne Plaatjies, 2012: SMS’s at the Public Broadcaster to control editorial decision-making. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Werner Theron, 2011: The impact of new media on motoring journalism in South Africa. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Beverly Tucker, 2009: An assessment of the techniques and strategies used by South Africa’s three top news sites to establish and maintain credibility. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Greg Rule, 2006: Interactivity and democracy in online media, a case study. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Print journalism and its production

Nina Chalmers, 2009: Layout, design and new technology: a documentation and analysis of the impact of new technologies on the design and layout of The Star. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).



Frank Nxumalo, 2010: Representation of women on the main South African public television news bulletins 1999-2005: a critical analysis of representation of women on Women’s Day. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Wilhelmina Luimes-Sindane, 2008: Women making headlines: influences of women editors on newsroom socialisation and the news agenda. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Investigative journalism

Nantie Steyn, 2012: Investigative journalism and the South African government: publishing strategies of newspaper editors from Muldergate to the present. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).



Samantha Keogh, 2006: The Rand Daily Mail and the 1976 Soweto riots: an examination of the tradition of liberal journalism in South Africa as illustrated by the Rand Daily Mail coverage of the Soweto Uprising on June 6, 1976. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).



Anne Muriungi, 2006: Media coverage of Kenya’s 2002 elections: A case study of The Daily Nation and The East African Standard. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Agutu Okech, 2008: The impact of ownership on media content : An exploratory case study of Nation Media Group and Standard Newspaper Group; Kenya. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Media policy and government

Kate Skinner, 2006: Contested spaces, an analysis of the ANC government’s approach to the promotion of media development and diversity in South Africa. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Representation in the media

Kate Ferreira, 2016: A discursive analysis of the narratives emerging from coverage of rape in South African newspapers. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Sandisiwe Vilakazi, 2012: The representation of kwaito in the Sunday Times between 1994 and 2001. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Alison Visser, 2012: Nation-building in major sports events: a case of the IPL. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Darryl Rule, 2008: Cultural reporting and the production of cultural reviews in selected South African newspapers: A case study of jazz music and musicians. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).

Mandla Radebe, 2006: The coverage of industrial action by the Mail & Guardian, 1999-2004. (View on Wits Wiredspace here).


Media and identity

Jacqueline Steeneveldt, 2007: Negotiating spaces: The role of media in perceptions of identity among Ethiopian migrants in Johannesburg: a focus on consumption patterns



The following research reports are available in print only in the thesis section of the Cullen Library, Wits University:

Shameela Essack, 2002: Watching Big Brother South Africa: an analysis of its popularity (PN 1992.8.R4 ESS)

Catherine Duncan, 2003: The evolution of the photographic message : The Star 1975-1995 (TR 820 DUN)

Louise Bennetts, 2004: Changes in the ownership structure of the South African print media industry during the period 1990-2003 (PN 5477.O9 BEN)

Peter Mataba, 2004: The coverage of the 2003 Iraq war and the reproduction of anti-American sentiments by South African newspapers : case study : the Sunday Times and Mail & Guardian. (PN 4784.W37 MAT)

Mkululi Sikosana, 2003: The role played by the Zimbabwean press in covering political issues in 2002 : a case study of the reporting of the presidential elections by the leading daily newspapers, The Herald and The Daily News (PN 4748.R4 SIK)

Jacqueline Steeneveldt, 2006: Negotiating spaces: the role of media in perceptions of identity among Ethiopian migrants in Johannesburg: a focus on consumption patterns (HV 4013.S7 STE)

Nina Bhaktawar, 2002: Open democracy in South Africa : an analysis of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (2000) in relation to the media and access to public records. (PN 4748.S7 BHA)

Nicola Furniss, 2003: The editorial genre in South African newspapers: a case study of editorials in The Natal Witness. PN 4784.E28 FUR