African media academics and publishers are invited to submit research papers on the current status and future potential of the continent's indigenous-language press.
The University of Lagos project is designed to highlight the history of indigenous-language newspapers and journals in Africa, beginning with the earliest known indigenous-language newspaper in Nigeria, Iwe Irohin Fun Awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba, first published in 1859.
The initiative will also chart possible growth strategies for the indigenous-language press. They plan to explore the reasons behind the phenomenal boom in isiZulu newspapers in South Africa over the past two years.
Abiodun Salawu, a lecturer at the University of Lagos and the project's coordinator, says scholars have neglected the study of Africa's indigenous language press despite the fact that language is one of the most characteristic elements of any culture.
Organizers are looking for papers on the following topics: the history of specific indigenous language publications in Africa; editorial content policies and strategies; advertisements, graphics and design; language styles; use for development communication; readership; and management. Interested researchers should send abstracts outlining their proposed papers before submitting any finished work.
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