Reading tabloids in Zulu: a case study of Isolezwe

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Wasserman, Herman
Ndlovu, Musawenkosi
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Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State
This article revolves around an analysis of the relationship between Isolezwe newspaper, a South African mass-market tabloid, and its consumers who are mainly Zulu-speaking black readers. In view of the decline in newspaper readership in general, the phenomenal growth of Isolezwe in particular and the absence of scholarship that examines the relationship between Isolezwe and its consumers, the authors set out to explore why the newspaper has become and continues to be highly popular. To answer the question about the reason for its popularity, focus group interviews with readers were conducted to identify why readers chose to read the newspaper. The authors conclude that the comparative preference of Isolezwe over other newspapers in the market is influenced, in part, by mutually reinforcing factors such as social/cultural identity and cultural capital, semantic noise avoidance, language use, gratification of cognitive needs and the audiencecentred definition of news.
Gratification of cognitive needs, Semantic noise avoidance, Cultural capital, Newspapers, News, Zulu, Tabloids, Isolezwe, Social/cultural identity
Wasserman, H., & Ndlovu, M. (2015). Reading tabloids in Zulu: a case study of Isolezwe. Communitas, 20, 140-158.