The journalist, author and lecturer is currently undertaking a PhD research project at the University of Salford entitled: ‘Black Bloggers in the UK and Alternative Voices on the Web’, which examines how African Caribbean people in the UK are using new information technologies like blogs to voice themselves at a time when the journalistic landscape is rapidly evolving.
She said: "People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds only make up 4 per cent of journalists working in the UK, but the expansion of the internet and introduction of communication technologies has created new spaces on the web that potentially allow anyone to publish news and information."
Ms Gabriel says that she was motivated to study bloggers from African Caribbean communities due to the lack of existing research on how ethnic minorities are utilising new media and helping to shape the future of journalism.
"In the 21st century, journalism is not just a profession restricted to those who work in the news industry, but it has become an activity that anyone can engage in, on their own terms, in their own time, and increasingly in new forms that are very different to traditional journalism." She continued:
"I have so far discovered an exciting, thriving and extremely diverse community of African Caribbean bloggers, yet was surprised that there is no network to promote interaction, mutual support, commercial collaboration or public visibility. Black Bloggers UK Network will redress that gap."
Ms Gabriel, who is an avid blogger herself says that development of the new network will be shaped by the black blogging community and will involve a great deal of consultation to ensure that the end result is a collaboratively developed project created by and for African Caribbean Bloggers in the UK.
Anyone wishing to join the network and be involved in its development should sign up to the newsletter and follow updates on Twitter by visiting the website.