1.1 Background to the Study
Experts in the nation‘s media and marketing communication industries at a
forum organized by the Advertising Agencies‘ Association of Nigeria, (AAAN), in 2010 in Lagos, raised alarm on the future of newspaper in Nigeria. Majority of the participants concluded that unless the print media braced up to the challenges posed by the new media, it might go extinct in the nearest future.
This apprehension was no doubt a fall-out of the report which portrayed an
alarming slide in the patronage of newspaper. According to the 2010 study carried out by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) across the country, the daily sales figure of all the newspapers was less that 300,000, meaning that only one in every 470 Nigerians buy newspapers daily (Ekeng, 2010). Putting this reality in proper perspective, Popoola (2010) said that all the newspapers in Nigeria today have combined circulation figure that is far less than 500,000 copies per day when compared to 1980 when the population of Nigeria was about half of what it is
today. Presently the stockpile of unsold copies of newspapers and magazines in the circulation departments of most print media organizations is a vivid sign of this challenge. Ekeng (2010), disclosed that The Punch as the number one selling national daily only circulates 34, 264 copies, The Sun was ranked third with 25, 632 unit sales. Vanguard got 25, 241, while Guardian and Thisday came 5th and 6th respectively, with 25, 222 and 21, 703 daily sales. Daily Trust, the most popular newspaper up North has 11, 672 daily unit sales. Tribune, the oldest surviving newspaper in Nigeria, was another surprise, managing only 8, 314 daily sales. The
above mentioned dailies constitute what is known as the top 8 in the standing. The others combined, including Compass, Daily Independent, Leadership, National Life, New Nigerian, Mirror and Westerner, could barely rake up 1,600 daily sales.
The question then should be, why the alarming slide in the patronage of
newspaper? This is very important as a wrong diagnosis will invariably lead to an inappropriate treatment. Ekeng (2010) noted that circulation decline is a global phenomenon as the newspaper industry in America, Europe and even Asia are also affected. This, he said, is primarily due to the impact of the Internet, which guarantees quick news for free. Topping the list of all the causes is the crashing local economy, which has greatly reduced the purchasing power of most Nigerians.
Most editors do not connect to the reading public through their publications
which in most cases lacks depth and quality content that serves the majority. In the last two decades, the world has witnessed increase in the population of active middle age people. This increase has brought about new social life which is global in scope. The Internet brought this social state. Most of the newly empowered middle class have access to the Internet and seriously have developed a mind set.
Why should I buy a newspaper for information when the same is available on my blackberry free of charge? Moreover, the Internet gives me access to different sources for the same information—all for free.
The role of the Internet and Information Technology in online journalism
cannot be over-emphasized. Information technology has and is playing a veritable role in changing the face of journalism practice in the world and Nigeria is not left out. The increasing impact of technology through the new media in publishing and dissemination of information has given room for an increase in both professional and amateur journalism in Nigeria media organizations.
Today, the Nigeria media is not limited to the radio, television and the print alone, the upsurge in technology via the internet has created new platforms for the dissemination of news and information within minutes. With the click of a button, news and information can be posted on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blog and websites, intimating the world of any development instantly. These new technologies makes use of video, audio and picture. They have transformed the shape and face of media organizations in the country.
Journalism has been undergoing dramatic changes as it adapts to and takes advantage of digital technologies and the new media, and they are having profound effect on all levels of the journalistic enterprise. The pace of these changes is quickening now, altering the practice of the journalism profession as never before.
These changes encompass a wide range of activities from news gathering to dissemination and are bringing many benefits, but with attendant challenges. At a Journalism Conference in Dublin Trench (1996:2) identified “several ways in which information technology touches on the practice of journalism, all of which have affected how journalists do their job”. He posited that technology has led to
the following direct input by reporters and from external agencies into the editorial system. The way reporters gather and disseminate news is changing. Internet is emerging as a medium of mass communication. That brings in fresh competition to other media, even forcing changes in content. The emergence of communication technology has made it necessary for media establishments to make their presence
felt on the net and technology has facilitated the creation of websites with social networking sites to complement them, while some smarter media organizations are also making use of blogs, to make their presence more pronounced.
Technology has made it possible for people to read an entire newspaper
online. It has given way to a new form of freedom to information dissemination.
For example , the ‘Good Governance Tour’ in the South East by the former Information Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku and the National Conference were highly commended by Nigerians and these commendations were made possible through the social media networks. Globally, the rise of digital media platforms presents enormous opportunities to better inform citizens world over and it has also given
everyone a fair chance of becoming a writer and a commentator.
Nonetheless, these opportunities have brought in new barriers to the free flow of information, such as filtering, blocking of contents, digital surveillance and restrictive digital media laws.
Similarly, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), which is a wire service
media organization, is also facing its challenges with the emergence of the new media.
Media organizations which are supposed to subscribe to NAN now have
other means of getting news, information. This development is consequently affecting the existence as well as the resources of the agency.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is difficult to think of a more important institution in our democratic
society than the news media. This research has been instituted to determine the influence of online journalism in Nigeria media with specific emphasis on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). NAN is a wire service which in no small measure has helped in equipping media outfits to judiciously accomplish their primary objective which is to inform, educate and entertain the teeming audience through the comprehensive reports disseminated within and beyond the confines of media outfits existing in its geographical boundary. Its mandate to deliver and disseminate information and news to subscribers first before any other medium is gradually being eroded by the emergence of the new media. Similarly, the agency’s resource base is gradually going down because most of its `would- be’ subscribers are now addicted to the internet for their news. As a result of the prohibitive expenses in
stationing journalists around the world to source for news, local news media rely on NAN for such news. The emergence of online journalism has also encouraged amateur reporting. Many media organizations, blogs, websites in a quest to be the first to broadcast news, give some information without confirmation. However, this research will examine the extent to which online journalism has impeded the `talk
to NAN, talk to all’ slogan of the agency in terms of immediacy and timeliness. Many times, online newspapers, blogs, websites beat NAN to stories which it is supposed to wire first to its subscribers. This study will examine the extent to which online journalism has affected the operations and revenue generation of many news organizations including NAN which is to be a wire service.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The emergence of new technologies like the internet and websites like face book, twitter, badoo, interpretive multimedia systems and digital
telecommunication has dramatically altered traditional news gathering processes and production formats.
The purpose of this study is to determine
· The extent, online journalism has influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria media organizations.
· The study will also analyze investigate the negative and positive influence of online journalism on media organization.
· It will also find out the influence of ICT adoption in operating cost and
revenue and explore ways of handling ICTs challenges.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
1. How has online journalism affected news gathering, collation and
dissemination in Nigeria news organizations?
2. How has the emergence of online journalism affected news content in Nigeria media organizations?
3. How has the introduction of online journalism affected the revenue generation of the News Agency of Nigeria?
4. What effect(s) does the new media have on news gathering and
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study covers the impact of online journalism on Nigeria media
organizations using the online journalism situation in News Agency of Nigeria. It is important to note that only editorial staff of the agency were utilized in generating data for the study.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Taking cognizance of the enviable and crucial role of the media in the
society in its watch dog role of information dissemination, it is imperative to constantly ascertain how media organizations are faring in the performance of their duties with the advent of the new media.
The research work will provide a broad understanding to media practitioners on the general operations of NAN which is the only news agency in the country.
It will also serve as a guide to future researchers who will want to delve into related topics.
The research work will also support governments’ efforts in trying to remodel the agency for a more relevant and accomplished purpose.
1.7 Definitions of Terms
In order to clarify the meaning of some operational key concepts used in this study, the researcher define the following concepts are defined to facilitate the understanding of readers:
Online, according to Ward (2003) is the “generic term often used loosely to describe digital information access, retrieval or dissemination”.
Ganiyan (2004) defines journalism as “the job of gathering, writing and
dissemination of news and views about the society through the means of the mas media. It is a profession that involves gathering, processing and reporting of news to the general public.
Qasim Akinreti (2003) describes online journalism as the media share of digital revolution. It combines this with the core journalism skills of reporting, editing and news production, features and programmes.
Online-Journalism can be defined simply as “a journalism in online”, more specifically, it is “a new form of journalism which is used for conveying public opinion and published by the primary news provider with various text, video, and link.”
THE MASS MEDIA
It refers to the medium through which information is communicated to the general public like news papers, magazines, radio, television, film books and the new media i.e. the internet Qasim Akinreti (2007)