Appraising The Impact Of Gatekeepers In News Credibility Of A Broadcast Media

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Appraising The Impact Of Gatekeepers In News Credibility Of A Broadcast Media


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media using Hot Fm, Owerri as a case study. The study was carried out to find the factors affecting news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri, determine whether there is a significant relationship between news gatekeeping and news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri, identify the factors influencing news gatekeepers in broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri, and determine the effectiveness of gatekeepers in censoring news credibility in Hot Fm, Owerri. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of staff of Hot Fm, Owerri. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 41 respondents and 35 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables. While the hypotheses were tested using Pearson correlation statistical tool, SPSS v23. The result of the findings reveals that the factors affecting news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri includes: relative expertise, accessibility, objectivity, report currency, and freedom to report. The study also revealed that the factors influencing news gatekeepers in broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri includes: organization policy, the ethical principles of truth, objectivity, accuracy, personal disposition of the communication professional, professional ethics and nature of the media. Therefore, it is recommended that the media must recognize their limitations on account of the realities and constraints they have to grapple with and keep striving towards objectivity because it is attainable. In doing so, they must ensure that only experienced and highly competent media professionals are employed and assigned sensitive media responsibilities, especially those that which have to do with the gatekeeping functions. To mention but a few.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Broadcast media plays a pivotal role in shaping public opinion, disseminating information, and providing a window to the world’s events Online Editor, 2018). In this digital age, where information flows rapidly and abundantly, the credibility of news sources has become increasingly important. Gatekeepers, the individuals and organizations responsible for selecting, curating, and presenting news to the public, have a profound influence on the credibility of news in broadcast media (Nielsen, Corniaand Kalogeropoulos, 2016).

However, gatekeepers in broadcast media are responsible for deciding which news stories make it to the airwaves and how they are presented to the audience. These gatekeepers include editors, producers, news directors, and media owners, among others. Their role is to filter through the vast amount of information available and make decisions that reflect the interests of their audience, their organization’s values, and often, their own biases (Nielsen, Corniaand Kalogeropoulos, 2016).

Hence, gatekeepers determine which stories are newsworthy and deserving of airtime. This decision-making process can influence the public’s perception of what is important and relevant. The choices made by gatekeepers can result in the omission of important stories or the overemphasis of certain issues. For instance, a study by Wahl-Jorgensen (2007) found that gatekeepers in the U.S. media often prioritize sensational or celebrity-driven stories over more substantive news, impacting the overall credibility of news sources.

Gatekeepers also influence news credibility through framing, the way a story is presented and the context provided. The framing of a news story can shape how audiences interpret the information. For example, the framing of a political event as a “debate” versus a “confrontation” can influence public perceptions (Ullah and Jan, 2021).

Gatekeepers’ personal biases and the editorial stance of their organizations can impact news credibility. While objectivity is a fundamental journalistic principle, it is challenging to achieve in practice due to inherent biases. Gatekeepers must strive to balance their own perspectives with the need for impartial reporting. The news bias can erode the credibility of a news outlet if it is perceived as favoring one political ideology over another (Ullah and Jan, 2021).

Media ownership also plays a significant role in determining news credibility. When media outlets are owned by a small number of conglomerates or individuals, the potential for a concentration of power and influence becomes evident. Gatekeepers working under such ownership may face pressures to align their news content with the owner’s interests. In today’s digital landscape, gatekeepers face new challenges as social media platforms allow for the rapid dissemination of news and information. The speed of information sharing and the prevalence of user-generated content challenge the traditional gatekeeping role (Ashley, Poepsel and Willis, 2010).

Gatekeepers in broadcast media wield significant influence over news credibility by making critical decisions about story selection, framing, bias, and ownership. These gatekeepers have the power to shape public perceptions, impact social discourse, and influence political agendas. In an era of increasing concern about fake news and information manipulation, it is crucial for gatekeepers to uphold the principles of journalistic integrity and objectivity to maintain the credibility of broadcast media (Ashley, Poepsel and Willis, 2010).

It should be noted that news credibility is often determine by how well is gatekept, that is why, till date people still believe in the traditional mass media like TVC, Channels, and AriseTV etc because they command many array of gatekeepers who expands, limit and further explain their news programmes when the need arises. It is against this background that this study tends to examine the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The major problems facing the Nigerian press arise from ignorance and negligence on the part of the gatekeepers. It is even universally believed that anybody who possesses the talent irrespective of his education can practice journalism, we can see people from different fields such as English Language, History, Economic, Accountancy e.t.c. to name just a few.

Although, eloquent at speech and skillful at grammar without journalism, he or she may not practice according to the ethics of the profession. Many Nigerian press especially citizen journalists are half baked because they undergo meager education.

Another worthy problem facing the Nigerian press men is their negligence to their duties. Most of the news aired or published nowadays is not well edited, some news which can bring hatred and tribal crisis in the country are still being published.


1.3 Objective of the Study

This study is set to examine the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media using Hot Fm, Owerri as a case study. Specifically it is geared:

  1. Identify the factors affecting news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri.
  2. Determine whether there is a significant relationship between news gatekeeping and news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri.
  3. Identify the factors influencing news gatekeepers in broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri.
  4. Determine the effectiveness of gatekeepers in censoring news credibility in Hot Fm, Owerri.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following methods;

  1. What are the factors affecting news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri?
  2. Is there a significant relationship between news gatekeeping and news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri?
  3. What are the factors influencing news gatekeepers in broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri?
  4. What is the effectiveness of gatekeepers in censoring news credibility in Hot Fm, Owerri?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  • Ho: There is no significant relationship between news gatekeeping and news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri.
  • Ha: There is a significant relationship between news gatekeeping and news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will go a long way in helping researcher, student of journalism, students, lecturers and people studying mass communication and the large public to follow the way or make use of this research topic to know the way they will follow to their respective research.

This study has shown what it takes to become a gate keeper, informing the public and editors that the gate keepers are the fourth estate of the realm if they perform their duties, roles and right from coping, to the dissemination of the information to the public and editors.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study boarders on the the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media. Hence this study will be delimited to Hot Fm, Owerri, Imo State.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.


1.9 Definition of the Terms

Appraisal:

This means to evaluate the impact of gatekeepers in ensuring in news credibility.

Gatekeepers:

These are people that protect wrong information from getting to the public.

News Credibility:

In this study, it means audience’s confidence in news messages.

Broadcast Media:

This refers electronic transmission of programmes such news. Radio and television fall in to this category.


1.10 Organization of the Studies

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media using Hot Fm, Owerri as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to examine the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media using Hot Fm, Owerri as a case study. The study was specifically carried out to find the factors affecting news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri, determine whether there is a significant relationship between news gatekeeping and news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri, identify the factors influencing news gatekeepers in broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri, and determine the effectiveness of gatekeepers in censoring news credibility in Hot Fm, Owerri.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 35 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent were staff of Hot Fm, Owerri.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. The factors affecting news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri includes: relative expertise, accessibility, objectivity, report currency, and freedom to report
  2. There is a significant relationship between news gatekeeping and news credibility of broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri.
  3. The factors influencing news gatekeepers in broadcast media in Hot Fm, Owerri includes: organization policy, the ethical principles of truth, objectivity, accuracy, personal disposition of the communication professional, professional ethics and nature of the media.
  4. Gatekeepers are very effective in censoring news credibility in Hot Fm, Owerri.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.

  1. It is recommended that the media must recognize their limitations on account of the realities and constraints they have to grapple with and keep striving towards objectivity because it is attainable. In doing so, they must ensure that only experienced and highly competent media professionals are employed and assigned sensitive media responsibilities, especially those that which have to do with the gatekeeping functions.
  2. Training and retraining must be treated with utmost importance to bring reporters up to date with modern trends in reporting. This will ensure that news content and reporting style is refined and emphasis placed on thorough investigation by journalist when gathering news because it is by so doing that news sources can be verified before it is disseminated to the public. This will enhance objective reporting and make gatekeeping less problematic as sources of news and the quality of such news can easily be verified and authenticated.
  3. To enable the media play their roles more adequately therefore, it is suggested that the National Broadcasting Commission and other moderating bodies review the nation’s communication policy to reflect current realities and global expectations. A national communication policy is not just an instrument for ensuring free press, flow of information and media ownership; it should also be an essential tool for social mobilization, public persuasion and socio-political development.
  4. It is the researcher’s opinion that the independence of the media can go a long way to make things right and purposeful in gatekeeping by the media to the general public benefit.
  5. Media workers and journalist should be encouraged or motivated through giving adequate remuneration to boost their morals put in their best in their undertaking.
  6. Journalist should be allowed to go for training to develop their skills and potentials, and sometimes send abroad to gain exposure.

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