Citizen Journalism, News Credibility And Fate Of Journalism In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Citizen Journalism, News Credibility And Fate Of Journalism In Nigeria


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the citizen journalism, news credibility and fate of journalism in Nigeria with special reference to Abeokuta local government. Specifically, the study aims toexamine whether citizens journalists are objective in the dissemination of news, find out the relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria, ascertain the social media used by Citizen Journalist in the dissemination of news and Find out the challenges of citizen journalism in Nigeria. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 141 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that there is a relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity and news credibility in Nigeria. The study thereby recommends that news objectivity should be intensified and consolidated. Fact-checking should be encouraged and facilitated particularly on the social media. In some countries like China, access to the social media is restricted in order to check access of users.


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
  • 4.5 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

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

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The mass media are seen as advances in science and technology in a culture, as well as catalysts for social and economic transformation in that society (Melkote, 1991). The mass media’s actions are assumed to mobilize human and material resources toward a certain social and cultural life in this setting. Furthermore, according to UNESCO (1980), the mass media has the ability to transmit ideas and values that may be viewed as the major drivers of social change in society.

As a result, the underlying changes disseminated by media forms and technologies have the potential to alter people’s experiences and relationships. This is due to the mass media’s capacity to produce compelling impressions, words, or symbols that allow viewers and listeners to see and hear events as they happen, and hence alter popular conceptions of reality, especially those of faraway nations (Mckee, 2004).

Masterman (1985) said in support of UNESCO’s(1980) definition, “The mass media are the methods for disseminating messages and symbols to the broad people.” It is their job to amuse, educate, teach, and instill in individuals values, ideas, and behavioral rules that will allow them to fit into the wider society’s institutional frameworks. As a result of the above, the mass media plainly have the ability to enlighten and educate the public. They can, at the absolute least, provide the groundwork for people’s behavior modification and society acceptance. They may influence people’s perceptions of social norms via mass media reporting and contacts with other society institutions, which in turn supports people’s efforts to modify behavior. Furthermore, the media may play a significant advocacy role for policies that encourage population-level sustainable behavior (Fatusi and Jimoh, 2006).
Objectivity has always been a contentious topic in journalism, and as a result, there are many diverse perspectives on it. Objectivity, according to media experts like Gauntlet (2001), is defined as an analysis of the substance of gathered news items. Objectivity, according to Glasser (1992), is a balancing of views reconstructed by a journalist and presented against autonomous thought. It’s tough to judge a journalist’s objectivity since the trustworthiness of data obtained by the journalist is at the core of objectivity. The “notion” of impartiality, in Glasser’s perspective, is defective in comparison to the newsman’s mission of reporting responsibly. As a result, objectivity is a professional concept by which journalists properly produce news and deliver it to their audience as a finished product.

In as much as the mass media encourages societal behavior change, the nature and interaction of the mass media with the society, as well as how they relate to individual and collective growth or change, are determined by the society’s communication policy and system. The contents, ownership, and organizational structures of the mass media are reflections of the society’s socio-economic, political, cultural, and technical systems, since they do not exist in a vacuum. The mass media has traditionally functioned as a watchdog on government transparency and various operations in every democratic society. It has aided in the assessment of any arbitrary measures taken by government officials and parastatals by educating the general public about them and holding them responsible.
The journalistic task of gathering and disseminating news has not been an easy one largely due to limited freedom occasioned largely by government firm grip and control of the mass media. Thus, Bowman,(2016) notes that “relationship between the mass media and the government in Nigeria has been a cat and mouse affair”. This implies that, the free flow of information has been trampled upon. Journalists have had no access to vital information let alone the masses. In struggling to get detailed, factual and balanced reportage, journalists have had to continue to nose around for information, exposing themselves to high levels of risk that got them victimized, jailed, tortured and sometimes killed (Caroll, 2017)

Citizen journalism is simply the process by which the public takes the responsibility of collecting, disseminating and analysing information or news especially via the internet. Citizen journalism has been on a rise. ‘Everyone and anyone can be or better still, is a journalist’. Nevertheless, Citizen Journalism has definitely also helped in putting our leaders on their toes and enabling us to have ‘eyes everywhere’. Citizen journalism is the reverse of the straight-jacket, near unilateral top-down communication system of the mainstream media. Bowman and Willis (2016) state that, “Participatory journalism is a bottom-up, emergent phenomenon in which there is little or no editorial oversight or formal journalistic workflow dictating the decisions of a staff. Instead, it is the result of many simultaneous, distributed conversations that either blossom or quickly atrophy in the Web’s social network.” They observe that “the fluidity of this approach puts more emphasis on the publishing of information rather than the filtering. Conversations happen in the community for all to see. In contrast, traditional news organizations are set up to filter information before they publish it.” In its true nature, citizen journalism allows no room for gate keeping. In this brand of journalism, information gets to the members of public, who are directly involved in content creation, raw, ‘naked’ and undiluted.

Citizen journalism is fast becoming a potent force to be reckoned with in relations to building open and democratic societies. The emergence of new media technology and their integration in the field of politics is yielding some benefits in contemporary times. According to Educause Learning Initiative (2017) the term citizen journalism is a broad term and still shifting in meaning. Banda (2020) notes that citizen journalism is a rapidly evolving form of journalism where common citizens take the initiative to report news or express views about happenings within their community. He further observes that it is news of the people, by the people and for the people. Citizen journalism is therefore a people centered type of journalism where the interests of the ordinary people are taken into consideration. Citizen journalism is also known as “public”, “participatory”, “democratic”, “guerilla “or “street journalism” is the concept of members of the public playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. Quoting Darnton(2017) they further opined that citizen journalism emerged as a result of democratization of the multi-media technologies by the people and for the people.


1.2 Statement of Problem

Objectivity and credibility is undeniably one of journalism’s most important characteristics. Individual journalists, however, find it difficult to accept journalism’s values owing to the many issues they experience in their career due to the nature of the business ( Goldie,2003).

As a result, the issue of objectivity emerges. As previously mentioned, objectivity can often interpreted differently by various individuals. When reporting on particular events, a reporter may be prejudiced in one of two ways. (a) When the reporter’s beat knowledge is unbalanced, and when the account of facts is corrupted through transmission from one person to another. (b) When the facts gathered lack clarity due to misinformation from the source of information, the reporter and editor in this case are always at risk of getting the entire thing incorrect (Hadden, 1997). Furthermore, ambiguous facts might affect a journalist’s neutrality if he is unable to locate a source to assist him in verifying them.

Due to lack of professionalism which most citizens journalist, do not attain, has led to bias in disseminating information through social media platforms, as they fail to consider the ethics of the profession in journalism the sense of social responsibility and there strait that trained journalists normally exhibit. Therefore, citizen journalists are not trained to subscribe to the traditional journalistic standards of objectivity, fairness, and accuracy found in disseminating news this has led to the high rate of fake news in citizen journalism. Most importantly, due to the widespread of internet globally and the rate of unemployment in Nigeria, most individuals who are citizens journalists, at comfort of their home, disseminate news and information, which could be true/false, but are mostly “fake news” without undergoing any training in the professionalism of journalism. Therefore, this research work seeks to effect of citizen journalism on news objectivity in Nigeria


1.3 Objective of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the citizen journalism, news credibility and fate of journalism in Nigeria. The specific objectives is as follows:

  1. To examine whether citizens journalists are objective and credible in the dissemination of news .
  2. To find out the relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria.
  3. To ascertain the social media used by Citizen Journalist in the dissemination of news.
  4. Find out the challenges of citizen journalism in Nigeria

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared for this study

  1. Are citizens journalists objective in the dissemination of news?
  2. Is there a relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria?
  3. What are the social media used by Citizen Journalist in the dissemination of news?
  4. What are the challenges of citizen journalism in Nigeria

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The following hypothesis have been formulated for the study:

  • H0: There is no relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria.
  • HA: There is a relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of benefits and interest not only to journalist in Nigeria, but it will be valuable to other service sectors in Nigeria as a whole. The study will be of great benefit to the researchers, journalists and the entire Nigeria to embrace the law in order to encourage professionalism and the ethnics of journalism. The outcome of this study will alert government, civil society organisations (CSOs) and all other pro-democratic groups on the need to enact strategies and mechanism for combating fake news in order to ensure quality journalism and a responsible expression by all.

Academically, this research work will therefore advance knowledge. The academic community will use this work as a reference point and in the execution of similar studies. Again, journalists, editors, specialized groups, society, government etc. stand to gain immensely from the study. For the journalists, it provides them an ample opportunity to press for national development and enthronement of transparency in government. The government, through this study could harness the latent potency of the law as educated in it towards providing quality service to its citizens. In the same vein, the study is significant as it provide a platform for government press collaboration which if harnessed, can facilitate national development.

The result of the study will also provide a framework for media practitioners that will enable them exercise a good information sharing behaviour basically for the fact that the success of every democracy rest on the media. It will also provide an insight for them to understand the effect of fake news on the democracy of the country.

Furthermore, the outcome of the study will make available ready materials for policymakers towards censoring falsehood in both new and conventional media industry so that citizens can express their opinions responsibly for the greater good of democracy.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The study examine the citizen journalism, news credibility and fate of journalism in Nigeria. The study also find out the relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria. The study further ascertain the social media used by Citizen Journalist in the dissemination of news. Lastly, the study will Find out the challenges of citizen journalism in Nigeria. Hence, the study will be delimited to Ogun State.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

Financial Constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time Constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work


1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Citizen journalism: is simply the process by which the public takes the responsibility of collecting, disseminating and analysing information or news especially via the internet.

Journalism: this study sees journalism as the work of collecting and writing news stories for newspapers, magazine, radio, television and the internet.


1.10 Organization of the Study

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, abnd 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, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

In this study, our focus was on the citizen journalism, news credibility and fate of journalism in Nigeria using Abeokuta local government as a case study.The study specifically was aimed at highlighting whether citizens journalists are objective in the dissemination of news, find out the relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria, ascertain the social media used by Citizen Journalist in the dissemination of news and find out the challenges of citizen journalism in Nigeria. A total of 141 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are drawn from journalist.


5.2 Conclusion

Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:

  1. Citizens journalists are objective in the dissemination of news
  2. There is a relationship between Citizens Journalism and news objectivity in Nigeria?
  3. The social media networks mostly used by citizen for the purpose pf journalism in Nigeria is Twitter ,Facebook and Whatsapp
  4. The challenges of citizen journalism in Nigeria computer illiteracy, difficulty in accessing the internet and high cost of ‘surfing’ the net.

5.3 Recommendation

Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:

It is very timely that objectivity on news be intensified and consolidated. Fact-checking should be encouraged and facilitated particularly on the social media. In some countries like China, access to the social media is restricted in order to check access of users.


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