A Critical Investigation Of News Consumption And Its Preferences By University Students In Ghana (A Case Study Of University Of Cape Coast)
This study was carried out to examine the news consumption preferences of college students using university of Cape Coast as a case study. The study was specifically set to find out the news consumption preference of students in University of Ghana, find out the pattern of their engagement with news, and find out the gratification derived from preferred news consumption. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of students of university of Cape Coast. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 160 respondents and 141 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables and mean scores. The result of the findings reveals that entertainment news, politics sports and business are the top four types of news preferred by students. Students also have an interest in health and science news which has little content in news. News consumption by university students leans heavily towards online news. Therefore, it is recommended that traditional news outlets should pay more attention to the new media and make it their main focus as the attention of young people is focused there. Students are more interested in entertainment, sports, politics and business according to this study, therefore, news content is most likely to be more interesting to students if more focus is put into these types of news. To mention but few.
Table of Content
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- List of Tables
- 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
Review of Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 2.3 Empirical Review
- 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
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Analysis of Data
- 4.3 Answering Research Questions
- 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
1.1 Background of the Study
The news is the most important source of information about current events and issues. News provides information that shapes people’s perceptions of various events and influences their responses or reactions to issues in their environment. As concerns become more prominent in public discourse, news can have an impact on policy agendas (GMMP, 2010). People would read, watch, or listen to the news not just for knowledge, but also to improve their social functioning, which includes taking part in public discussions, making educated civic judgments, and making informed choices. To influence how people perceive the ever-changing world, gain a better understanding of what has happened in the past, and learn more about how discoveries play a role in people’s news consumption.
News can be disseminated through a variety of channels. People can now get news from a variety of sources around the world, in addition to traditional newspapers, television, and radio, thanks to the advancement of media technology. The newspaper is the oldest form of news, followed by radio and then television. Through platforms such as mobile phone applications, modern news channels such as the internet have brought news closer to the majority of people. Factors such as media liberalizations and deregulations have contributed to the expanded news environment in countries like Ghana, and how news is accessed depends on which channel is available. Interests and opinions formed about the channel, as well as other factors, can influence the decision to choose one channel over another. Various countries have conducted studies to see which channel is preferred over the other. The findings of these fact-finding investigations were mixed, with some indicating that television was the most trusted news source, followed by newspapers and radio (Ibelema and Powell, 2001). As a result, the researcher must consider what the situation is for Ghanaian college students, taking into account their unique nature as digital natives with access to a diverse range of news sources.
There are many different types of news. Business, health, scientific, international, local, sports, and entertainment news are among the many forms of news that have evolved from a focus on politics to cover other topics. Each of these categories can appeal to a wide range of readers or customers. According to Dutta-Bergman (2004), news consumption is influenced by the type of content, audience characteristics, and the format in which the news channel is provided. According to Prior (2005), users’ content tastes were constrained until recently since the sorts of news available to them were limited. The concept of audience control over what news they consume has been presented to news viewers (Lee, 2013). According to Prior (2007), society has evolved to become more high-choice in terms of news as more individuals place a high importance on their own interests and political leanings. Regardless of the diversity of news available, a person is more likely to be committed to a specific sort of content and will only read news that meets their demands (Dutta-Bergman 2004). People may choose their favorite material according on their interests, histories, and proclivities across a number of channels, whether it’s entertainment, movies, comedies, music, lifestyle fashion magazines and blogs, or information about politics and current affairs. Shehata et al., 2016.
Young people who lead double-quick lifestyles, according to Huang (2009), juggle school, work, sports, social networking, leisure, entertainment, news consumption, and so on. Consumption of news may satisfy some of their demands. According to Vincent and Basil (1997), despite the availability of alternatives, some young people read certain forms of news when the themes and substance directly touch them. Nonetheless, the quantity of news outlets accessible to young people might be overwhelming, particularly given their anticipated regular use of social media via mobile phones and other devices. Even if you aren’t looking for news, there’s a chance you’ll come upon it. They are less likely to absorb news that does not immediately touch them if they have control and the choice to select. The age effect on news intake has been proved through research.
The older people become, the more likely they are to exhibit an interest in news, according to Qayyum et al. (2010). Another study found that younger people read newspapers and watch news on television less than older generations (Poulus, 2010). In general, research has shown that how young people absorb news differs from how earlier generations consumed information. The way people consume news varies from generation to generation. In recent years, research in the United States has focused on the younger generation who grew up with the internet. They dubbed those born after 1980 ‘Millennials’ or the ‘Internet generation’ (Poindexter, 2013). (Diddi and LaRose, 2006).
They are often uninterested in waiting for the morning newspaper to get current information. Rather, they want news on demand, which they can get whenever they want. Young people may strive to dominate all parts of the news media more often than not, rather than the other way around. As individuals get older, political and economic news may become more significant. Younger individuals, on the other hand, are more likely to be interested in entertainment, science, and technology news.
Because we live in an era of the internet and mobile phones, young people in Ghana are likely to come across news even if they do not set out to discover it. Students’ access to news is likely to be greater than that of the general public, as institutions frequently make the internet available to students for their use.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
College students are increasingly living on their own and are more likely to make critical decisions based on information obtained from a variety of sources, including the news. Another significant factor to consider is that college students are typically expected to be informed of critical international events as they go on to the next stage of their lives. As a result, college students are likely to regard news as a vital resource that will enable them to contribute to their communities. Consumption of news is one method of acquiring such information. According to research, today’s viewers, especially college students, have more news channels to choose from than ever before (Lee, 2013). This study is essential because of the rapid development and changes in journalistic methods, as well as the rising interests and involvement of young people with news.
In terms of personal news channel preferences, one would examine which station will best meet their needs on a daily basis. The more probable a news channel is to meet the individual’s needs, the more likely that news medium will be chosen. College students are digital natives and pioneers in absorbing technical advancements connected to digitization since they are a young population. Huang (2009). Younger people have realized that online news is one of their favourite news sources.
The intake of news by young people from all around the world has flooded literature. Similar efforts have been made in Ghana to bridge the difference in news consumption habits. This, however, did not address the difference in the kind of news that university students like. By concentrating on the news consumption preferences of college students, this study aims to define the sort of news that they like using empirical data in the context of Ghana.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The primary aim of this study is to investigate the news consumption preferences of college students. Specifically, the study will;
- Find out the news consumption preference of students in University of Ghana
- Find out the pattern of their engagement with news.
- Find out the gratification derived from preferred news consumption.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions guide this study;
- What is the dominant type of news students consume?
- What is the pattern of their news engagement?
- What do they use the preferred news type for?
- Educational purpose,
- Personal relationship,
- Personal Identity,
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research is crucial because it will add to our understanding of university students’ news consuming patterns, particularly in Ghana. It aims to get a better knowledge of how University of Ghana undergraduate students consume news by experimentally determining the news type(s) and consumption preferences of University of Ghana undergraduate students; as a result, comprehending the news consumption preferences of college students in Ghana. Students’ media preferences, according to previous study by Avor (2015) on their news consumption patterns, are internet, television, and radio, in that order. The survey, however, did not look into the sort of news that students favored or the time of day that they watched news. When a result, as students establish their news consumption habits as young people, this study will reduce the gap in their news consumption preferences on the sort of news they like.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study covers the news consumption preference of students in University of Ghana, the pattern of their engagement with news, and the gratification derived from preferred news consumption. Hence, the respondents for this study will be obtained from students of Ghana University.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
During the course of this study, the researcher was limited by insufficient time to extend the research and increase the sample size to make for better findings.
1.8 Definition of Terms
1. News Preference:
Based on this study, news preference refers to what students are inclined to read, watch or listen to.
2. News Consumption:
Listening, reading or watching news or attending to news media. How often respondents consumed news per day and weekly as well as the times of day news is consumed.
1.9 Organizations 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, 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.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:
This chapter summarizes the findings on the news consumption preferences of college students using university of Cape Coast 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 news consumption preferences of college students using university of Cape Coast as a case study. Specifically the study was set to find out the news consumption preference of students in University of Ghana, find out the pattern of their engagement with news, and find out the gratification derived from preferred news consumption.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 141 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents are students of university of Cape Coast.
News consumption before internet news was known to be consumed through reading newspapers, listening to the news on radio and or watching news television. With the advent of the internet, news can be watched, read and listened to online on various devices. Even though research has proven that as people get older their interest in news increases, it has also been found that college students have the type of news that holds their interest.
According to this research entertainment news, politics sports and business are the top four types of news preferred by students. Students also have an interest in health and science news which has little content in news. News consumption by university students leans heavily towards online news. Some students still read the newspaper, listen to the news on radio and others also watch television for news. They are not exclusive from each other. Some students consume news through all the channels while other students will pick their preferred channel(s) to consume news. There is a vast array of news sources out there which allows students to have many options to choose from. Newspapers are the least attended to channel mainly due to the possibility that the content of a majority of newspapers can be found online, making online news the most consumed.
The dominant type of news students consume comprises of political, business, health, sports, and entertainment.
Traditional news outlets should pay more attention to the new media and make it their main focus as the attention of young people is focused there. Students are more interested in entertainment, sports, politics and business according to this study, therefore, news content is most likely to be more interesting to students if more focus is put into these types of news.
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