Effects Of Graphics On Audience Patronage Of Punch Newspaper Among Residents Of Port Harcourt Metropolis

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Effects Of Graphics On Audience Patronage Of Punch Newspaper Among Residents Of Port Harcourt Metropolis


The study examines the influence of graphics in the newspaper publication with focus on the Punch newspaper. Graphics, be it headline, chart, callouts, shapes, graphs, photograph, images, color, cut-lines, line, text, plays prominent roles in newspaper and print media generally, such that it influence readers to purchase a particular newspaper. Graphics communicates messages even to the illiterates; it also draws the attention of readers to the most prominent news and issues, especially when placed on the front page of a newspaper, while it’s also used to set agenda on what public will debate upon. In fact, the headline scanners and graphics scanner always find it easy to know the most important news of the day. Without much emphasis, graphic communicate message than what a thousand words could tell. For the purpose of this paper, the researcher employed the use of survey method. The data collection instrument used is questionnaire in eliciting data from the respondents. Findings show that respondents easily remember news that is accompanied with graphics and graphics enticed and persuaded readers to read or buy newspapers because it beautify and add aesthetic values to the newspaper pages. It is also recommended that print media should always use only important graphics that can tell their stories with ambiguity.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The print media industry is a very competitive market where there are varieties of print materials (Newspapers, Tabloids, Bulletins, Magazine, Handbills, Tracts etc.). Therefore, the print industry, especially the newspaper industry, uses graphics as a prominent instrument to draw the attention of readers to their paper, especially when placed on the front page. This however leads the customers to the purchase of that paper. This mean that graphic communicate message than a thousand words.

More so, in this present dispensation, the role graphics is playing in the overall appearance of a newspaper cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that newspapers deploy graphics as a tool to lure readers into purchasing their various newspapers, which has drawn emphasis to newspaper design and front page make-up. With reference to Oluwatobi (2012), graphics is a visual element on surfaces such as wall, canvas, computer screen, paper, stone etc. to brand, inform, illustrate and entertain. He however posited further to give examples, such as graphics, line, color, diagram, graphs, symbols, maps, drawings, callout and flowcharts.

Graphics, as parts of graphic aids, help at a glance to trap the attention of readers. If a photo is interesting enough, the reader will stop to look at it and read the caption and if it is interesting enough, they will move a little bit to read the headlines of the article. Also, if the beginning of the article is catching enough the reader will read all of it. (Febisola, 2010, p.49) More emphasis is being placed on newspaper design and graphics than ever before. Most Nigerian newspapers have made changes in the appearance of their paper in the hopes of attracting more readers and holding on to the ones they already have. While research on publication design has been conducted for quite some time, more research is being done on the importance of graphics to the survival of newspapers’ growth. Before now, emphasis was placed on reporting major stories of the day and getting them first and right. This first hand reportage has been what newspaper publishers use to attract the readers to the paper as a means to increase declining readership and circulation Hartley (1990).

With emphasis on graphics, Hartley, (1990) argued that more emphasis is being paid to newspaper design more specifically, making the front page look good, to increase reader satisfaction and circulation. More so that the newspaper industry is a very competitive sector. Graphic design is the art or profession of combining text, pictures, and ideas in advertisements, publication, or website. Wikipedia (2015) defined graphic design as a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas. However, designers work with a variety of graphic tools in order to convey a message. The main tools are image and typography while others are shapes, colors, lines, symbols, logo, cartoons and images.With emphasis on graphics, Hartley, (1990) argued that more emphasis is being paid to newspaper design more specifically, making the front page look good, to increase reader satisfaction and circulation. More so that the newspaper industry is a very competitive sector. Graphic design is the art or profession of combining text, pictures, and ideas in advertisements, publication, or website. Wikipedia (2015) defined graphic design as a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas. However, designers work with a variety of graphic tools in order to convey a message. The main tools are image and typography while others are shapes, colors, lines, symbols, logo, cartoons and images.

For the purpose of this study, the researcher will dwell more on front page graphics aids such as; masthead, fonts, typography, color, headlines and photography, which are the common graphical tools available on newspaper front page.

In a critical economic situation, where emphasis is on online instantaneous news consumption, the print media has been seriously competing with the online news medium to be able to survive. One basic tactic newspapers have often used to propel their respective medium is the aesthetic appeal of front page product, and that is often driven by photographic visuals and design says Akinrosoye (2011).

Akinrosoye (2011) observes that visual communication is one of the oldest and most effective means of transmitting meaning. An ancient Chinese proverb cited in Akinrosoye (2011) says

“One picture is worth a thousand words”. Pictures are remembered longer than verbal messages.

Picture also conveys feeling of reality and authenticity and pictures may be believed more rapidly than words. Hence the old saying, action speaks louder than voice.

Graphic art as part of visual communication gain and hold the attention of viewers and if the communication is interrupted, the message may be readily picked up (Akinrosoye, 2011). Photography also aids page makeup and adds to the aesthetic value and generally attracts the attention to a newspaper page. Akinrosoye (2011), while arguing the source of photograph as a graphic aid, defines photojournalist as a reporter that gathers news but in picture form. The photojournalist captures scenes and event not in words but in a dramatic and eye-catching picture.

While graphic designer is one that works with drawing, painted photograph, or computergenerated images (pictures), they also design the letter forms that make up various typefaces found in movie credits and TV ads; in books, magazines and menus; and even on computer screens. Visual images demand a viewer’s attention. Photos have the ability to convey drama and emotion and realism in a way that text alone cannot. Visual images can short circuit higher levels of cognition and reasoning, because they are more lifelike and easier for the brain to process.

Also, because the brain codes visual and non-visual information separately, the additional memory coding can increase information recall. By nature, the visual medium demands receiver’s attention. The news photograph connects the reader to a story in a way that text alone cannot. Graber (1996) cited in Katherine (2007) said “combining pictures with words makes the message more memorable”. The overall content of pictures differs in the emotion, immediacy, and environment captured. These elements of a picture can produce dramatic information, which are not necessarily conveyed or included through textual information alone. According to Katherine (2007), Graber attributes his argument to the fact that the human brain absorbs larger amounts of information when messages are visual

It is against this backdrop that the researcher examined effects of graphics on audience patronage of punch newspaper among residents of port harcourt metropolis.

1.2 Statement of Problem

In recognition of the potency of graphics to attract the attention of readers and the aesthetics values to newspapers, publishers have continued to beautify and make their newspapers attractive by using graphics and attention catching graphics and colors particularly on the front page. The critical question here is, have these front page graphics (Graphics, color, masthead, headlines, fonts, typographies) increased the preference of the readers to a particular paper?

Graphics by nature tell a story as they attract human attention. They make communication easier and help to easily assimilate information. The truth still stands that one photograph is worth a thousand words. Possibly, graphics are the basics of high patronage of newspapers. Therefore, there is no doubt about the fact that graphics especially graphics take two dimensions in newspapers, that is graphics tell the story or complement the story. It is important to realize that for information or graphics to have any substantial impact, influence and relevance on the readers, it depends on the type of graphics used on the front page of the newspaper. Nevertheless, newspapers are a ubiquitous feature of everyday life in urban Nigeria. At neighborhood markets and most major intersections, crowds gather every morning and afternoon to check out the lead stories with their graphics on the front-page of all the current newspapers that hang across the frames of the wooden kiosks. Top stories from the major newspapers are reported and analyzed on the morning shows of many television and radio stations. People who buy newspapers often look at the graphics communication and then read the story.

This research tries to investigate effects of graphics on audience patronage of punch newspaper among residents of port harcourt metropolis

1.3 purpose of the Study

To examine effects of graphics on audience patronage of punch newspaper among residents of port harcourt metropolis

1.2 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the event of graphics communication on patronage of newspapers?
  2. To assess whether graphics on the newspaper appropriate for readers
  3. To evaluate ways graphics can enhance viewership

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does the graphics communication affect the patronage of newspapers?
  2. Are the graphics on the newspaper appropriate for readers?
  3. What ways can graphic enhance viewership?

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study examines Punch Newspaper This newspaper is selected basically due to their large circulation and perceived credibility.

1.6 Limitation of the Study

Wide research of this nature cannot be carried out without some constraints; these constraints which include time and money posed a lot of limitations to this work. Duration for the research work was relatively short while stress which emanated from other academic activities was also another constrain.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The major significance this study will have is that; it will give newspapers publishers the idea on how people perceive their product in term of the outlook of their newspaper, giving them overview of how the design and layout as well as packaging of their newspaper lure readers to read and buy their product.

This study will also tell newspapers how graphics could increase readers’ preference and sale of a newspaper.

Also, students of mass communication and other related field will know the role of graphics in newspaper production; it will further enable other researchers to continue from the aspect which this study has not covered.

1.8. Organization of the Study

This paper is arranged in a way which sequentially answers the questions raised under the introductory part. Thus there would be five chapters in which Chapter One deals with introductory aspects namely, background of the study area, Objectives of the study Statement of the problem, Significance of the study, scope of the study and limitations throughout this paper. Chapter two would be dedicated to the review of related literature consisting scientific review and empirical review. Chapter three covers the methods used during data collection and data analysis. Chapter four includes finding and discussion part of the study. The last chapter incorporated the conclusion and recommendation part of the research.

1.9 Definition of Terms


Graphics in this study, as referred to, means; colour, images/pictures, masthead, typography, and text.
Newspapers/Newspaper: the use of this word in this study can sometimes mean the publisher of a particular newspaper or reference to combination of two or more newspapers; this is largely dependent on the context in which the word is been used.


The use of paper in this study may sometimes mean a newspaper or a newspaper medium or publisher.
Picture/Image: In this study, the use of picture and image interchangeably mean a still photograph or any graphical illustration such as chart, map, sign, symbols etc.

Newspaper Free Readers:

These are people who go to newspaper stands to read newspaper without purchasing the paper. These set of people reads newspaper for free or pay a token, usually bellow the price at which the paper is being sold.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This chapter presents the summary of this study from chapter one to four with a view of comparing them in perspectives with existing knowledge and other investigations on the issue of newspaper patronage, especially as it has to do with PUNCH newspaper. It also draws conclusion from the findings made during the study and makes necessary recommendations to ensure that newspapers’ graphics is given more attention by aesthetically beautifying the pages.

The chapter one of this study, gave an overall background with insight to the concept of graphics and also highlighting the graphical elements that make-up that pages of a newspaper. The chapter also discussed the statement of the problem, the objective of the study, research questions and scope of the study, among others.

Chapter two of this study identifies and defines major concepts of this study, review relevant literature; using three empirical studies by different author, which were considered relevant to this study. The empirical study reviewed are: The Use of Front-Page Picture(s) in Newspapers, September 2009 by Jennifer Ehidimamen; The Effect of Graphics on the Print Media (A case study of Osun Defender), January 2011, by Temitayo Odumakin; Impact of Graphics on Magazine Cover Page: (A Case Study of Tell and Ovation Magazine). Also, some of the concept reviewed includes; Graphics and Graphics Design, Colour and Colour Combination, Pictures and Photograph, Newspaper Production Process, Type-face and Layout among others.

The chapter three of this study presents the methodology adopted for this research work, it discussed the research design, population of the study, sampling technique, method of data collection and method of data presentation.

A total of 150 respondents were selected from port harcourt metropolis vendor stands through an available sampling technique, a non-scientific sampling method. The available sampling technique was used because this study focused on front page graphics and readers’ preference with particular focus on The Sun and The Punch newspapers. Therefore, for the researcher to get accurate information, free readers of newspaper at vendor were therefore selected.

Chapter four presents the data gathered from the respondents and presents it in tables and figures for clearer understanding of the findings.

5.2 Conclusion

Having carefully reviewed relevant literatures for this study, administered questionnaire to the study population, gathered, analyzed and interpreted the data, the researcher therefore concludes, that graphics lure newspaper readers to read newspaper and also purchase the newspaper.

It can therefore be concluded that all the respondents read newspaper and all the respondents are exposed to The Punch Newspapers’

That the graphics of The Punch newspaper is graphically attractive to the readers; perhaps the front page is given more graphic attention to attract readers to buy and read the newspaper.

It can also be concluded that the design of a newspaper’s graphic has the power to make or mar the sales of a particular newspaper and that graphics is a persuasive tool that could be used by newspapers to lure people to buy their newspapers.

The findings in chapter four of this study reveal that graphics on newspapers affect patronage of the buyers cos of the attractiveness of the front page graphic which is the first sight of the reader, It also reveals that Punch newspaper has more influence on readers because the newspaper has good colour combination, attractive graphics, good font-type and a beautiful masthead, thereby making it preferable by readers.

The general outlook of Punch newspaper mostly attracts readers to read Punch newspaper because it has a good layout.

5.3 Recommendations

Having discovered that the design of the front page of a particular newspaper can make or mar the sales of a particular newspaper, it is however recommended that;

  1. Newspaper publishers should make the front page of their newspaper more colourful and beautiful, to attract more readers and retain existing readers.
  2. Prominence should be given to picture usage on the front page because it is the first page that passers-by will see and if it is interesting and attractive enough, passers-by will stop to take a look at it and eventually purchase the newspaper.
  3. More prominence should also be given to the way the graphics of a newspaper is arranged. The layout of a newspaper determines picture placement, font usage and other necessary elements. Therefore newspaper graphics should be given more concentration and thorough planning to make it attractive to readers.
  4. Beautiful fonts (type-face) should be used on the front page of newspapers to attract more readers.
  5. Also, good and creative graphic artist should be employed by newspaper publishers and they should be allowed to use their creativity to beautify the of newspapers.
  6. Newspapers should also try to redesign their masthead and make it more colourful, because that is the graphical representation of the publisher of the newspapers.

5.4 Suggestions for Further Study

To fill the knowledge gap that this study was unable to cover, the researcher put forward the following suggestions for future researchers:

  1. There is need for future researchers to enquire the reasons why newspapers use graphics and the graphic software each newspaper uses for newspaper make-up design.
  2. Also, future researchers can examine the influence of photograph on the pages of newspapers.
  3. Also importance of photo news on the inside pages of newspaper should be investigated by future researcher.

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