Effects Of Ownership Pattern And The Editorial Content Of Nigerian Newspapers

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Effects Of Ownership Pattern And The Editorial Content Of Nigerian Newspapers


Abstract


This study was carried out to investigate the effects of ownership pattern and the editorial content of Nigerian Newspapers. The study was embarked on to specifically determine whether ownership factor play a role in news reporting by the Nigerian newspapers, ascertain whether ownership factor influence is played out in content generation of Nigerian Newspapers, establish whether ownership pattern significantly affect editorial publications of Nigerian Newspapers, and explore the implications of ownership pattern on the performance of media practitioners. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprised of staff of of AIT and NTA Abuja. 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, while the hypotheses were tested using Chi-square statistical tool. The result of the findings reveals that ownership factor influence is played out in content generation of f Nigerian Newspapers. The study further showed that ownership pattern significantly affects editorial publications f Nigerian Newspapers. Therefore, stakeholders in the Nigerian media industry must continue to place emphasis on journalism ethics because this is the only way journalists can truly gain the respect of society that they serve as watchdogs. To mention but a few.


Table of Content


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

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The concept of media ownership in relation to the political economy of the newspaper indicates that newspaper owners exercise some control over news content. In their postulations on ownership and media content, Campbell (2004), Jones and Salter (2012), Hardy (2014), Axhami, Mersini and Zela (2015) and Porlezza (2017) submit that owners exercise control over the newspapers which they see not just as engines of propaganda and instruments of political power, but also as vehicle of wealth creation. Hence, depending on who owns the press empire and what their political inclinations are, concern about the power and influence of the newspaper tycoons has always been that they are either politically ambitious or are motivated by the desire for wealth or huge profit.

Media outfits ought to be impartial and independent. But as we know, ownership has influence in the functioning of the outfit. The media dames to the tune of the owner. Media ownership and control/influence are intertwined. The ownership interests affect what is covered and what is not covered as well as the manner of coverage. Ownership impacts the contents in print publication and the information the readers receive. Ownership influence sometimes accounts for the different versions of the same happenings. Mc Quail (2005, P.292), commenting on ownership and influence in the media, espouses thus: There is an inevitable tendency for owners of news media to set broadline of policy, which are likely to be followed by the editorial staff they employ. There may also be informal and indirect pressure on particular issues that matter to owners (for instance, relating to their business interest). Ownership is a critical factor in the regulation of the mass media. Media managers are often faced with the dilemma of balancing the media owner’s interest and those of the public without informing on the laws of the candor the ethnics of the profession. Whether media is public or private, the interest of the owner plays a dominant role in determining what the media mangers do or fail to do. Hardly can an owner tolerate a manager who operates contrary to his interest.
With this, the increasing incorporation of the newspapers into the main sectors of business and politics has threatened to create a new dimension on critical reporting on corporate or governmental affairs. This concern with politics and business has clearly created a conflict of interests as newspapers attempt to pander to the whims of big corporations, advertisers, government or other interests in their content creation. The control exercised by newspaper proprietors remains crucial in understanding newspaper reporting and content endorsement in newsrooms. Various studies (Campbell, 2004; Guyot, 2009; Hardy, 2014; Porlezza, 2017) show that newspaper ownership has significant influence on newspaper content. Ownership influence can be displayed through owners‟ direct censorship, coercion of newsroom staff, self-censorship by reporters and power patronage (Aliagan, 2019). In some instances, the entrenched business and sometimes political interests of the newspaper owners may be interlinked with those of advertisers and government (Oso, 2012), which consequently creates forces on market-driven but government-controlled journalism as 3 experienced in Nigeria where the symbiotic relationship between newspaper owners, the business class and the government exists (Aliagan, 2019) .


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The media is certainly an agent of positive change in the society and a catalyst in nation building but unfortunately owners of media organizations tend to exert so much influence, interfering and manipulation on news content to gratify their selfish ends, this hampering the objectivity by the dictates of the media cultural identity and ethnics. The influence of newspaper owners on the news is one of the contending issues by scholars on hegemony and political economy of the media. It is argued that media owners, at the macro level, have two main objectives; wealth generation or to influence power (Jones & Salter, as cited in Aliagan, 2019). In the same vein, McChesney (cited in Aliagan, 2019) contends that media centration in a few private hands and in a non-egalitarian society will pressure content and viewpoints. This suggests that power and wealth control news content. In the Nigerian situation, a few people control about 10 major mainstream newspapers, serving a country with population estimated at over 200 million, thus leading to non-democratization of voices and outlets, with newspaper owners in association with government, advertisers and other interest groups dictating the focus and pace of the news. As argued by Nyamjoh (2004), state (government) and capital (ownership and advertisers) shrink the communication space and dwarf public opinion, as well as newspaper content. This is the background that inspires the examination on the effects of ownership pattern and the editorial content of Nigerian Newspapers.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the effects of ownership pattern and the editorial content of Nigerian Newspapers.

Other specific objectives includes:

  1. To determine whether ownership factor play a role in news reporting by the Nigerian newspapers.
  2. To ascertain whether ownership factor influence is played out in content generation of f Nigerian Newspapers.
  3. To establish whether ownership pattern significantly affect editorial publications f Nigerian Newspapers.
  4. To explore the implications of ownership pattern on the performance of media practitioners.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does ownership factor play a role in news reporting by the Nigerian newspapers?
  2. Does ownership factor influence is played out in content generation of f Nigerian Newspapers?
  3. Does ownership pattern significantly affect editorial publications f Nigerian Newspapers?
  4. What are the implications of ownership pattern on the performance of media practitioners.?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  • Ho: Ownership factor influence does not played out in content generation of f Nigerian Newspapers.
  • Ha: Ownership factor influence plays out in content generation of f Nigerian Newspapers.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Considering the earlier discussed dominant tendencies of owners of media organization and the subservient attitude of reporters and editors who are the main performers of media roles, it is essential to embark on such work as this towards further sensitizing media workers especially journalist on their determinate role and responsibilities to the society. It is hoped that the study will awaken the editors to reinforce their stance on matter affecting their day to day editorial function and issue affecting press freedom. Furthermore, it is intended to serve as a remainder to owner of media outfits that the use of the media as exclusive propaganda organs is a series abuse of the media.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on the effects of ownership pattern and the editorial content of Nigerian Newspapers. Other specific objectives includes, to determine whether ownership factor play a role in news reporting by the Nigerian newspapers, to ascertain whether ownership factor influence is played out in content generation of f Nigerian Newspapers and to explore the implications of ownership pattern on the performance of media practitioners. The study is however delimited to selected newspapers


1.8 Limitation of the Study

This research project, like all human endeavors, had some challenges that threatened to derail the study’s completion. One of the reasons is that the time allotted for this work was so limited that the researcher did not have enough time to complete the task thoroughly. During data collection, the researcher also had to put forth extra effort to understand the respondents’ interview schedules, several of whom fell into the incomprehensible age group. Also, there were financial and transportation constraints to deal with. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, interview).


1.9 Definition of Terms

The following terms are defines as they are used in the study.

Power Elites:

Refer to a cream of people usually a cross section of the over articulate elites of the ruling class in the society who by virtual of their economic and political power possess an influence or control over the newspaper.

Performance:

Capability of the press to carry its function judiciously in compliance without its professional ideology with being bias.

Ownership Influence:

The power which the owner of a newspaper wilds over the policy and the general content of the newspaper.

Content:

Any restrain or constraint in the newspaper.

Media:

The channel or devices and process f gathering and disseminating information idea attitude and influence to the public e.g. newspaper.

Objectivity:

Ability of a newspaper to report an event as it happened without being bias.


1.10 Organisations 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.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the effects of ownership pattern and the editorial content of Nigerian Newspapers. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was to investigate the effects of ownership pattern and the editorial content of Nigerian Newspapers. The study specifically was aimed to determine whether ownership factor play a role in news reporting by the Nigerian newspapers, ascertain whether ownership factor influence is played out in content generation of Nigerian Newspapers, establish whether ownership pattern significantly affect editorial publications of Nigerian Newspapers, and explore the implications of ownership pattern on the performance of media practitioners.
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 respondentswere staff of of AIT and NTA Abuja.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.

  1. Ownership factor plays a significant role in news reporting by the Nigerian newspapers.
  2. Ownership factor influence is played out in content generation of f Nigerian Newspapers.
  3. Ownership pattern significantly affects editorial publications f Nigerian Newspapers.
  4. Ownership pattern has various implications on the performance of media practitioners, among which include; deliberate distortion of the information disseminated to the audience; deliberate exclusion of some vital pieces of information especially when it portrays the leadership of the unfavorable in the sight of the masses; results to manipulative and propagandistic techniques of persuasion, contrary to the professional standards and criteria of the functioning of the mass media of communication; and results to media silence over critical issues where the population is thirsting for information.

5.4 Recommendation

Based on its findings, this study recommends that;

  1. Stakeholders in the Nigerian media industry must continue to place emphasis on journalism ethics because this is the only way journalists can truly gain the respect of society that they serve as watchdogs.
  2. Although, it is argued that commercially-funded newspaper tend to be more objective and promote standard of news values, the socio-political and economic configuration in Nigeria makes this herculean. Only an objective press can guarantee a workable democracy, good governance, rule of law and social equality. It is therefore, recommended that for newspapers to be able to play their effective role in nation building, owners need to subordinate their interests to the professional objective of newspaper to society.
  3. It also recommends sweeping reforms in the media industry to weed out the bad eggs that have tainted the image of the profession. This is the age of developmental journalism and Nigerian journalists should join hands in making society a better place for all. But most importantly, this paper strongly recommends the need to ensure proper regulation of media ownership in Nigeria to reduce disproportionate concentration of power in the hands of a few wealthy and influential politicians and businesspersons, who use the press as a weapon to protect their interests.

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