The Influence Of Online Journalism On Revenue Generation Of Nigeria New Media
It is known especially in recent times that the media serve the public directly as a source, both of information and guidance. It is also a well known fact that the new media has continued to reshape the face of journalism in the world both positively and negatively. There is no doubt that the mass media especially in third world countries like Nigeria, are feeling the impact. Information technology is increasingly affecting our lives in a manner which has become common place. Journalism is also one area which technology has affected. This journalism has been undergoing dramatic changes as it adapts to and takes advantage of digital technologies. New media developments are having a profound effect on all levels of the journalistic enterprise. The pace of these changes is quickening, altering the practice of the profession as never before. These changes, which encompasses a wide range of activities from news gathering to editing and dissemination, are bringing many benefits, but with attendant challenges. Media organizations as any other social institutions have always used technology in the production and distribution process. They have been sensitive to innovations in communication technologies, mainly due to economic reasons. In the last decades of the 20th century, print media outfits were profitable business, but now, all indicators are showing warning lights. Readership is declining steadily especially among young readers who are now more attracted dependent on the Internet for their news. Media houses especially hard copies of newspapers, magazines and the rest, are gradually going into extinction and the resource base of various media houses is gradually dwindling. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) which is the mother umbrella of all the media house is also being affected by this development. Many of its `would be’ subscribers now prefer the internet to read and get their news stories at the confines of their room, offices etc. Readers prefer to click and pay less to get news than patronize hard copies of newspapers, magazines. This research work is geared towards suggesting alternative money making ventures for various media houses and also making suggestions to the government on how best to boost the functionality of the agency.
1.1 Background of the Study
Ever since the inception of the internet and the proliferation of its services, there has been an unremitting decline in the use of other media Deuze, M. (2003). This has initiated and sustained a global trend of unrelenting resort to the internet as a means of news and information dissemination. A trend of this nature has consequently had a baneful effect on the print media, and paradoxically, a positive one on online journalism and e-news. This evolution in media practice is also unequivocally evident in the developing countries of Africa such as Nigeria where the onset of online journalism is gradually putting the demand of newspapers on the ware Felix U.T. (2011). The migration of newspapers and television outfits to the web has been consequently accompanied with that of its readership and viewership respectively. However, much as this poses a dilemma, it has jolted journalists and media organizations into the realization that being technologically sorry is the only sure means of remaining relevant in an increasingly changing and competitive journalism, and a good number of them are stepping up to the plate Felix U.T. (2011).
The migration of major newspaper outfits in the country to the internet reaffirms this. For instance, The Punch now runs an online press which avails its readers (both local and Diaspora) the opportunity to access news stories, and connect with the press on a social network to access and respond to news feeds through their mobile service Aishat, A.S. (2013). It also features opinion polls that aids in the reception of feedback from its readers. Some other news outfit go further to accord to its readers the liberty to upload reports of current news-worthy events within their vicinity. Vanguard offers to its readers such as service, Daily Sun in addition offers a search engine which enables its readers to rapidly retrieve information on trending events Aishat, A.S. (2013). Funny enough, it also does offers, for its fun-loving readers, a peculiar dating service. All these commendable developments in the online media vividly portray the commitment of the online press and media practitioners towards a sustainable growth and efficacy of online journalism in Nigeria.
This, considered from a futuristic viewpoint indubitably, guarantees a high prospect of survival, longevity, and success of online journalism in Nigeria. Nigeria has 294 radio and Television stations most of which also transmit on the internet for example Wazobia Fm and Cool Fm, which are both independent radio stations, have their audio programmes streamed live Ifeoma, T.A. (2010). Their audiences can dick, download and listen to these programmes (http://wazobiafm.com/). In addition, Cool Fm produces original videos, has a photo Gallery titled “Cool photos”, online games titled “Cool Games”, and maintains presence on Facebook and Twitter. Other features on its website include an opinion poll site titled “Football Polls” and a “Weather Forecast Site (http://www.coolfm.us/.).
Television stations in Nigeria are not left out as a large number of them maintain presence on the web, where they transmit live programmes. Channels Television, a predominantly news television station, in addition to its live transmission, produces original news videos as well as offering links to YouTube videos. It also maintains presence on Facebook and Twitler, gives “Breaking News” through email alerts to subscribers, conducts “opinion polls” and gives Weather Reports,
Online journalism involves the gathering, assessing, creating, presenting and reporting of facts produced via the internet, by journalists for a form of reward Agba, P.C. (2001). The primary product of journalism, which is news, is presented solely or in combination as text, audio, video and some interactive forms, and disseminated through media platforms.
One of the challenges that online journalism faces in Nigeria today is constant power failure. This makes accessibility and connectivity, to the internet for online news, impossible or inconvenient for both journalists and the masses Agba, P.C. (2001).
Another challenge that online journalism faces in Nigeria is the temporary loss in internet connection. This can obstruct a news organization from laying claim to the scoop of information. It can also hinder the masses from having access to the news published online.
The exploitation of the internet by the masses, to obtain or read news articles on newspaper websites without having to pay for the news obtained, is also a challenge to online journalism in Nigeria. This does not favour news websites because very few newspapers will claim to have made money from their websites, which are mostly free to viewers Aishat, A.S. (2013).
Another challenge facing online journalism is that the personnel is growing worse and is lacking in skill. There is lack of expertise and deterioration in trained personnel. This also leads to undermining the efficiency of news reporters and news products by the masses.
Convergence is another challenge facing online journalism in Nigeria. Media convergence is a form of cross-media cooperation, usually involving broadcast, print, photography and internet sites. Convergence journalism also adds more elements and details to a story through the use of more than one outlet to tell the story Ifeoma, T.A. (2010). Convergence reporters must be trained to report in multiple media. There should be numerous skills able to work in a converged media environment.
Another challenge facing online journalism is the inability to balance speed and accuracy by online journalists. This creates a great risk of disseminating inaccurate news, in an attempt to keep news current within minutes of an event’s occurrence.
Other prospects of online journalism are: Government’s negligence in providing internet facilities and appliances, high cost of surfing and limited readership; because a lot of people are still computer illiterate.
The numerous challenges that online journalism faces in Nigeria can be remedied if proper attention is given to them by the government, the masses and even the journalists.
Despite the challenges faced by online journalism in Nigeria, there are still prospects. Only a few publishers had access to printing press, when printing was the only medium available to journalists, but online journalism has given journalists the opportunity to reach their audience simultaneously Ifeoma, T.A. (2010).
According to Christoph Steck, the Director Public Policy and Internet for Telefonica, the internet is facing three main challenges, which are: Accessibility, Open Internet and Digital Confidence. Online journalism in Nigeria will create an information society with massive awareness of rights, liberties and freedom due to its informal style of education through its online publications, thereby increasing the number of internet users in the country and the use of information technology in the country. The number of internet users in Nigeria has also been rising consistently; this is a prospect of online journalism in Nigeria.
Also, online journalism has been made more effective through the emergence of Multimedia Journalism. Multimedia journalism is the collective use of many media types, such as text, audio, sound, images, graphics, animation, video, pictures and photographs to convey information or to tell an interesting story.
Another prospect of online journalism is that it has reduced the rigorous efforts that news reporters go through to get news report to the editor’s desk before the deadline Felix U.T. (2011). It has also created urgency in media reporting.
Other prospects of online journalism in Nigeria are: Computer literacy has been made paramount by the society, wider coverage of events and provision of Nigerian journalists with international exposure.
The challenges and prospects of online journalism given above show that there’s a lot of work to be done but online journalism is also showing a great deal of improvement.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Despite the challenges faced by online journalism in Nigeria, there are still prospects. Only a few publishers had access to printing press, when printing was the only medium available to journalists, but online journalism has given journalists the opportunity to reach their audience simultaneously.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This study is aimed at achieving the following objectives;
- To examine the benefits of online journalism practice in Nigeria.
- To find out the challenges confronting online journalism practice in Nigeria.
- To examine the prospects of online journalism practice in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Question
- What are the benefits of online journalism practice in Nigeria?
- What are the challenges confronting online journalism practice in Nigeria?
- What are the prospect of online journalism practice in Nigeria?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Online journalism allows for connection and discussion at levels that print does not offer on its own. People can comment on articles and start discussion boards to discuss articles. Before the internet, spontaneous discussion between readers who had never met was impossible. The process of discussing a news item is a big portion of what makes for online journalism. People add to the story and connect with other people who want to discuss the topic. Online journalism creates an opportunity for niche audiences allowing people to have more options as to what to view and read.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study would attempt to explain the influence of online journalism on revenue generation of Nigeria new media a study of punch newspaper.
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
Chapter one of this research, discussed the general introduction, which includes the rationale and theoretical frame work, statement of the problem, purpose of study, research questions, significance of study, limitations of study and operational definitions of terms.
The background of study stresses the fact that the emergence and development of the new media especially the internet has led to the creation of a form of journalism that is today christened online journalism. The online journalism has changed the scope of journalism in Nigerian media organizations.
Even though the present day online form of journalism has not only made dissemination of communication easier, it has also affected the revenue generation and relevance as well as the employment of many stakeholders in the media industry.
This study would bring to the fore the operating practice of online journalism in Nigeria media, through pointing out the areas of impact and areas of lapses. The study also will contribute significantly to cross cultural knowledge on how online journalism has altered the posture of traditional journalism.
The findings showed that the data gathered via the various responses of respondents on the questions administered on the impact of online journalism as it obtains in Nigeria media institution indicates that a significant impact of media advancement has been recorded in Nigeria as a result of the emergence of and embracing of online journalism by Nigeria media organizations. The findings showed that online journalism has negatively affected the revenue generation of many media houses especially the print media who are major subscribers of NAN.
While ICTs may have influenced the practice of journalism substantially, they have in strong ways, raise several challenges to the management of newspapers in Nigeria, where the economic downturn, poor social infrastructures and the death of media technology experts are putting strain on managers.
Although, all hope is not lost as some have wriggle their ways out of the daunting challenges and remain afloat and profitable, while serving the public interest, to the best of their abilities. The frequency of change of some of the information technologies put constant pressure on management, added to the harsh economic conditions, which tend to vitiate the progress been made.
5.1 Conclusion and Recommendation
It is a fair saying that online journalism have impacted positively on readers making it easier for them to access information without much stress, efforts or resources. This has indeed created a gap on the day to day resource base of media organizations in Nigeria especially the print media organizations who are major subscribers of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). People now research specific articles, biography, information about a person, event through portal sites. This is also affecting the agenda- setting theory where is said that the media fashions the minds of the people on what to think, say and how to say it. News readers’ now get information on personal concern. As a consequence, the role of gatekeeper is transferred from journalist to readers. Even though online journalism had improved the feedback pattern between the reader and the journalist, it did not give enough opportunity for the journalist to express opinions.
Journalists have no power to convey their point-of-view about social issues to the public. Information providers just report what they heard and what they saw as soon as possible, without further verifications for timeliness. That is why a pessimist blames Online-Journalism as the ‘Only Out-Line Journalism’. The point is some people are not able to filter and verify the truth. Thus, we need special agent for verifying the accuracy and credibility of information.
Online-Journalism is also a business, so it needs money to maintain. Another thing needed for successful online journalism is public participation. To make people participate in sharing opinion, correcting mistakes, writing articles, reward is necessary, not just money, but also achievement, fame, fun in various form of reward.
Online journalism has some has positive potentialities, but also has some problems to be solved. The Internet challenges traditional news organizations in several ways. Newspapers may lose classified advertising to websites, which are often targeted by interest instead of geography. These organizations lose their viewers and circulation to the Internet.
The Internet has also given rise to more participation by people who are not normally journalists, such as with Indy Media (Max Perez). Bloggers write on web logs or blogs. Traditional journalists often do not consider bloggers to automatically be journalists. This has more to do with standards and professional practices than the medium. But, as of 2005, blogging has generally gained at least more attention and has led to some effects on mainstream journalism.
Findings show that media organizations must fashion out ways to replace and boost their resources which the internet has taken over. Media organizations as well as journalists as a matter of necessity should strive to be relevant in the information world or very soon, would gradually go into extinction.
Having examined the influence of online journalism in relation to the Nigeria media, using the News Agency of Nigeria as the case of study, the findings of this study indicate the penetration of a new mindset regarding information and communication technology.
To further extensively deal with the subject of online journalism, the following suggestions and recommendations are made
Although online journalism has encouraged free information flow, these information should be gagged to discourage rumours capable of causing mayhem.
Media organizations should set up online news sites to decisively maintain their information roles.
Media houses should seek the support of professional editors and varied reach in terms of readers.
The press in Nigeria is in a unique position as the forum of debate and reflector of public opinion. It is important that their presence online also reflects and assumes a unique role and one of the most significant ways in which it can do this is to ensure that it incorporates interactivity as one of its online journalism practice.
The online staff of Nigeria media establishment should take into consideration the features and characteristics that distinguish the various medium like the print, electronic.
Media houses should incorporate chatting boards on their online news website, which will encourage public opinion, through this process various opinion about national issues can be mentioned by the public.
Ideally the job of an online journalist especially in relation to civic journalism should not end at uploading information to the reader. It should include developing roles for their existing and intended readers as active participants in discussions and deliberations as well as in problem solving that will have significant bearing on the process of democratization.
A good number of the administrative challenges can be overcome if government provides the needed social infrastructures, which the media need to operate. In this sense, government should improve on the power supply situation so that ICT facilities can function under the right environment. Newspaper access codes should be well protected to prevent hackers from tempering with online stories.
Newspapers that are yet to establish satellite production facilities outside their primary domain should do that urgently, to curtail the declining level of distribution and readership of such newspapers. (British Journal of Arts and Social Sciences)
Regular training should be organized for practitioners to keep them abreast of developments on the field.
Media houses should protect their online copies and ensure that readers pay for subscription to curtail the high level of declining revenue from hard copy sales.
It is also recommended that media organizations should constantly update their news portal to encourage easy access and satisfy the interest of readers or subscribers.
Media organizations on their own must fashion out ways to boost their resources to survive the dynamism of the information world.
The government at all levels must as a matter of urgency upgrade, restructure the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a way that it will meet the information needs of its subscribers.
5.3 Suggestions for Further Studies
In spite of the bourgeoning of communication research into the diverse and varied aspect of online journalism, there is still an obvious lack of sufficient literature and documented research. The fact that most of the literature that does exist approaches the issues from a near European point of view serves to make this deficiency of literature and documented research especially apparent within the Nigeria media online journalism context.
It is the researchers hope that this study will in some way contribute to knowledge base of literature and research from which communication scholars can perhaps draw. Most certainly, there is also the need to explore in detail the effect of online journalism within the contest of Nigeria media organizations by exposing more trends and peculiarities and creating the necessary data for further cross national comparison on online journalism impacts on media establishments.
It is an incontrovertible fact that the emergence of the internet has changed the world in many ways and online journalism practice has affected news gathering and reporting. The new information and communication technologies have challenged the practical and theoretical assumptions about global press system and journalistic practices.
Online journalism has affected news reportage both positively and negatively in the Nigeria media.
Ever since the advent of online journalism in Nigeria media vis-à-vis the internet, it has had tremendous impact on the Nigeria media. There has been situations where `classified information’ concealed from the public by national governments have been published on line in defiance of government bans.
Whichever way the pendulum swings in the next few years, the fact remains that online journalism is breaking new ground by the day, revolutionizing the traditional concept that the public has always had about news sourcing and reporting. This has also been the case in the Nigeria media.
Finally, `Yes online journalism helps us to get information in a twinkle of an eye, yes, it helps us shop within the confines of our room, yes, we get world class information on our palms but these excesses should be stream-lined if not, we will suffer for our own advancement.
5.5 Limitations of Study
The subject of online journalism in Nigeria media is both broad and diverse but this research work is limited to online journalism as it affects the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
This research work is also constrained by time as the researcher had limited time to embark on a proper research in order to come out with an intelligent and excellent work.
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