Influence Of Sensational Headlines On Newspapers (A Case Study Of Sun Newspaper)
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This research project is dedicated to God Almighty, who through his infinite mercies made it possible for me to write this project successfully.
I am grateful to all those who contributed immensely towards making this research project a reality.
Firstly, I acknowledge the support and motivation from my parents both morally and financially.
Secondly, to my project supervisor, Mr. Victor O. Alozie a distinguished Mass Communication lecturer, for his guidance and tolerance to my inabilities, this acted as catalyst to the aesthetic nature of this research project work.
Thirdly, my appreciation also goes to all the lecturers in the Mass Communication Department, who through their academic coaching added a spark to my academic pursuit.
Finally, without much haste, I cannot forget to acknowledge my friends, well-wishers, fellow communicators and the Ogelinks Concepts for their divergent contributions towards the success of this research project work. May God in his riches bless you all Amen!!!
The research was on the influence of sensational headlines on newspapers, a case study of sun newspaper. As a matter of fact content analysis and survey research methods were used for this research work. Content analysis was chosen to analyse the sensational headlines in sun newspaper, the researcher used newspaper readers in strategic points in Owerri metropolis, that is IMSU junction, Ikenegbu and Douglas road for this project questionnaire was used to record the sensational headlines on sun newspaper for four months representing 120 editions of the paper also copies were distributed to the readers who were considered to be in best positions to give useful information in line with the study. The findings of this study reveal that sensational headlines attract newspaper readers, the newspapers use sensational headlines mostly on their front pages to attract readers.
Also it was gathered that sensational journalism increased newspaper readership not for a long time, especially when readers noticed that some stories exaggerated and other sensational headline are used by the newspaper. The researcher found out that readers react badly to the use of sensational headlines and said it is fraudulent.
It was also discovered that the use of boldly written headlines on the front page of the paper, its content, currency and in-depth reporting are factors that helped in building peoples preferences to read the sun newspaper.
Table Of Contents
- Title page i
- Certification page ii
- Dedication iii
- Acknowledgement iv
- Abstract v
- Table of contents vi
- 1.1 Background of study 1
- 1.2 Statement of problems 3
- 1.3 Objective of study 3
- 1.4 Research questions 3
- 1.5 Scope of the study 4
- 1.6 Limitations of the study 4
- 1.7 Definitions of terms 4
Chapter Two:Literature Review
- 2.1 Historical background of sensational Headlines 6
- 2.2 Challenges facing newspaper industry 7
- 2.3 Newspaper ownership and editorial influence 9
- 2.4 history of sun newspaper 11
- 2.5 Theoretical frameworks 14
- 3.1 Research design 15
- 3.2 Area of study 15
- 3.3 Population of the study 15
- 3.4 Sample and sampling procedure 15
- 3.5 Sources of data 16
- 3.6 Instrument for data collection 16
- 3.7 Validity of Instrument 16
- 3.8 Administration of the instrument 17
- 3.9 Method of data analysis 17
Chapter Four:Presentation And Analysis Of Data
- 4.1 Data analysis 18
- 4.2 Response to the questionnaire questions 21
- 4.3 Answering the research question 24
Chapter Five:Summary Of Findings, Conclusion And Recommendations
- 5.1 Summary of findings 26
- 5.2 Conclusion 27
- 5.3 Recommendations 27
- References 29
- Appendix 30
- Questionnaires 31
1.1 Background Of The Study
Newspaper readership is as old as journalism itself. Print journalism started far back 1620. In England, when English country gentlemen used to employ, correspondents to write for them from London about court proceedings and events occurring in the town. Ogunsiji (2007 P.3). More so, in 1990, newspaper surfaced in America. Both American and English early newspapers were devices for organizing gossip. During that period, there was no page planning and news stories were not given any prominence nor was there indications as to where to find them. Datelines were used to head stories instead of headlines.
As time gradually moved on, more and better newspapers were established. The main contents of such newspapers were reports of debates in parliament. After sometimes, following the decline in newspaper readership. The popularity of press also declined in both England and America and circulation of newspaper dropped, as Ogunsiji (2007, p.1) noted, publishers and editors were not happy about the development. They decide to adopt new approach to see if the approach could increase the circulation of newspaper.
These laid credence to the origin of sensational or yellow journalism, which is a type of editorial bias in mass media which events and topics in news stories and pieces are over- hyped to increased viewership or readership numbers. The sensational journalism embraces reports on sex, divorces, gossip, romance, scandal, kidnapping, fire, war, murder and rape. There was also the use of banner headlines and exaggeration of news stories etc.
In Nigeria, though the missionary newspapers did not achieve much in terms of being in business for long period of time, securing a large circulation and exhibiting professional journalistic expertise, they helped immensely to increase the level of education and social awareness of the generality of the people they were serving. Alozie (2005). On this note the emergence of modem newspapers in Nigeria adopted some of the features of sensational journalism or yellow journalism, such as large headlines, illustration and reliance on cartoon and colour. Ukozor (2006). They adopted sensational journalism without considering is ethical implications.
Nevertheless, unarguably, the aim of every newspaper house is to make profit, so as to remain in business. And also to perform corporate social responsibility of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Publishers or editors see what ever influences the audience as a priority. The adoption of sensational headlines by Nigeria newspapers has further become a tradition. Ukozor (2003, P.24), also noted that traces of these popular features of sensational or yellow journalism still remains practiced even by today’s best selling newspaper, such features as large headlines, bid front-page pictures, and extensive use of photos, illustrations and cartoons.
However, most of these features of sensational journalism are prominently being used by most Nigeria newspaper today. The question is how the adoption of sensational headlines has by editor’s influences newspapers, it readership and circulation, as in the case of sun newspapers.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
The sun newspaper is one of the Nigeria’s most widely read newspapers. The paper has several sensational headlines written in sensational format. Although sensational headline is an acute problem of exaggeration and the act is against the ethnics of journalism. Other newspapers in Nigeria are also in this practice to this effect, some screaming headlines contradict the content of the stories and yet they are presented in very bold type faces, in order to lure readers and this is against morality and the society.
What is the influence of sensational headlines on newspapers, its readership and circulation? Is the use of sensational headline by sun newspaper as a result of its editorial polices and profit making motives? Why is it difficult for newspaper in Nigeria to phase out the use of sensational headlines? These and other questions are the issues that this study intends to look into.
1.3 The Objectives Of The Study
The objectives of the study are as follows.
- To find out if sensational headlines influence newspaper readership.
- To know how the readers react to sensational headlines.
- To know whether sensational journalism can increase newspaper readership.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions of the study are as follows:
- Do sensational headlines influence newspaper readership of sun newspaper?
- How do readers react to sensational headlines in the sun newspaper?
- Can sensational journalism increase newspaper readership?
1.5 Scope Of The Study
The researcher will focus on the influence of sensational headlines on sun newspaper readership only. The study will be conducted within Owerri Municipal, because it is where you find newspaper stands. Where people gather to read or buy newspaper.
1.6 Limitations Of The Study
This research work is likely to face some limitations, just like any other human endeavour such as the time fame with which this research project work is expected to be completed; its financial materials constraints will also limit this study to some extent.
1.7 Definition Of Terms
This embraces the operational and conceptual meaning of the following terms.
The power or the ability to affect beliefs or actions. (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary).
It is the ability of newspaper headlines to attract reader’s attention to read a particular newspaper.
A way of getting newspaper readers to read news stories in newspaper due to its fancifully written headlines.
Causing great surprise, excitement or interest (Longman English Contemporary Dictionary)
A word or group of words prominently positioned in newspaper, which reads see first before reading news stories.
It is that bold caption of a news story written in a few words which draws attention to the study Alozie (2009, p. 109).
A publication which carries current public news other written features and illustrations, printed daily of periodically for sale.
Is an unbound printed publication issued at regular intervals which presents information in words, often supplemented with pictures sandman et al (1976) in Alozie (2009; p.3)
individuals or groups who expose themselves to news contents in newspapers.
The percentage or number of persons who reads a publication or advertisement (Dictionary of Mass Communication 2005).
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Prepare For The Questions:
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The structure of a good project work
Undergraduate projects in Nigeria is a prerequisite for graduation amongst Nigerian tertiary students who will which to obtain bachelors degree in their respective courses of study such as accounting, banking and finance, business administration and a host of others. Writing an undergraduate project in Nigeria for final year students entails a lot both financially and otherwise. Being able to develop any final year project depends on getting a researchable topic whether it is Accounting Undergraduate project topics, Banking and Finance research topics or banking and finance project topics and materials and it all requires diligent hard work of students who are willing to develop best undergraduate projects in Nigeria and graduate in flying colors.
A typical Undergraduate project in Nigerian tertiary institutions can be said to be divided into five or six chapters depending on the format of the school and course of study which are
The introduction of an undergraduate project states the main research problem and research argument. What precisely the study is all about and why it is important. It looks at the originality of the research work and how it will fill the gap in other studies. Justification for a research undergraduate topic should not be lengthy before it has been explicitly stated.
Below are the contents in chapter one of an undergraduate research project which includes;
- Background of the study,
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2. Literature review
Literature review of any undergraduate research work, be it business administration project topics or Economics project topics just to mention a few is very critical to securing a high grade in one’s project work. The literature review of a research process uncovers what other writers have written about the student’s topic. A student’s undergraduate research work should include a discussion or review of what is known about the subject and how that knowledge was acquired. The review could conclude with a brief summary of the literature and its implications. The contents of the literature review are the theoretical review, conceptual framework, empirical review and summary of literature review.
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This section presents and discusses the data analysis results used in an undergraduate research work, the results of each analysis is being summarized, tabulated, and then discussed for each research question. Then for each research hypothesis, the statistical test of significance selected and applied to the data is briefly described, followed by a statement indicating whether the hypothesis was supported or not supported. In presenting the result analyses/summary in an undergraduate project tables and figures and or graph are used to add clarity to the presentation.
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