Instances Of Data Driven Journalism In The Daily Trust 2016-2018

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Instances Of Data Driven Journalism In The Daily Trust 2016-2018


Abstract


For many years, Western media theories and journalism practices have been the hallmark of the journalism profession in Africa. However, the globalised nature of our world which has become interconnected and interdependent, spawned by increasing technological changes, underlines the importance of analysing journalism practices and new media in Nigeria from a global perspective. Theories of the present global media ecology have therefore, become unsustainable and unsatisfactory (Cottle, 2009). Globalisation opens up the opportunity to study journalism practice and culture as a hybrid (McMillin, 2007), hence the need for a definition of journalism that can reflect and accommodate the global political differences and culture (Wasserman and de Beer, 2009). Research in journalism studies around the world consistently highlights the existence of similarities and differences across cultures which signify the natural diversities in our world. Previous studies on journalism ethics and routines, including editorial conventions in the United States, Europe and Africa show similarities (Hanitzsch, 2009, 413), while other studies have also shown that there are differences in the way journalists from various countries sees their roles when making news judgements in their professional callings (Hanusch, 2008a).


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The emergence of data‐driven journalism (DDJ) can be understood as journalism’s response to the datafication of society. In fact, the phenomena of ‘big data’ and an increasingly data‐driven society are doubly relevant for journalism: Firstly, it is a topic worth covering so that the related developments and their consequences can be understood in context and public debate about them can be encouraged. Secondly, the ‘quantitative turn’ (Coddington, 2015) has already begun to affect news production itself and has given rise to novel ways of identifying and telling stories (Lewis and Usher, 2014): As a consequence, we are witnessing the emergence of a new journalistic sub‐field often described as ‘computational journalism’ (Karlsen and Stavelin, 2014) or ‘data‐driven journalism’ (Borges‐Rey, 2016: 840), acronymously known as, ‘DDJ’. The extensive attention that practitioners pay to DDJ has also fuelled ‘an explosion in data journalism‐ oriented scholarship’ (Fink and Anderson, 2015: 476). This research is based on case studies, cursory observations, and/or samples that are limited in spatio‐temporal terms. We aim to complement this body of work with a longitudinal, international study of what may be considered the gold‐standard among practitioners: projects nominated for the Data Journalism Awards (DJA) from 2013 to 2015. Through a content analysis of these pieces we look at how this new reporting style and its key components (e.g. data sources and types, visualisation strategies, interactive features) develop over time. Three years may appear to be a rather short period for a longitudinal analysis, but given the ‘rapidly changing nature’ (Royal and Blasingame, 2015: 41) of data journalism, we expect it to be long enough to shed an initial light on developments in the field. The surprising ability of new media technologies to transform journalism practice cannot be overemphasized. Many scholars have demonstrated how the internet provides media personnel with unrivalled access to information for research purposes. Berger (1997) notes how internet technology has enabled journalists to “…tap into the collective brain, wit and wisdom of thousands of knowledgeable journalists and non-journalists” (Berger, 1997:124). Like the newspaper and broadcast industries themselves, there is not a lot of investment in journalists in Africa. In most cases, newspaper organisations are under-resourced and most journalists in Nigeria echoed their problem of economic stagnation by not being paid regularly. Yet they continue to engage with modern technology. For a long time, there has been a debate about the impact of the rise of internet technology on traditional news media, such as newspapers. However, the influence of internet and other digital technologies on news reporting is often formulated in terms of threats to the existing order in traditional journalism practice and the need to examine and modernise journalists’ routines in Africa.

Pavlik (2000) notes that the dominant focus in earlier studies of new media and journalism has been technologically themed based on the argument that new content is crucially determined by the available technology. There is no doubt that technological innovations driven by internet technology pose a challenge to journalism profession in Africa. However, the rise of internet technology offers a platform for transformation, asnew possibilities provided by the internet lend credibility to content. Hence, the importance of the internet as a news-gathering instrument is no longer questioned, since news accuracy is backed by new technology. This study addresses two key questions: Would the new technology improve the overall quality of news and the ensure credibility of the system? Earlier studies suggest that differences occur between journalists in terms of how, and to what extent, they use the internet in their daily work. While this has changed the daily practice of journalists but, are journalists positive about the changes brought about by the internet.The literature on journalists and the news media in Nigeria portrays a negative image (Abidde, 2008; Idowu, 2014). It suggests that the standard of the journalism profession in Nigeria has dropped considerably, and this, the study interrogates. The literature suggests that journalists in Nigeria face various challenges including poor or irregular wages, job insecurity, overbearing influence of media proprietors, poor working environment and threat to personal safety. Journalists seem not to 2 be holding on to their professional calling any longer (Golwa, 2011; Daramola, 2013). They tend to have abandoned the ideals of the Fourth Estate theory of standing for truth and serving as the conscience of society (Golwa, 2011; Jibo&Okoosi-Simbine, 2003; Ochogwu, 2011; Pate, 2011).

Journalists in Nigeria are also accused of taking financial or other inducements to write or suppress stories, bias, partisanship, promoting ethno-religious interests, and the fabrication of stories in their coverage, in particular, of political activities and social conflicts (Adeyemi, 2013; Daramola, 2006; Suraj, 2013; UNDP, 2010). For example, Idowu (2014), head of a non-government organization, Media Rights Agenda, which has been involved in the training of journalists and promotion of a free and responsible media in Nigeria for over 15 years, described the coverage of the abduction in 2014, of over 200 school girls in ChibokBorno State, Nigeria, by Boko Haram insurgents as a reflection of the state of the news media in the country.Ironically, the return of democracy in 1999, when more vibrancy was expected by the news media in Nigeria, marked an alleged slide into degeneracy, as journalists were accused of shying away from their responsibilities as watchdogs and the conscience of the society (Adeyemi, 2013; Jibo&Okoosi-Simbine, 2003). Several reasons were gleaned from the literature as the cause of the situation. A weak resource base, poor remuneration for media professionals, inadequate security cover in the course of duty, inadequate facilities, and poor and/or irregular pay resulting in high staff turnover, are identified as some of the factors undermining the performance of journalists in Nigeria (Golwa, 2011; Schiffrin&Behrmann, 2011 and Pate, 2011a).

Although similar challenges face journalists in other developing countries to varying degrees, the literature on the Nigerian situation suggests that news professionals seem to have also lost the will or drive to stand up to the challenges as they did during the struggle for the country’s independence and the return to democracy from military rule (Adesoji, 2006; Daramola, 2006). At both periods in the country’s history, journalists were undaunted by the challenges of their profession but stood firm in the face of threats, imprisonment, killings and proscriptions. They now appear to have given up on upholding their professional ethos and adopted the mantra, ‘if you cannot beat them, join them’ (Adesoji, 2006; Omoera, 2010).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

For decades, media scholars have been scrutinizing which views and voices are priviledged and which are neglected in media coverage. Decisions about who and what gets attention are intimately connected to sourcing practices: what sources journalists consider to be credible, how they prioritize them, and what they do with the information that they have sourced. While data journalism’s advocates promise a turn from opinion to evidence, anecdote to analysis, and punditry to statistical predictions, what matters is not only the nature of the source information (e.g. whether it is an interview or a database), but also where it is from, how it was produced, and what it is for. So far, my own research on data operations at major media outlets has confirmed the fact that data journalists tend to rely heavily on a small number of established sources: mainly government bodies (such as national statistical agencies or finance departments), international institutions (such as the EU, the OECD or the World Bank) and companies (such as audit or polling companies). It is on this premise that the researcher intend to investigate the instances of data driven journalism in daily trust 2016-2018.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to investigate the instances of data driven journalism in daily trust 2016-2018. But to aid the completion of the study; the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objective;

  1. To ascertain the effectiveness of data driven journalism in Daily trust news reportage
  2. To examine the impact of new media in promoting data driven journalism in Nigeria
  3. To examine the role of ICT in promoting data driven journalism in Nigeria
  4. To ascertain the relationship between data driven journalism and traditional journalism approach in news reporting

1.4 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to aid the completion of the study;

  1. H0: ICT does not play any significant role in promoting data driven journalism in Nigeria
    H1: ICT does play a significant role in promoting data driven journalism in Nigeria
  2. H0: there is no significant relationship between data driven journalism and traditional journalism approach in news reporting
    H2: there is a significant relationship between data driven journalism and traditional journalism approach in news reporting

1.5 Significance of the Study

At the completion of the study, it is believed that the findings will be of great benefit to the student of mass communication, as the study seek to explore the merit of data driven journalism on the authenticity of news reportage, the study will also be useful to practicing journalist as the study seek to enlighten them on the efficiency of data driven reporting/journalism. The study will also be of great importance to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further research, finally, the study will be of importance to student, potential journalist, lecturers, teachers and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers instances of data driven journalism in the daily trust from 2016-2018, but in the cause of the study, there were some factors that limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

Limited Access to the required finance by the researcher makes it cumbersome to broaden the scope of the study


1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Data driven journalism

Data-driven journalism, often shortened to “ddj”, is a term in use since 2009, to describe a journalistic process based on analyzing and filtering large data sets for the purpose of creating or elevating a news story.

Journalism

Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities

Daily trust

Media Trust is a privately held Nigerian newspaper publishing company based in Abuja that publishes the English-language Daily Trust, Weekly Trust, Sunday Trust and the Hausa-language Aminiya newspapers

ICT

Information and communication technology is another/extensional term for information technology that stresses the role of unified


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the instances of data driven journalism in the daily trust.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenge of data driven journalism in the daily trust.


5.2 Summary

It has become clear that the uptake of data driven journalism in Nigeria by Nigerians journalist and the traditional media is on a steady rise, though slightly below expectations. We believe that Daily trust is the face of data driven journalism in Nigeria and its reporting and investigative styles of journalism have altered the media landscape. Its impact has been mostly felt in the fight against corruption as seen in the Ibori-gate corruption coverage and similar reports. Citizen journalism is giving traditional media in Nigeria a black eye and challenging it to be more transparent and investigative. Dan Gillmor agrees Journalism has been shrouded in some kind of secrecy and the time to open up is now. “We have been a black box and have become only slightly transparent in recent years. The public is demanding more transparency in our own field and is doing some reporting of its own when we fail to respond in satisfying ways


5.3 Conclusion

Haven completed the study, the researcher concludes that new media provide them with opportunities to contact their source in real time as was never been possible before. They admit that a combination of SMS, Whatsapp and e-mail platforms make it possible for appointments and clarification of issues with sources a reality, unlike a decade ago when these technologies were not in reach. In all, journalists admitted a significant shift from the old traditional system of using paper to write stories in the newsroom while typists are waiting on one side to type news stories written by reporters. In contrast, today’s interactive era is one where Smartphones, personal computers, and tablets have dominated journalism operations and in turn this has improved the quality of newsgathering and in extension the news content in Nigeria.


5.4 Recommendations

Haven completed the study, the researcher proffer the following recommendations;

A critical review of the existing regulatory framework guiding professional journalism practice in Nigeria should be undertaken by the regulatory bodies such as the Nigerian Press Organisation, (NPO), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) to make them more effective.

Stakeholders in the news media industry should explore the possibility of mergers or acquisitions of news media, as has been the case in other parts of the globe such as the United States, to pool resources and boost their financial base.

Exploration of avenues to provide steady funding for news media establishments, especially those government owned, as is the case in some Western countries


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