Investigative Journalism As A Means Of Conflict Resolution In Cross River Newspaper Corporation (CHRONICLE)

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

Investigative Journalism As A Means Of Conflict Resolution In Cross River Newspaper Corporation (CHRONICLE)


Abstract


This research on Investigative journalism: A means of conflict resolution is conducted to determine the role of investigative journalism in conflict resolution. The purpose of the study is to establish the role of investigative journalism in conflict resolution. The research design used in this study is the survey research design. Samples were made from the population through the random sampling techniques.

This technique was used in selecting Cross River Newspaper corporation (CHRONICLE) Calabar among all media houses in Nigeria. Both primary and secondary data were used in the study. Findings made from the data analysis carried out reveals that, there is a major difference between investigative reporting and hard news reportage, investigative journalism is a means of conflict resolution. Therefore, Journalist in every media organization should ensure the adoption of indept inquiry before reporting any information to the public.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

One of the major duties of a journalist is to be a civic watchdog and achieving this often demands investigation and in-depth work. Thus, in a way, all stories are investigative stories because they require research, digging, interviewing and writing. All reporters are investigators who are trained to ask questions, uncover information and write the most complete stories possible. Nevertheless, some reporters concentrate solely on investigations of wrongdoings. They deal with reporter adversary relationships that are usually not found in beat reporting or other in-depth coverage. Their aim is to ferret out well-guarded information from often hostile sources. This gives them chance to be creative, to become part of their reader’s emotional lives and sometimes to uncover an injustice and correct it.

According to Burns,(2002),the major difference between investigative journalism and hard news reportage is that investigative journalism is presented in an in-depth form rather than a feature or hard news form. The characteristic demands that investigative reportage involves more research and thus more time to write. This becomes very important because of the sensitive role investigative journalism plays in conflict resolution, unlike hard news, which is presented in a pyramid form whereby the most important items are presented in the first few sentences which may sometimes result escalation of conflict situation instead of resolving it (Harcup, 2008).

This research work is therefore focused on investigative journalism as a means of conflict resolution in Cross River Newspaper corporation (CHRONICLE) Calabar. This of course is a very sensitive matter, which will demand extensive verification of evidence of all the facts, eyewitness accounts and interviews presented for or against a group of people to ensure accuracy.

Levin, (2000), asserted that Investigative journalism on the other hand seeks to find information about a news event that may not be apparent to the public but may lead to revelations that the organization or people involved may not wish to be put in the public domain. As such, it gives a further insight into news and it is often linked to campaigns by the media organizations for better protection of the rights of people from individuals, organizations or authorities. It may involve probing investigation by the newspaper through which evidence of neglect may be found and published in support of the victims of such conflict situation.

In his opinion, Ajibade, (2003) asserted that, though presented in an in-depth form, investigative journalism is unlike many other forms of feature and even in-depth reportage found in print and presented through the broadcast media. The major differences being the themes and aims behind the write-ups.

The aim behind these forms of reportage is the writer’s search for information in relation to the selected themes in order to further educate and bring to bear the consequences behind these themes to the everyday lives of a selected audience.


1.2 Statement of Problem

There are claims that investigative journalism has been in the decline since its haydays in the 1970s , and many investigations are now more concerned with entertainment than information (Harcup,2009). However, investigative journalism as practised in Nigeria is ineffective as it is constrained by several problems despite its bright prospects. More often than not, journalists publish half truth, distorted stories and outright falsehood without indepth investigation, thereby making rumours ,unsubstantiated claims and emotions the bedrock of information gathering.

Investigative reporting reveals scandals, shames and corrupt individuals. It uncovers secrets somebody wants to keep hidden. The journalists are also given the image of brave and individualistic reporters, alerted by tip-offs, bringing down a powerful and corrupt figure. Such images also tend to suggest investigative reporters should focus only on the very biggest stories such as presidents taking multimillion bribes from oil companies, or rigging elections. These are misconceptions, which must be corrected. This study intends to address the fact that Investigative journalism is not just about investigating secrets that are locked up through laws and concealment. It involves the role of journalists in uncovering social, economic or cultural developments too recent to have been identified by experts, hidden by received wisdom and masked by media sensationalism as this is a means of resolving most prolonged conflicts.


1.3 objectives of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine investigative journalism as a means of conflict resolution. The specific objectives of the study include;

  1. To determine the role of investigative journalism in conflict resolution
  2. To examine the difference between investigative journalism and hard news reportage in conflict resolution
  3. To examine misconception of investigative journalism in conflict resolution.

1.4 Research Questions

In order to achieve the objectives of this study the following research question will be considered to guide the study:

  1. To what extent does investigative journalism impact in conflict resolution?
  2. How does investigative journalism differ from hard news reportage in conflict resolution?
  3. What are the misconceptions about investigative journalism in conflict resolution?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will be of value to the print and electronic media organizations both public and private. It will help them to determine the media-audience relationship. This measurement can be achieved by understanding the the role of investigative journalism in conflict resolution. .In Cross River Newspaper Corporation, Calabar. The study will also arouse both states and Federal government interest to see the need in providing adequate resources to media organizations and also speed up the process of information dissemination concerning government policies and programmes. The study will also provide a platform for management of media organizations to direct resources appropriately in order to encourage thoroughness in investigative journalism. The study can also be useful to researchers for further studies.


1.6 Limitation of the Study

The limitation of the study is due to insufficient financial resources, time and materials that have hindered the researcher from much access towards sourcing for vital and relevant information that would have made this study more elaborate.


1.7 Definition of Terms

For the purpose of clarity, the following terms which are used in the course of this research are hereby defined;

1.7.1 Journalism:

Is the art and science of gathering, selecting and processing information or ideas, intelligence for dissemination to the public.

1.7.2 Investigative Journalism:

Is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing

1.7.3 Conflict Resolution:

Is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution.

1.7.4 Conflict:

Is an inherent incompatibility between the objectives of two or more characters or forces.


1.8 Research Design and Methodology

This research is library-based and explores extensively resources such as textbooks, journals, critical reviews and the internet. The researcher will also source for vital information from media houses as well as members of the general public.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

The aim of this research project was to examine investigative journalism as a means of conflict resolution. To achieve this aim and objective, the researcher gave a clear background to the study, stated and highlighted other components such as the statement of problem, objectives of the study, the scope of the study, significance of the study, research design ,limitations of the study as well as definition of some basic terms that were used during the research for the purpose of clarity.

Furthermore, different types of literature that are related to the subjected matter were reviewed and this actually helped in giving the researcher a sense of direction in the course of carrying out this research. Analysis made from the sample data tested resulted to some findings which revealed that, investigative journalism is an effective tool for conflict resolution, investigative journalism is quiet different from hard news reportage and also that there are a lot of misconceptions about investigative journalism because of the sensitive role it plays in exposing secret to the public.


5.2 Conclusion

Sequel to the findings of this research it can be concluded that, the growing recognition of the crucial contribution of investigative journalism in helping provoke conflict has led many to examine how the media can play a constructive role in transforming conflict. This created considerable controversy, should journalism stay detached, even from horrific events unfolding around them, or should it take up the stance suggested by Martin Bell and become attached to a cause even that of peace.

The obvious problem with such an approach is that it might involve taking sides in a conflict after all, conflicts require a solution that addresses the underlying problems and this means assessing the weight of the different claims in a conflict and seeking to resolve them. Peace is something more than the absence of war. The dangers of journalists taking sides in a conflict are obvious, professional independence is impossible to maintain, access to the other sides. Combatants will disappear and journalists will become even more of a target than they already are.

One limitation of the discussion about investigative journalism is that it speaks to only part of the reality of the modern media, where the media is an actor in its own right. Part of the problem with the debate about “peace journalism” is confusion about the different roles the media fulfils. The media is a place in which journalists convey ideas, information and stories to the listener, viewer or reader in this way they represent a version of reality. It is sometimes said that the journalist acts as a vehicle, which conveys the different views, outlooks and perspectives experienced in a society.


5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings from the research, the researchers hereby make the following recommendations:

  1. Journalist in every media organization should ensure the adoption of indept inquiry before reporting any information to the public.
  2. Media organizations, both public and private should organize regular seminars and workshop to update their reporters on the latest trend to reportorial techniques.
  3. Media organisations should ensure that reporters are trained to specialize on a investigative reporting.
  4. Media organisations, both public and private should ensure strategies that will help them overcome the misconceptions about investigative journalism.
  5. Those in the academic institution should ensure that students in the journalism discipline are exposed to investigative journalism to enable carry out indept inquiry of information.

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