Newspaper Readership Patterns In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Newspaper Readership Patterns In Nigeria


Abstract


Newspaper is a viable tool for the dissemination of information, enlightenment and shaping of public opinion and so its readership important and educative to students. The study is centered on the readership of undergraduate students in IMT, Enugu, of newspapers. This study adopted descriptive quantitative survey approach. The sample size for this study is 250 respondents. The primary data in this study was obtained through face to face method of questionnaire administration. The second part of the study seeks to evaluate the respondents’ newspaper reading pattern. The first part seeks the subject of interest which the students sought from newspapers as well as the challenges militating against newspaper readership among the students and these problems include lack of money, prevalent of online newspaper and poor supply of newspaper in the study area. However, the current status of paper readership in the institution and in particular among resident of Osogbo metropolis is worrisome and which need serious attention by all stakeholders in the department and the University as a whole. The findings shall ultimately provide workable knowledge to both students and newspaper house for understanding the driving forces to readers’ accessibility and acceptability of online news content and other contents publish on the internet.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Reading is the heart of learning, especially in formal education settings like University system. Reading increases one’s knowledge and thinking about a particular subject, and the society as a whole (Faizli, 2012). Onwubiko (2015) asserts that, reading has four intentions: reading for enjoyment and relaxation, reading for information, reading for knowledge and reading for all the above factors. He further asserts that there are various materials at the disposal of a reader; one of the major reading materials for reading is newspaper.

Newspaper is a mass medium which conveys timely information issue at regular interval of time. As a mass medium, newspapers are useful for education, information, recreation, relaxation and entertainment. This explains why Ola and Ojo (2007) remark that newspapers are important because they carry current information and they keep the readers informed of events and happenings within and outside their immediate environments. Okunna (1999) reinforces this position by asserting that the newspaper is important in that it serves as a carrier of current information or news. Obaid (2014) concurs that newspapers are the textbooks that provide up to date information on local, state, national and world affairs, the most current analysis and criticism of the executive and legislative decision making, the latest in music, theatre, television, fine arts and even column and comics to make readers laugh. Babalola (2002) asserts that newspapers facilitate literacy empowerment; it inevitably promotes critical thinking, retention of information, problem solving and the querying of information source. Furthermore, newspaper readership enables one to become a person who possesses civic-conscious values, tolerance and closeness to the community (Igwe, 2011).

The importance of newspaper, especially to students cannot be overemphasis. Indeed, students are supposed to be the most active users of newspapers. The permanency attributed to print media, including newspaper has made information recall possible, and recall capability frees the content from becoming transient and ephemeral therefore, audience of the medium like students can use the content for academic and other purposes (Ezeh, Chukwuma & Enwereuzo, 2015). According to Onwubiko (2005), newspaper is one of the most advantageous types of media especially for students. They described newspapers as “outside of the classroom teachers”. This, according to them is due to the fact that newspapers are more formal and use standard forms of languages which will help students develop their language skills. They further argued that, Newspapers can provide useful information, including university admissions, jobs, and special inducements for the government that are very useful for students. Among all mass communication channels, Elmadwi (2014) observed that reading of newspaper articles is highly encouraged for students because through newspaper, students can enjoy a variety of reading and visual materials that will enhance learning.

Despite the significant place of newspaper readership in the life of students, evidence from a large body of empirical literature seems to suggest that newspaper reading among youths is declining. For instance, Dominick (2002, p. 14) notes that newspaper readership has been declining over the last couple of years. Udie (2002, p. 100) also reports that the frequency of newspaper readership among Nigerian students is less than 50%. Biagi (2003, p. 83) states that since the 1970s, the overall number of newspapers has declined due to non-readership. Business Essay (2009, p. 2) has equally reported downward trend, in the past few decades, in newspaper readership in countries of the world including Europe and America. A survey conducted by Afro barometer in 12 African countries, including Nigeria, in 2003 indicates that only 13 per cent of the sampled population professes to read a daily newspaper (Afrobarometer, 2003). According to the 2010 study carried out by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) across the country, the daily sales figure of all the newspapers was less than 300,000, meaning that only one in every 470 Nigerians buy newspapers daily (Ekeng, 2010). Putting this reality in proper perspective, Popoola (2010) said that all the newspapers in Nigeria today have combined circulation figure that is far less than 500,000 copies per day when compared to 1980 when the population of Nigeria was about half of what it is today.

There is no doubt that the conventional newspaper is passing through its hardest time ever, due to the emergence of the internet. The internet provides online functionalities and possibilities far beyond what the conventional newspaper could offer. For instance, the internet provides instant and less expensive access to news and information with interactive and multimedia features as well as easy access through very simple handheld technologies like mobile phones and personal computers (Afrobarometer, 2007). Varian (2013) argued that the internet is a more superior way to distribute and read news and information. Rajendran and Thesinghraja (2014) aptly concur that, new media and the social media has posed a challenge to the printed newspaper. According to them, Readership habits seem to be changing as users turn to the internet for free news and information. The instant feature of the social media and the online news were one of the smart options for the consumers to accept it globally. This situation above, inadvertently threatens the conventional channels of mass communication, including newspaper in their traditional stronghold of the news business; thereby forcing them to tap into the internet’s huge resources.

Today, newspapers joined other mass media to also deliver their contents digitally. But as readers rush to online content, it is possible that conventional print newspapers may suffer a decline in readership (Aliagan, 2011). There is growing evidence that shows high usage of online platforms as sources of news and information among college or university students around the world (Ani, 2010; Adekunmisi, Ajala, & Iyoro, 2013, Shadrach & Abugu, 2019 etc.), thus, it is expedient to further test if such development has affected conventional newspaper readership among students. It is also clear that newspaper readership habit among audience determine the survival or otherwise of the conventional newspaper industry in Nigerian and many other countries. It is against this backdrop that this study sought to unravel newspaper readership among University students.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Newspapers have started to search for online delivery channels so as to retain the young readers. As a result, they have transferred a considerable amount of their channels from print format to online formats. Most newspapers have started to implement a 360 degree strategy that integrate contents decision shaped by the potential to generate consumer value and returns through multiple platform of expression of that contents and via a number of distributive outlet, (Doyle, 2010). The intent is to capture a good number of readers, who have jettison the print media for a long time. Newspaper in a way to return back to favourable patronage introduced online version to interest students who are technological oriented; in getting information. According to Zickuhr (2011) youngsters are interested to own a laptop and access internet via mobile phones as they believe that these devices would differentiate them from other age group.The issue there is whether these usages of these devices promote consumption of online newspaper or not and to justify why undergraduate students read newspaper. Also, to find out the frequency Newspaper Readership Patterns In Nigeria.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The major objective of this study is to examine the Newspaper Readership Pattern Among Nigerians. (a case study of Osogbo metropolis). In addition, the study shall be guided by the following objectives.

  1. To ascertain the newspapers that resident of Osogbo metropolis mostly read.
  2. To determine how regular resident of Osogbo metropolis read the newspapers.
  3. To determine the ways through which resident of Osogbo metropolis obtain the newspapers they read.
  4. To find out the type of stories resident of Osogbo metropolis mostly read on the newspaper
  5. They examine the factors militating against reading of newspaper among resident of Osogbo metropolis.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Do IMT Enugu students’ read newspapers?
  2. What is the frequency at which IMT students read newspaper?
  3. Why do IMT students read newspapers?
  4. What are the factors that discourage IMT students from reading newspaper?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The research is centered on the readership of undergraduate students in IMT, Enugu, of newspapers. The on the concept of the study, the findings shall ultimately provide answers to the issues raise in the objectives of the study as such provide workable knowledge to both students and newspaper house for understanding the driving forces to readers’ accessibility and acceptability of online news content and other contents publish on the internet. The recommendations will be a guide as well.


1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study is on the undergraduate students of IMT Enugu. It shall focus on two departments in the faculty of Social Sciences; which are: Departments of business Administration and Mass communication. The period of this study is for one year, which is from January to December 2017.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Internet:

The word internet means the connectivity of different computers with a wireless link sharing information from distance. It is the recent technological advancement that have improve newspaper industry.

Newspaper:

This is a periodic news publication that appears in tabloid or Broadsheet format for citizen to be abreast with the happenings in the society. According to Nwosu (2003), newspaper is a package of timely records of event and person for public consumption.

Online Newspaper:

This is the version of newspaper publication that appears on the internet. According to Wikipedia (2011), online newspaper is a web newspaper that exists on the World Wide

Print Media:

These are mediums used by news outlets in disseminating their news materials which involves the use of hard copy printed materials as opposed to the soft online medium which millennials favour over the former.

Internet:

The Internet is a network of interactivities of computers and the notion of telex- pretence that is radically redefining the means of modern communication. With the advent of Internet, group of networks are electronically connected and able to communicate with one another. Adedina et al, (2007:519) in their work quoted Aina (2002: 10) to have defined the Internet as: “a computer network made up of large number of computer networks which communicate and share data with one another”. Also, Hanson (cited in Adedina et al 2007: 519) defined it as: “a diverse set of independence networks, interlinked to provide its users with the appearance of a single, uniform network”.

Information and Communication Technology:

Information and communication technology or technologies (ICT) is an umbrella term that includes all technologies for the manipulation and communication of information. The term is sometimes in preference to information technology (ICT), particularly in two communities: education and government. ICT in fact encompasses any medium to record information (magnetic disk/tape, optical disks CD/DVD, flash memory etc and arguably also paper records); technology for broadcasting information radio, television; and technology for communicating through voice and sound or images – microphone, camera, loudspeaker, telephone to cellular phones. It includes the wide variety of computing hardware (pcs, servers, mainframes, networked storage), the rapidly developing personal devices, MP3 players, and much more. It also include the full gamut of application software services; and the hardware software needed to operate networks for transmission of information, raging from a home network to the largest global private networks operated by major commercial enterprises and of course, the Internet. This “ICT” makes more explicit that technologies such as broadcasting and wireless mobile telecommunications are included.

World Wide Web:

World Wide Web is a way of accessing information files on the Internet and the heart of it lies in the protocols that define its use. It has been explained that “it uses hypertext transfer protocols (HTTP) to transport files from one place to another” Baran (2009:306). The World Wide Web (commonly shortened to the Web) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. With a web browser, one can view web pages that may contain text, images, videos, and other multimedia and navigate between them using hyperlinks.

Web Design:

Web Page Design is a process of conceptualization, planning, modelling and execution of electronic media content delivery via Internet in the form of technologies (such as mark-up languages) suitable for interpretation and display by a web browser or other web-based graphical user interfaces (GUIS). The intent of web design is to create a web site a collection of electronic files residing on one or more web servers that presents content including interactive features or interfaces to the end users in the form of web pages once requested.

On-line Newspaper:

This has been considered a revolution in mass media due to their characteristics of hypertext, interactivity, and multimedia which necessitated a new model of journalism and reading behaviour. On-line newspaper is the on-line version or otherwise called electronic version of the printed newspaper version (McAdams, 1995: 64-90).

On-line Readers:

On-line readers are the newspaper readers that read the electronic version of the printed copy on-line via the Internet. However, on-line readers must havethe knowledge of information communication technology (ICT) and be connected to the Internet before they can read newspaper on-line.

Computer:

A computer is a device that accepts information (in the form of digitalized data) and manipulates it for some result based on a programme or sequence of instructions on how the data is to be processed. Complex computers also include the means for storing data (including the programme, which is also a form of data) for some necessary duration. A programme may be invariable and built into the computer (and called logic circuitry as it is on microprocessors) or difference programmes may be provided to the computer (loaded into its storage and then started by an administrator or user).


Chapter Five


Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

The study investigated newspaper readership among resident of Osogbo metropolis. The study basically sought to find the type of newspaper the students preferred, the extent the students are read their most preferred newspapers and the manner in which they access the papers. Furthermore, the study looked at the subject of interest which the students sought from newspapers as well as the challenges militating against newspaper readership among the students. It was discovered that there is low newspaper readership among the students. The student preferred general interest newspapers particular Daily Trust and the Sun Newspapers, however, the extent the students read the newspaper is occasionally or once in a while. Furthermore, the work found that the manner in which the few students access papers include through borrowing and vendor stand-free-reading. A very minute portion of the respondents purchase newspaper with their money.

In addition, the study revealed that politics and sport are the major subjects of interest which the students often seek from newspaper readership. The study further identified problems militating against newspaper readership among the students and these problems include lack of money, prevalent of online newspaper and poor supply of newspaper in the the study area.

The findings of this study as seen above support the assertion of the Uses and Gratification Theory, which served as the theoretical framework of this study. According to the theory, audience of Mass media are very active they deliberately select and exposed themselves only to media channels that would provide certain gratification or reward such as information reward, leisure or entertainment among others. Apt to this study is the fact that hardcopy newspaper is not receiving significant attention due to the fact that the medium has not lack capacity to provide needed gratifications to the students in the manner that they would be motivated to access and read the papers despite all challenges.

Newspaper is a viable tool for the dissemination of information, enlightenment and shaping of public opinion and so its readership important and educative to students. This study established that there is low newspaper readership among resident of Osogbo metropolis. Most of the students read newspaper occasionally which might be related to issues of assignment common to resident of Osogbo metropolis. This attitude to newspaper readership might deny the student’s privilege to useful information contain in various newspapers as well as the opportunity of learning to see that newspaper on their own enhance students’ reading and comprehension skills.

As resident of Osogbo metropolis, the need to read the newspaper is high, this is because the act would significantly help student improve their writing skills as well as get informed with news and current happenings in the society. However, the current status of newspaper readership in the institution and in particular among resident of Osogbo metropolis is worrisome and which need serious attention by all stakeholders in the department and the University as a whole.

The following recommendations were made based on the findings of the study.

  1. The Management of the school should provide daily newspapers in the University libraries to enable willing students and other readers gain access.
  2. Similarly, the resident of Osogbo metropolis to create newspaper hub or stand within the department in which students can have access to the papers.
  3. The department can also establish a resource centre in which several contents, including newspapers can be kept for references and research purposes.
  4. Leading newspapers like Daily Trust and the Sun which are the most preferred among the students should establish a newspaper stand in the university in which the students can have access to the papers on daily business at subsidized rate.
  5. The students of the department should be encouraged to form newspaper reading club in which members would be contributing less among weekly to provide newspapers for the club members at others who care for newspapers.
  6. The students should also sensitize on the importance of reading read hardcopy newspapers despite the prevalent of online newspapers

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