Newspaper And Television As An Agent Of Social Development (A Case Study Of Adaba Community)

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Newspaper And Television As An Agent Of Social Development (A Case Study Of Adaba Community)


This work is designed to study how dwellers use Newspaper and Television messages to effect social change.

It is pertinent to note that Newspapers, though rarely find their way into Adaba Community, only those who work in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Headquarter and those who are opportune to visit Urban areas, such as Enugu, Onitsha, Nsukka town, but a few, some times come home with few copies of these Newspapers on an irregular basis. Moreover, even the readership of these Newspapers is strongly affected by the high illiterate rate of the in of this Community.

Television sets, on the other hand, are owned only by wealthy individuals that can afford both television sets and the Electric generating plants which are required to operate the sets, or the chargeable motor batteries which are sometimes needed in place of generating plants. Therefore, to this community, television ownership is not confined to the literate class as many illiterate but well-to-do villagers own television as luxury goods capable of providing relaxation from the stresses of daily life. In this mass media organization and management lecture, Okenwa maintains that:

Most Yoruba people purchase television sets not just for luxury of it, but for the sake of Babasala’s drama which provides an excellent comic relief to the Yoruba man after his activities during this study shows the pattern of interaction between Newspaper and Television massages as agent of social development of Adaba Community.

Previous researchers in this field confirmed themselves to the study of the relationship between Urban and Rural areas in terms of media exposure. But this study distinguishes itself by studying a completely rural community such as Adaba Community.

Writers in this field, such as Everett Roger emphasize: that interpersonal communication channels are inadequate for reaching the huge peasant audiences of the less developed countries even when these channels are provided at the village level by government change agents.

Chapter One


In the few decades scientific and technological progress has imparted a truly mass character to information. Suffice it to say that in 1950 only five counties broadcast television programmes in the world, today 120 do so. Over the same period, the number of television sets reaching 700 million, wile the number of television viewers rose to 2,500 millions.3

Also the 1960s are marked by a rapid emergence of the latest sophisticated mass medium video technology. It has been estimated that there are 30 – 40 million video tape recorders and hundreds of millions of recorded video cassettes in homes all over the world, and these numbers are rapidly growing.4

In short, the rapid scientific and technological progress in communication has created new situation, that for the first time in history the vast majority of the countries of the world have become the object of information and propaganda.5 One night even say that today information has penetrated all spheres of social and even private life with the need to be informed having become one of man’s basic needs.

It is in recognition of the importance of mass information for mankind’s progress that the United Nations proclaimed the year 1983 the “international year of communication”. The main purpose of this move was to draw the attention of the international community to the needs of the developing countries which suffer from an acute shortage of information for accelerating their social progress6.

As this study revalues around “development|” One can view the concept of development to mean different things to different people.

To the first world, development suggests a process of improving structures, or creating new structures. It is in line with this thinking that the United State government started the development of nations abroad.

To them (U.S), it means Using Organizations to develop other nations. In developing countries such as Nigeria, the United State for information Agency (USIA), is used in development communication.

The second world (maxist) see development as a means of ideological or geopolitical expectation for the third world countries, whose characteristics include, relatively low per capital income a high rate of illiteracy, agriculturally based economy, short life expectancy, low degree of social mobility, a strong attachment to traditions, and a history of colonization.

Some writers see development as most important in the sphere of international communication. They pass this judgment because almost all activities of the third world governments are attached to development in a manner. They also see the mass media as an instrument for development, no matter who owns the media (private of government).

It is pertinent to note that development depends on the political framework of a generation. The degree of freedom enjoyed by the mass media is related to the political structure of a generation8. Because these writers see the mass media as an instrument of development, they try to use the mass media to achieve the national developmental goal.

International bodies like UNESCO, look at development as helping the third world nation to develop.

An organization like UNESCO seems to be supporting the third world demand for the New World information and communication order (NWICO), parthy as its perception of the conception of communication. In other worlds, UNESCO seems to accept the view that communication as well as other things forms part of development in the third world.

Despite this absence of a consensual definition of development, few contemporary writers fail to recognize that development is not synonymous with economic growth. “Starting an under is no longer considered the only way to effect the development of underdeveloped countries. The frequent occurrence of growth without development in the past and present of the now undeveloped countries is a fact while has led critical writers to urge that development be not confused, as it often is, with economic growth10. Poverty, inequality, unemployment, redistribution of income, along with other factors, now enjoy pride of place alongside economic growth. Thus such definitions as a process of structural change, change in the technical, economic, political and social arrangements by which resources distributed in a society, towards the end of providing the mass of the secure, healthy and satisfying life,11 would appear to be much more acceptable because taken by some writers and researchers in the development field towards extricating development studies from the clutches of conventionalism, and apparent short-sightedness.

Whichever way development is defined, there existing remarkable agreement on the view that certain countries of the world desperately need to acquire all or at least most of the attributes of development in virtually every aspect of the lives of their peoples.

On this note, when one utilizes the Newspaper and television to effect social changes or creating high responses to economic development, one socio-economic group must be identified and treated. This group are the rural dwellers, predominantly illiterates.

It is in consideration of his socio-economic group that his study intends, though a systematic and quantitative method to show how rural dwellers responds to Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu State has been chosen as a rural town, based on Renald Frankenberg’s criteria for classifying communities. According to him; community implies having something in common. In the early use of the world, it meant having goods in common. Those who live in a community have overriding economic interests which are the same or complementary. They work together and also play and pray together. Their common interest in things gives them a common interest in each other.

They quarrel with each other but are never indifferent to each other. They form a group of people who meet frequently face-to-face, although this may mean they are up back-to-back. That people in such an area of social life turn their backs on each other is not a matter of chance. In a community even conflict may be a form of co-operative12.

On this note, Adaba with an estimated 4,585 registered voters in 1979, is a typical rural community. It comprises 12 villagers out of which 4 villages are considered. They are Umuezeakwu, Aniocha, Amaetiti, and Amokwe. Adaba is 21/2 kilometers from the Local Government Headquarters – Umulokpa. The inhabitants of Adaba are mainly farmers and petty traders. The “ADABA” and “DUU” River and other seasonal streams provide them with fertile banks for farming.

Although the inhabitants have exceeded the UNESCO mark of a radio set per 100 persons, the traditional mode of communication is still in force in the community. In other words, the community still relies on the town and village criers fro information.

Furthermore, Newspapers, though very chap, rarely and their way into this county. Only those who work in the Local Government Headquarters sometimes come home with few copies of these newspaper on an irregular basis. Television sets on the overhand are owned only by rich families that can afford both television sets and the electric generating plant which are required to operate the sets. This study considers Adaba as a replica of a rural setting for substantiating the assumption about media messages.

Importance of the Study

The study tries to find out whether the assumptions (hypotheses) could be supported through the available data, and possibly give recommendations to government so as to raise the rural area to an urban status.

In other words, various governments have been neglecting rural communities in the country. As a result, rural dwellers find life very difficult to contain. The effect of this is that, there is “urban pull” and “rural puss” – inhabitants of the rural area migrate to the urban towns, thereby increasing the urban population. With regard to this trend, there are lots of social evil such as multiple maladjustment in the rural areas.

Also to be examined in this study is the role played by these media (Newspaper and television) in raising the rural community awareness of development projects.

The importance of this present study will be to show the pattern of inter-connection between Newspaper and television message as agent of social development of Adaba community.

For instance, agriculture is mostly practiced in the rural areas of Nigeria. These rural areas lack electricity and are therefore seemingly denied the use of some media like cinema and television.

With regard to this, farmers apparently find it difficult to be exposed to new farming techniques and newly advertised farm products in the newspapers and televisions.

Distinguishing Features

This study is expected to examine in detail the socio-economic ways of life of the Adaba Community. It is also expected to find out how the level of education, standard of living, culture of the community, interpersonal relationship, leisure fine and other factors contribute to newspaper and television exposure.

Previous researchers in this field confined themselves to the study of media effect on both urban and rural areas together, but this study will distinguish itself by standing a completely traditional community such as Adaba Community.

This study clearly distinguishes itself from UNESCO mass media availability studies carried out in the less development nation (Columbia) in 1973. in other words, UNESCO estimates that more of the less developed nations have come up to the minimum standard of mass media availability of 10 copies of daily newspapers, 5 radio receivers, 2 movie seats and 2 television receivers per 100 inhabitants.

It is also pertinent to note that other researchers in this field had been studying the effect of newspaper and radio on rural dwellers, but this study in tends to find out the impact of television and newspapers in a rural setting such as Adaba.

Chapter Six

Summary and Recommendations for Further Study


Important differences in the nature and function of the mass institutions in rural communities are apparent when these are compares with their urban counterparts. In other words, exposure to the mass media can undoubtedly be an important variable in bringing about large-scaled directed social change and modernization in rural communities. The mass media could carry message in favour of change to millions of villagers each day. Though the actual proportion of the Adaba community reached by such content is relatively small, the effectiveness of media messages is still obvious.

Pools, in this book, the mass media and politics in modernization process, agrees that, only in rural environment have national planners viewed mass media messages as a central factor in propelling their community forward. This study reveals that the people of Adaba community utilize the mass media often in comebination with interpersonal communication among small discussion groups of workers and peasants to enlist mass audience in various governmental campaigns. Therefore, this study shows the pattern of inter-connection between newspaper and television message as agents of social development of Adaba community.

However, the first and second hypothesis in this study received support thus, audience for television are larger than newspaper audience in the rural environment” and “television is a more effective medium for social change than newspaper in rural environment”.

Illiteracy, is a stronger factor that militates against newspaper readership in Adaba community. Therefore, until the inhabitants of the community become literate, they cannot have print mass media exposure extension through an oral reader. Even though television is a medium that has the potential for reaching the illiterate there is accidence from a study by reatshman’s that literates are much more likely than illiterates to receive television and radio message about twice at did liberate. In the present study, functional literacy is most highly reacted to newspaper readership therefore, the researcher’s finding show that literacy if more related to newspaper, expose that to non-print media exposure. However, certain literate audience in rural communities have mass media exposure levels that are just as high as those for similar literates in urban areas.

Recommendation for Further Study

  1. As mass media institutional are usually located in the larger cities, and their content features national and international news that does elicit much interest from a rural audience, characterized by a limited view of the world, it is recommended that other researchers should endeavour to study the reasons behind the Government continued concentration of media-institutions by Government and private individuals only in large cities.
  2. Studies should be conducted in order to discover why mass media message in rural areas, such as Adaba Community, should be of low interest and relevancy to its people.
  3. Further studies should look into why certain literate mass media audiences in rural communities have mass media exposure for similar literates in urban communities.
  4. This present study examine television and newspaper message as agents of social development, but it will be of interest if other messages examine in details, the influencing powers of radio and newspaper messages to the Adaba community.
  5. The present study concentrated on Adaba community hence it findings cannot be generalized to all communities. Therefore, it is recommended that other researchers carry out similar studies in other communities, especially when such communities do not have the same characteristics as Adaba.

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