The Print Media, Cartoons And Social Commentary In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

The Print Media, Cartoons And Social Commentary In Nigeria


Abstract


This study examines the effects and significance of crime illustration in enhancing the role of print media cartoons as watchdog in Nigeria and the quest for development. This study is aimed at determining the extent and frequency of newspaper readership and newspaper cartoon readership among caritas university lecturers and students. The study consists of 206 academic staff and 3052 students. A total of 360 copies of questionnaire were administered to selected respondents of the study population. The researcher attempted to analyze the readership pattern and trend of the average CARITAS student and lecturer making use of survey method. It found out that all students read newspapers but not all of them read newspaper cartoons. However, more males read Newspaper cartoons than their female counterparts. It was also found that reading cartoons was not one of the motivations or reasons for buying newspapers among most students and lecturers. Demographic attributes like age and sex had little influence on newspaper cartoon readers among students but no effect at all on cartoon readers.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Cartoons are non verbal graphic communication channels that express the opinions, views and findings of a media organization.

They are used to advance an opinion in funny ways and are often based on current, burning and topical issues. They are used basically to educate, inform and entertain the audience by the print media (Emi, 2008).

Also, the need for investigative journalism has placed emphasis on the watchdog role of newspaper due to the fact that there are two sides of human namely: the godly and the animalistic side of human to behave in good manners but the animalistic side of the human is the evil side which can be seen in different wrong doings or atrocities of man.

It also shows the human urge to dominate, satisfy base instincts of huger, wealth acquisition and their evil or erotic desires.

Human beings are expected to be rational but their rationality cannot always guarantee good conduct because most times, the animalistic tendencies in them prevail.

Hence the needs for mass media to expose evil and t bring perpetrators to justice so that the human societies do not become the animal kingdom and full of evil.

There is also the need to check the excesses of the powerful or privileged people against the less privileged ones to hold rulers accountable to their people to bring about social reforms to expose crime and other wrong doings and to act as voice for the voiceless etc. (Aina 2001).

Also, the belief in the saying that Nigeria is one of the most corrupt nation of the world is not an exaggeration. International organizations have consistently testified to this undeniable fact to confirm the claims of these organizations, the country has witnessed different types of corrupt practices. This must have baffled the past regime led by chief Olusegun Obasajo so much that he thought it is necessary to establish organizations that could fight corrupt practices among citizens two of these organization are independent corrupt practice commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial crimes commission (EECC). After operating for few years, many have come to describe these as an organization of toothless bulldog.

The only organizations that Nigerians can fall back on or depends on, is the press which has been battling corruption with its in-depth news reporting opinion, comments, editorial, editorial cartoon etc.

Watson, (2008) Says that the media is prominent among the public arbiters for our behavior. Many have also found cartoons on newspaper to be equally up to the task of acting as the society watchdog. This is what the researcher hopes to answer.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The study will examine the effects and significance of crime illustration in enhancing the role of print media cartoons as watchdog in Nigeria and the quest for development.

It is to ascertain the impact of comic illustration on readers and the level to which cartoons have acted as watchdog of the society.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

  1. To know the frequency of cartoons in the print media
  2. To determine if print media cartoons can actually pass information
  3. To determine the extent at which newspaper cartoons can identify culprits/evildoers
  4. To also determine whether print media cartoons can serve as the mouth piece of members of the society.
  5. To evaluate how social reality is constructed through the use of newspaper cartoons in the print media.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. How frequent do we see cartoon in the newspaper?
  2. Do newspaper cartoon identify or reveal the true identity of culprits or evil doers?
  3. Do people actually find newspaper cartoons meaningful?
  4. Do newspaper cartoons serve as the mouth piece of the society?
  5. Do the captions of the newspaper cartoons actually perform the watchdog role in the society?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The significance of this study in the field of mass communication is that it helps to determine the effect of mass communication message and media content on the people. It also helps to play an intermediary role between what is true and our experience, especially those beyond our constant. It also acts as the windows to the walls of information.

The significance of this study to the society can be traced to the Lasswellian media function of surveillance of the environment i.e. the journalistic service of collecting, dissemination of information of news by surveying the environment through monitoring trends, talks or giving early warning signals of an impending danger, reporting evil deeds that have been done, etc.


1.6 Scope of the Study

There are certain newspapers that features cartoon in Nigeria. It is thus to analyse the entire print media .


1.7 Definitions of Terms

The following terms have been defined to aid the comprehension of this study.

Newspaper:

This is an unbounded publication that is published on a regular basis containing a variety of reading matters and if often supplemented with pictures.

Cartoons:

An amusing drawing in a newspaper or magazine about events or happenings in the news.

Cartoonist:

A person who draws cartoons.

Readership:

The number and demographic attributes of Caritas University lecturers and students who read newspaper cartoons.

Message:

The important moral, social, cultural or political idea that a cartoon is trying to communicate or portray.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This study focused on: the print media, cartoons and social commentary in Nigeria: A study of Caritas University Lecturers and Students. The researcher attempted to analyze the readership pattern and trend of the average Caritas University student and lecturer making use of survey method. It examined the extent and frequency of newspaper readership and newspaper cartoon readership among CARITAS lecturers and students. This study also addressed what motivated readers to read cartoons, which newspaper‘s cartoons were read the most, amongst other salient issues.

This study, based on the sample population, found out that all CARITAS students read newspapers but not all of them read newspaper cartoons. This study was able to find out that ninety three percent of CARITAS students, both male and female, read newspaper cartoons. However, more males read Newspaper cartoons than their female counterparts. Majority of those who loved to read cartoons were in the 21-25 years age bracket. Also, majority were in 200 levels and 300 levels.

All the lecturer respondents read newspapers and newspaper cartoons. Forty percent of them read newspaper cartoons on a daily basis. Thirty percent read cartoons six days a week while another twenty eight percent preferred to read cartoons five days a week. Although, this research project was not a comparison of newspaper cartoon reading habits between lecturers and students, but it was noteworthy that lecturers, perhaps expectedly, read newspapers and cartoons more frequently than students.

Remarkable is the knowledge that only seven percent CARITAS students read newspaper cartoons on a daily basis while a somewhat significant seven percent did not read newspaper cartoons at all. Four percent read cartoons once a week, six percent rarely did.

The humour and the inherent message in the cartoon were the primary reasons CARITAS students and lecturers adduced for reading cartoons. A handful fingered humour only or the message only as the sole reason for reading cartoons. other reasons mentioned for reading newspaper cartoons included: a source of fun and relaxation; highlighting the news behind the news, a source of additional news, a means of developing and improving one‘s drawing, analytical and humour skills, a mode of expression, providing information that is vital and current that may not be expressly stated.

Another major finding of this study was that reading cartoons was not one of the motivations or reasons for buying newspapers among most CARITAS students and lecturers as fifty-nine and eighty-one percent respectively stated that reading cartoons was not reason enough to buy newspaper. Again, fewer females in comparison to their male counterparts would buy a newspaper motivated by the urge to read the cartoons inside.

By a mile, The Punch newspaper‘s cartoons were the most read among CARITAS students and lecturers. The Guardian and The Nation newspaper‘s cartoons were also read by a significant number. The Punch newspaper‘s cartoons peaked as the clear favourite across board.

Amongst the students, majority who read cartoons were in the age bracket of 16 – 25. Very few were thirty and above, an indication that the younger students were more interested in reading cartoons than their older colleagues. An important point noted from the study was that among the student respondents cartoon readership decreased as they got older.

It was a different matter with lecturers. The older lecturers read as much cartoons as their younger colleagues indicating that the readership of cartoons cut across age barriers – both young and old newspaper readers read cartoons. This showed that newspaper cartoon readership, at least among the lecturers, had nothing to do with age. In fact, readership of cartoons increased with age, among the lecturers, contrary to findings among student. It was revealed that both male and female lecturers read newspaper cartoons as frequently as each other. Both males and females displayed an equal favourable disposition towards reading cartoons.


5.2 Conclusion

It is an incontrovertible fact that cartoons have slowly but surely become an integral and significant content in contemporary newspapers. Many newspaper publishers and editors have come to realize that cartoons are not just mere editorial items that are flippantly tucked away in the bottom corner of the inner pages of newspapers. Now, cartoons are seen as major editorial‗weapon‘ that are strategically and conspicuously placed in prominent pages. Amongst other numerous functions, cartoons not only tell the story behind the story, they tell the ‗why‘ behind the ‗what‘ and make you reflect over issues that we would otherwise gloss over. In an academic community such as Caritas University, the newspaper readership and newspaper cartoon readership rate was generally high among the students and even higher among the lecturers, expectedly so.

Yet, very few CARITAS students read newspapers on a daily basis, citing a busy academic schedule and a somewhat drab and dour outlook of some of the dailies as the reason they do not read newspapers on a daily basis. Lecturers and students alike read newspaper cartoons both for the humour value and the message value. Even at this, reading cartoons is not one of the reasons CARITAS lecturers and students buy newspapers because of the desire to.

Demographic attributes like age and sex had little influence on newspaper cartoon readership among students but no effect at all on newspaper cartoon readership among lecturers. The Punch Newspaper‘s cartoons peaked as the overwhelming favourite of Caritas University lecturers and students. The Guardian and The Nation’s cartoons also had favourable look-ins.


5.3 Recommendations

Even though more newspapers are increasingly warming up to the use of cartoons, it is the view of this researcher that:

  1. Still more newspapers need to embrace and exploit the full potentials cartoons have to offer.
  2. Cartoons should be used more strategically and effectively to address salient issues in humorous ways.
  3. Cartoons are a potent medium of expression.

In all its subtlety and use of satire and humour, cartoons should not, and must not be misused. Restraint and an amount of self censorship must be encouraged.


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