ASSESSMENT OF NEWSPAPER READERSHIP AMONG WORKING CLASS WOMEN IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The past two decades have witnessed a progressive decline in the standard of education at all levels in Nigeria. This decline is mostly attributed to the poor reading culture among Nigerians. It is to this intent, that this research sought to evaluate newspaper readership among working class women in South East, Nigeria. To address the problematic of the study, four research objectives were developed, with the survey research design as the methodology and the questionnaire as the instrument for data collection used. The Australian calculator of the National Statistical Service was used to derive a basic sample size of 385 respondents. At the end of the study, the researcher came up with the following findings: that majority of the working class women in South East, Nigeria don’t read newspapers; that daily newspaper readership among working class women in South East is low; that newspapers written in English have more patronage to those in vernacular, and that cultural practices prescribed to women by the society limit newspaper readership among women. Consequently, the following recommendations were put forward: that society should encourage active women participation in newspaper readership; newspapers written in vernacular should be encouraged for the benefit of those who are not literate in formal education, and that newspaper readership should not be seen as a sex based function inter alia.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Operational Definitions
            References

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Historical Development of Newspapers in Nigeria
2.2       Level of Newspaper Readership in Nigeria
2.3       Women and Newspaper Readership
2.4       The Concept of Working Class Women
2.5       Empirical Studies on Newspaper Readership
2.5       Theoretical Framework
            References

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of Study
3.3       Sample Size
3.4       Sampling Technique
3.5       Instruments for Data Collection
3.6       Validation of Research Instrument
3.7       Reliability of Research
3.8       Method of Data Analysis and Presentation
            References

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1       Demographic characteristics of respondents
4.2       Psychographic data of respondents
4.3       Discussion of findings from both the quantitative and qualitative data
4.3.1.   Research question 1: Do working class women in South East read newspaper?
4.3.2.   Research question 2: To what extent do working class women in
            South East engage in newspaper readership?
4.3.3.   Research question 3: What is of interest in newspaper to working class women in South East?
4.3.4.   Research question 4: What are the challenges to newspaper readership among working class women in South East?
4.4       Summary of Findings
            References

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
1.1         Background of the study
Newspapers are known for the provision of up-to-date information meant for the reading pleasure of the vast majority of readers of all ages and walks of life. As an important print medium of mass communication, newspapers provide the most current analysis, debate and criticism of socio-political, economic, health and a host of other issues as information, education and entertainment to the readers. The newspaper is no doubt, one of the most widely-read periodicals available and accessible to all, on daily basis, in print and electronic versions.

As a mass medium, newspapers are useful for education, information, recreation, relaxation and entertainment. This explains why Ola and Ojo (2007) opine 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 corner of current information or news.


The newspaper, according to Galadima (2004) is a periodic publication that can be daily, biweekly, weekly, fortnightly, etc and it is not normally bound. Newspapers are different from book and magazines because you only fold them. The newspaper is a periodic publication that reflects the events happening in the society. It is described as folded sheet of paper that is produced periodically. The Nigerian Newspaper Act (NNA) cited in Asemah (2009) defines newspaper as any paper containing public news, intelligence or the occurrence of any remarks, observation or comment, printed for sale and published in Nigeria periodically.
Today’s media is capable of bringing information from the remotest corner of the globe. This development has made communication scholars to rightly describe the present world as a global village. Communication is the vehicle through which we develop, maintain and improve human relationships. Man’s need for communication involve interaction with our physical, biological and social environment.

Among different types of communication, mass communication is the process of delivering information, ideas and attitudes to a sizeable and diversified audience through the use of media developed for that purpose (Aggarwal and Cupta, 2001). There are various types of mass media such as print, television; radio etc. Among the mass media, print media is one of the important media of communication having the quality of conveying message quickly to a large number of audiences. The printed matter carries all auras of sanctity, and authenticity, which is a powerful weapon in guiding, educating, structuring and leading people.

To this end, newspapers fall under the classification of the print media which also include books, magazines, journals, pamphlets, and billboards. Baran (2004) stated ‘the reason we have the number and variety of newspapers we do is that readers value it’. This implies that newspapers strive in the face of other media of communication in reaching out to members of the society including men, women, and the youth especially those who value its contents.


Newspapers and magazines publish a wide variety of contents to cater for the different needs of their readers. Traditionally, these contents are classified according to genres, or forms, which can easily be recognized by the producers and consumers alike. The classification of media content according to genres helps the mass media to maintain consistency and efficiency in what they produce. Accordingly, all print media contents can be grouped into four genres as news, commentary, advertisement and fiction.

Scholars have suggested that the power of the press comes from its dissemination of information and its impact on public interest in important issues. Newspapers are primary means of reaching community publics in these days of specialized media fragmented audiences. Although they are no longer the primary news medium for the majority of citizens, yet newspapers are still a powerful force in shaping the public agenda and influencing the outcome of debates.

According to Ruotoleo (1988, p.126-130), a study of newspaper readers in Brazil identified five types of newspaper readers, namely:

Instrumental readers: These use newspaper to get information they think will be useful for

daily living.


Opinion readers: They use newspapers to get advice and guidance for forming and validating

opinion.


Pleasure readers: These use newspaper reading as an enjoyable habit.

Ego boosters: These use newspapers as sources of information for impressing others. They read to enhance their self-image and status with others.

Scanners: They use newspapers for many and varied reasons, but there is no single motivation or pattern strong enough to suggest that they belong to any of the other listed categories.

However, evidence from a large body of empirical literature seems to suggest that newspaper reading among youths is declining. Dominick (2003, p. 14) notes that newspaper......

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