GENDER REPORTING IN NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS: A CONTENT ANALYTIC STUDY OF THE GUARDIAN, VANGUARD, DAILY CHAMPION AND DAILY SUN

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ABSTRACT


This study examined Gender Reporting in Nigerian Newspapers. The primary objective was to analyse how the two gender groups were represented in reported news stories in the Nigerian dailies selected for this study. The study design adopted was content analysis. Four newspapers – The Guardian, Vanguard, Daily Sun and Daily Champion published in 2004 and 2005 were sampled and publications were selected per newspaper for each year using systematic random sampling technique. Coding sheet was used to obtain data for the study and the data obtained was analysed using frequency distribution and percentages. The results showed that the female gender group is under-reported in the selected newspapers compared to the male gender group. In sum, Nigerian journalists should ensure that women are not under-represented in reported news stories. They should be gender sensitive in their coverage of news stories.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Abstract
Table of Contents
List of Tables

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1.      Background of the study
1.2.      Statement of the problem
1.3.      Research Questions
1.4.      Purpose of the study
1.5.      Scope of the study
1.6.      Significance of the study
1.7.      Theoretical Framework
1.8.      Operational Definition of Terms
1.9.      Limitations of study
REFERENCES

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1.      Gender
2.2.      Female Stereotypes and Models
2.3.      Female Representations in the Mass Media
2.4.      Female Representations in Newspapers
2.5.      Media Representations of Men
2.6.      Men on Television
2.7.      Men in the Movies
REFERENCES

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.1.      Research Design
3.2.      Population of the Study
3.3.      Sample size
3.4.      Sampling technique
3.5.      Instrument for Data Collection
3.6.      Technique for Data Analysis
REFERENCES

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS
4.1. Data Presentation and Analysis
4.2. Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1.      Conclusion
5.2.      Recommendations
5.3.      Suggestions for Further Studies
REFERENCES

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1        Background of the Study

Gender matters have been topical issues in recent times all over the world. Gender ordinarily constitutes no social menace. It is, however, the stereotypes which are attached to it that have succeeded in introducing and generating controversies within our society. Studies on these spheres have brought to the limelight the fact that there exists a certain degree of discrimination and inequality as a result of this social construct. This situation is better clarified when one x-rays gender issues in politics, reproductive health, education, amongst others; and media matters are not left out. This is also the Nigerian experience.

It has been said that gender reporting in Nigerian newspapers is tilted to one side, thereby, favouring the male population. The result is a misrepresentation and underrepresentation of women in our society. However, despite the fact that women make up at least one half of the country’s population, “the Nigerian society is traditionally a male-dominated society,” (Andrew Udiugwomen, 2004p.2). This has resulted in marginalization of women traditionally and socially in our country. Udiugwomen, A. (2004:2) further asserts that the nature of our society has resulted “in a good deal of social distance between men and women and that avenues for self-expression and self-realization by women are drastically limited by traditional and cultural practices.”


The implication of the foregoing in the Nigerian society is that women, in contrast to men will not enjoy the same degree of representation in Nigerian newspapers as a result of the fact that they assume a subordinate stance in the affairs of life in our country; and this situation is caused and perpetuated by the Nigerian culture.

Omololu, A.A. (1972:2) further buttresses this notion when he states that “… throughout the ages, women have been assigned different roles in the society. These roles usually put them in subservient positions to men… in fact, women enjoyed fewer rights than men.” The preceding statement translates to a rather strong social orientation which is held by the society and reflected in Nigerian newspapers. At present, the result is a situation in which Nigerian women are still a long way away from achieving equality with their male counterpart in societal activities.

It is of paramount importance to recognize the role of the Nigerian culture in entrenching balance or imbalance in news reporting with regards to gender. Our culture plays a vital part in the daily lives of the people and it is one in which “the idea of superiority of the males is deeply ingrained… and it is within this cultural context that gender roles are defined and women’s participation delimited or precluded in certain key spheres reserved for men,” (Omenugha, K. ,2006 p.2). Going by this statement, it implies that there seems no way a balance would ever be maintained in roles performed by men and women in our society since there will always be a greater number of men involved in a given societal activity than women. This is a “scenario which continues to widen the gap between men and women in access and participation in all facets of life, and the Nigerian media seem to be caught in this web of discordant culture,” (Omenugha, K., 2002p. 2) further stated.

According to Christine Anyanwu (2001:69), “news making itself is gender – biased.” This is as a result of the make-up of the prominent positions in our society which is largely constituted by men. This yet boils down to the influence of the Nigerian culture, which has succeeded   in    placing   women    second   to    their    male    counterpart.    To    this     end, ChristineAnyanwu (2001:68) notes that “… at the heart of this practice is tradition…”


It is, thus, alleged that what is largely observed in Nigerian newspapers, as result of

the foregoing trend, is a minimal coverage of issues concerning women. According to

Nwagbara, G. (2005:35), “stories read about women concern mainly the wives of political

office  holders,  the  few  women  who  occupy political  offices,  and  the  images  of  those

portrayed as sex objects or even the fashion crazy.” The result of which is a minimized

focus on the involvement of women in the political and economic arena, which serves to

increase the vulnerability of women and gives them little voice in our society. Another trend

that will be seen is the looming image of men which has dominated the news media (a

situation reinforced by the Nigerian culture) and the dominance of their views in what

constitutes news and reporting of news itself.

Christine   Anyanwu   (2001:68)    aptly    captures    the    disheartening   situation    of newspaper reporting of women (which are also a typical assessment of gender reporting in Nigerian dailies) in the following words.....

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