The mass media in Nigeria are grappling with the problem of poor quality and quantity of local content; as a result, they have been swamped with foreign news. New media offer a novel platform to improve significantly the local news content, if integrated effectively in the news gathering and processing routines. This study delved into local journalists’ new media use in Nigeria to ascertain their impact on journalism and their implications for news production and consumption and determine emerging practices linked to their application.

To achieve the study objectives, 66 local journalists, who were selected randomly from eleven major national media outlets in Nigeria, were recruited to participate in an online questionnaire survey and the content of their Facebook accounts were analysed to respond to the first and second research questions on new media use and their impact. Furthermore, interviews with thirteen purposively selected key informants were conducted to respond to the third research question on emerging journalistic practices. Data were processed using an online digital research platform –

The study has established that 68 per cent of the local journalists in Nigeria are experienced new media users and most of them (75%) often use social networking platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter. However, the vast majority (78%) do not use new media to source, share, or get feedback on the local news, and up to 74 per cent use new media for entertainment.

The broad conclusion drawn based on these findings is that, local journalists in Nigeria have essentially been using new media for entertainment, not for professional engagement, particularly improving the local news content, whose quality and quantity the country’s ICT policy acknowledges is poor and needs to be improved. Therefore, the study recommends that concerted efforts be made through training and favourable media as well as ICT policies to shift from utopian predictions about new media and journalistic practices in Nigeria to ensure that local journalists embrace and use such media effectively to improve local news coverage.

1.0 General Introduction
1.1 Statement of problem
‘New media’ refers to digital mediated information and communication technologies, distinguished by their online nature and accessibility (Wehmeier, 2009). ‘Online’ indicates a state of connectivity, as opposed to ‘offline,’ which indicates a disconnected state. According to the Telecom Glossary (2000), for an equipment or device to be online it must fulfil, among other things, the condition of being available for immediate use on demand without human intervention. The term online, as applied to new media in this study therefore, refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, by a digital device connected to the Internet. Important features of new media include interactive use, feedback and creative participation (Wehmeier, 2009). Another aspect of new media, according to Schivinski and DÄ…browski (2024), is the real-time generation of new, unregulated content. Most technologies described as "new media" are digital, and often have characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, and interactive (Schivinski and DÄ…browski, 2024). New media forms that this study refers to and focuses on are those associated with the Internet, such as social networking platforms (including, but not limited to, Facebook and Twitter), websites, search engines, blogs, email, cloud encyclopaedias, cloud storages, video conferencing platforms and online chatting.

The advent of new media has changed the way journalists work around the world, as it sweeps across homes, streets, offices and newsrooms where journalists source, process, share and follow feedback on news (Hermans, 2009). The anarchical character of the technologies it utilises, as Curran and Gibson (2024) point out, signifies reinvention of media and manifests the reality of highly sophisticated mediated communication ruling the globe at the moment. In analysing the ways in which journalists’ jobs change as they increasingly use new media, Koch (1991) argues that online resources such as search engines, blogs, social networking platforms, and cloud encyclopaedias, provide journalists with more information than that possessed by the public or private officials they are assigned to interview. Koch (ibid) contends that intelligent use of these resources does not amount to the same old journalism, but has the potential of altering fundamentally the rules of the public information game.

The widespread use of new media benefits journalists from a vast array of resources and endless technological possibilities. Furthermore, their introduction has speeded up the news gathering process, sometimes even allowing journalists to spend more time at their office desks than in doing fieldwork (Deuze, 2003). However, more than two decades after the adoption of new media by news organisations and newsrooms, journalism in Africa, as Atton and Mabweazara (2011) discuss at lengthy, is still coming to terms with its implications. This study focused on journalists’ new media experience and how the abundant and novel opportunities they provide influence journalism and their implications for news production and consumption in Nigeria, particularly with regard to the sourcing, processing, sharing and following of feedback on the local news content among local journalists.

Professional life has not been easy for many journalists working in the developing world where poverty makes it difficult to afford most appropriate technologies. And where they can afford, other stumbling blocks get in their way around the vicious cycle. As a result, the use of new media by journalists in developing countries, such as Nigeria, has always largely been ineffective and rather limited (Boyd-Barrett, 2000). This study explored how local journalists in Nigeria cope with the advent of new media, which is gaining ground in media houses in developing countries where the adoption of modern technologies has been slow and “off time” to realise its full potential.

New media offer a novel platform for reaching audiences and have become part of newsgathering and news-processing routines. But, as they develop in sometimes unpredictable directions, as O'Sullivan and Heinonen (2008) point out, they raise an array of new questions about practices and values, some of which go to the declared defining essentials of journalism. The new media ecology, with its additional agendas of interactivity, democracy, ubiquity, and with a new domain of bloggers and citizen reporters, for instance, presents a set of issues and opportunities that extend beyond familiar boundaries. With regard to ‘interactivity,’ communication scholars have raised grave concern and are, indeed, sceptical about it. Schultz (2006), for example, elucidates that new media have the potential of increasing interactive attempts in journalism, but journalists and their respective media organisations do not necessarily exploit this opportunity effectively. According to the scholar, the hierarchical structure of modern mass communication imposes a “don't talk back” format on audiences.

Journalists, being core communicators undertaking media works, have their necks tied to almost all forms of new media inventions linked to broadcasting and publishing. Due to overriding changes adopted by media over the last two decades, journalists have found themselves with no choice, but to ‘live the new media world’ (Atton and Mabweazara, 2011). To succeed in the practice of journalism, as Amaku (2012) stresses, contemporary practitioners and media organisations have no choice, but to keep abreast of information technologies that have encroached and impacted on traditional journalism and their implications for news production and consumption.

Bennett (2012) reports a digital journalism study, which surveyed 600 journalists from around the world and discovered that more than half (55 per cent) used social channels such as Twitter and Facebook to find stories from known sources, and 43 per cent verified existing stories using these tools. Browne (2024) says, with more than one billion people on Facebook, the potential for searching keywords around a breaking news event that have been geo-tagged could quickly give journalists the inside track on finding sources. The scholar, who is the news editor for Storyful, and Felicity Morse, social media editor at the Independent and i-newspaper, explains that new media, Facebook in particular, are useful for breaking news, researching for stories, following up reaction to events and audience engagement. The view that new media are useful to making professional engagements and how they can be used to improve journalism and their implications for news production and consumption is shared and advanced by a number of other scholars (see for example, Rogers, 2014; Sayer, 2014; and Mitchell et al., 2011). It is important to note that most new media are now popular and used widely in developing countries, including Nigeria, though not to the same level as in Europe, North America and parts of Asia. In other words, the advent of new media in these countries is real and is evident in all spheres of life in which they are manifested, although many people, including journalists, are still grappling to cope with or internalise them. The media in these countries are already at the centre of this Information and Communication Technology (ICT) spectrum change, which has completely realigned the nature and relationships in information generation as well as flows, and have created opportunities that did not exist before. Now, there is a strong and direct correlation between new media application and the work that the media as well as journalists do in the process of generating content for their audiences.

As Boyd-Barrett (2000) points out, new media have opened up paths or channels for sharing news and information through uploading and downloading content in both the developed and developing world. However, the media and journalists in developing countries, as the ITU (2004) report indicates, have been caught up in yet another dilemma: inability to tap the full potential of new media and compete with their counterparts in the developed world in terms of pushing (sharing) content through new media channels. As a result, most of the media in developing countries over the years have been sourcing their news and other information from the First World’s well-established international news agencies, which are dictating news and information flow in the world.

After studying the working conditions of local journalists in Nigeria, Ramaprasad (2001) reports ‘a woebegone effect,' indicating that the country’s journalists and their media organisations are still grappling to cope with new media technological forms. Five years ago, Lowrey and Mackay (2008) called for a new model to explain the vulnerabilities of journalism in the face of challenges from new media and the conditions under which journalists are likely to change their practices to address these vulnerabilities. Beckett and Mansell (2008) also suggested a research agenda that is ‘critical’ and reflective on the spread of new media technologies. Furthermore, Atton and Mabweazara (2011) echo a similar call underlining that new media and journalism and their implications for news production and consumption in Africa indeed constitute an agenda for research. They argue that there are many utopian predictions made about new media in Africa that call for empirically grounded research to test them.

This study explored the conditions under which Nigerian journalists work and the challenges they face while utilising new media to establish how effective they are in generating, processing, sharing and getting feedback on the local news content. The study was necessary because so far, as discussed at length in Chapter Two, though a number of studies have been conducted in Nigeria on Internet use patterns in non- mass media environments, no research has been done in the country to ascertain specifically the impact of new media on journalism and their implications for news production and consumption in typical media environments. The present study endeavoured to fill this knowledge gap.

• Statement of the Problem
The media in Nigeria, both print and electronic, are grappling with the problem of poor quantity and quality of the local news content, which in this study refers to information about Nigeria generated for Nigerians, despite the novel opportunities and prospects that new media provide. The problem has resulted into overreliance on international news agencies (see De Beer, 1996 and Arya, 2001, for example), whose content is foreign and is not about Nigeria and generated for Nigerians.

The problem of poor local news content, which the Nigeria ICT (2003) policy acknowledges, can be effectively solved by taking full advantage of new media, whose most tools are available free of charge online and can be used by local journalists in the country to source, process, share and get feedback on the local content, only that they learn and adopt their associated technologies properly. As practically all news media outlets in Nigeria are unable to station reporters in all parts of the expansive country, new media offer opportunities for generating, processing, sharing and getting feedback on the local news content. However, the actual reality on the ground with regard to the use of new media towards this end remains largely unknown. To address this problem scientifically, an empirically grounded research was conducted to establish how local journalists in Nigeria use or engage with new media, as an effective way of sourcing, processing, sharing and getting feedback on the local news content.

• Research Objectives
• Main Objective
The man objective of the present study was to examine the impact of new media on journalism and their implications for news production and consumption in Nigeria.

• Specific Objectives
The specific objectives of the study were to:
• Explore how local journalists in Nigeria use new media for sourcing, processing, sharing and getting feedback on the local news.

• Determine the extent to which local journalists in Nigeria use new media for enriching the local news content, and;

• Establish emerging journalistic practices in Nigeria which are linked to the use of new media.

• Research Questions
The study sought to answer the following questions:

• How do local journalists in Nigeria use new media for sourcing, processing, sharing and getting feedback on the local news?

• To what extent do local journalists in Nigeria use new media for enriching the local news content?

• Which emerging journalistic practices in Nigeria are linked to the use of new media?

• Significance of the Study
Mass media research is mainly attributable to the changing faces of a medium in question due to the development of ICT. The Internet which “is the newest mass medium” at the moment (Wimmer and Dominick, 2006, p.7) has already passed Phase One, under which researches are conducted on the medium itself, how it operates, what technology it involves, as well as how different or similar it is to the existing media. To a certain extent, all these questions appear to have already been answered. New media in Nigeria has reached Phase Two, which entails researching on the uses and users of the medium. This study investigated how Nigerian journalists use new media to source, process, share and get feedback on the local content. At this stage, an empirical approach to the journalists’ engagement with new media and the changes brought by new forms of mediated communication in their everyday practice cannot be overemphasised (Fortunati, 2009).

This study sought to fill the existing knowledge gap on how the utilisation of new media by local journalists in Nigeria is shaping journalistic practices. The study is relevant because it has explored how journalists and the media in Nigeria, which lack enough local news (URT, 2003 gives more insights about this), can benefit from the opportunities that new media provide to redress the situation. The knowledge has established the status of journalism and their implications for news production and consumption in Nigeria in the light of new media and helped to enhance the understanding on how the media in the country responds to global challenges brought by the advancement in ICT.

For more Mass Communication Projects Click here
Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 80 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Search for your topic here

See full list of Project Topics under your Department Here!

Featured Post


A hypothesis is a description of a pattern in nature or an explanation about some real-world phenomenon that can be tested through observ...

Popular Posts