HAZARDS AND PROSPECTS OF JOURNALISM IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
Journalism can be described as day-to-day activities or operation of gathering and transmitting of a news or information to a large audience through a suitable media or channel. It can also be regarded as the events of the day condensed into few words, sounds or pictures to satisfy the human’s curiosity of a world that is, always interested in knowing what new (Longman dictionary 1984).
The introduction of journalism and its media are (Electronic and Print) which have a lot in reducing the rate of ignorance in the society, because from the general observation both media have been disseminating information to the general publics. The journalists are those that practices journalism in Nigeria and other countries, the journalists are always in problem each time they disseminate the news story that against important personality, most especially the politicians. Therefore, this research is meant to let the people and entire publics know the level at which the hazard and prospects of journalism had been existing in Nigeria. The media are the bridge between the government and the governed as well as the mouthpiece of the society A basic duty of the media professionals in every society is to be a civic watchdog whose mission is to uncover secrets / issues and keep the government accountable to society. As observed by Itule & Anderson (2007:397), to achieve this often demands investigation and in-depth work which requires researching, digging deeply, interviewing and writing. It must be noted that fact-finding and fact-giving are some of the basic goals of journalism. Hence, it is necessary to determine any doubtful issue and that must be made public too. However, Ugwu, (2010) observes that investigative journalism in a developing nation like Nigeria is threatened with numerous challenges which are almost crippling its proper practice, its prospects notwithstanding.
Isamuko (2011), says the press is a molder of the society. Although the facts have been lashed with numerous criticisms, we cannot deny the fact that the press shapes the society. Most journalists are aware of this fact; hence they are determined even to the extent of sacrificing their lives, to give the society what it desires. The reporter who is scampering to meet a politician who has just alighted from an airplane; the reporter who is on a wired boat sailing into a remote mangrove to find out the extent of damage flood has wrecked in an area is trying to keep the society abreast on what is happening around them. (Ewuola, 2005).
The function of news gathering and news dissemination has not been a rosy one for the journalists, from the inception of journalism and newspaper publication in Nigeria. There has been cat and mouse relationship between the press, society, organization, politician and the governments of all ages, whether military or civilian, except when the press allows itself to be cajoled, used and manipulated by the governments or personal interest of the so called ‘big power’ to suit its whims and caprices.
According to MacDougall (1999), Journalism could be defined as Newsgathering, fact finding and reporting of things the way it appears at the moment of reporting, not a definitive study of a situation. This also includes news reporting and commentaries delivered by Radio and Television.
However, Wainwright (1992), describes Journalism as day-to-day activities or operation of gathering and transmitting of news or information to a large audience through a suitable media or channel. It can also be regarded as the events of the day condensed into few words, sounds or pictures to satisfy the human curiosity of a world that is, always interested in knowing what is new. The Longman Dictionary 1984 (7th edition), sees Journalism as the collection and editing of materials of current interest for presentation through the new media. In a nutshell, it is the act of looking for news event and editing the unwanted part before it is served to the public who are the final consumers. The journalists are those that practice journalism in Nigeria and other countries, the journalists are always in problem each time they disseminate the news story that are against important personality, most especially the politicians. To this end this research is to X-ray some of the hazards of journalism and find some remedies or way out especially as new freedom of information law has now become law in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There are claims that journalism has been in the decline since its hay days in the 1970s, and many investigations are now more concerned with entertainment than information (Harcup,2009:110). However, investigative journalism as practiced in Nigeria is ineffective as it is constrained by several problems despite its bright prospects. More often than not, journalists publish half-truth, distorted stories and outright falsehood without in-depth investigation, thereby making rumours, unsubstantiated claims and emotions the bedrock of information gathering. This provoked this study of journalism in Rivers State of Nigeria. The findings of this research would enable journalists to appreciate their collective challenges in the field of journalism. The study would serve as a platform for further empirical study on the topic under investigation.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the hazards and prospects of journalism Nigeria. Specific objectives include;
1. To examine the media hazards of journalism profession.
2. To ascertain if journalists encounter hazards in news gathering and reporting.
3. To find out the media hazards facing journalists in Nigeria.
4. To determine if hazards have effects on the performance of journalists in Tell magazine.
5. To examine the prospects of journalism practice in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
1. Does journalism profession have any media hazard?
2. Do journalists in Nigeria encounter hazards in news gathering and reporting?
3. What are the media hazards facing journalists in Nigeria?
4. Do media hazards have effects on the performance of journalists in Nigeria?
5. Are there prospects of journalism practice in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H0: Journalists in Nigeria do not encounter hazards in news gathering and reporting.
Hi: Journalists in Nigeria encounter hazards in news gathering and reporting.
H0: Media hazards have no effects on the performance of journalists in Nigeria.
Hi: Media hazards have effects on the performance of journalists in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study. It is interesting to note as Africans continue to grow politically, economically and socially. The need for well-trained journalist had become of a lop priory. Therefore, the tendency toward journalism and journalist in African had diminished particularly in such countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and many others. To the extent, journalists in most black African countries particularly Nigeria are now better paid and to a degree are now looked at a bunch of trained intellectuals whose roles as a communication, interpreters and purveyors of good and bad news indispensable in a rapidly growing economy such as that of Nigeria.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is on the hazards and prospects of journalism in Nigeria. This study will be carried out in Rivers state. The research study will cover the journalists in Rivers state, Nigeria.
1.8 Limitations of the study
The demanding schedule of respondents made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaire in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for all but is restricted to the selected respondents used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted. Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided. Other limitations include:
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
This project work does not discourage the journalist, but to help in journalism in Nigeria and to find way in curbing the deviant behaviour in journalism. This research work will also disclose the bad habit of journalist; this project does not discourage a political journalist or journalist in future, but to teach them the ethics of the profession.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Journalism: Ewuola (2001:1) defines the term journalism as the collection and editing of materials of current interest for presentation through news media. Journalism is concerned with giving out information to an audience on regular basis. Therefore, journalism is sharing of information and idea using a suitable channel of communication. It is also the ability to comfort, reassure and satisfy the human frailty through the entertainment page; it is also about people getting information on what is new, interesting and passing such information to their neighbors.
Journalist: Journalist can be described as the intermediary between the citizen and the government, to receive and transmitting information to the people in needs. Journalist is also a person that is involved in the operation of gathering and disseminating of information through the appropriate medium. Journalist could be referred to as a person, whose primary occupation is to gathering, writing, editing and transmitting of information or control events to the publics. He usually works for news medium. This definition leaves out many personnel involved in the mass communication such as advertising and Public Relations men and several party time contributors ranging from stringers who provide routing coverage of minor news basis into intellectuals who contribute to the culture or health page of great dallies.
Media journalism: As noted by Longman Dictionary (1984) says “journalism is the collecting and editing of materials of current interest for presentation through news media”. In this view, the materials that have been collected and edited must be present through a suitable channel or medium, we have two types of media which a journalist can use to disseminate or pass across his news or idea; these are print and electronic media.
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