Format: Microsoft Word Chapters: 1-5
Pages: 100 Attributes: STANDARD RESEARCH
Information technology is making a very significant impact on peoples’ lives and has revolutionised the television industry and specifically news production and dissemination processes. Availability of the internet broadband services on a wider scale and accessibility to those services by a large number of people using state of the art digital communication facilities such as internet enabled mobile phones, Iphone and Ipadetc, has turned the world into the phenomenal global village and brought information to users at the click of a button. Users now not only access information but they source for and disseminate it instantly through digital platforms such as blogs and user-generated contents provided by major broadcast stations that encourage audience to upload pictures and videos of latest breaking news into their websites by people that are privileged to be at the right place where news unfolds. This has not only tremendously enhanced television news coverage but at the same time raised ethical and legal issues of concern. This study attempted to examine this problem using Kaduna based television stations as case study. Survey and in-depth interview were used to generate the data. Census sampling technique was used tocapture the population of the study. Tabulation and simple percentage are used to analyse the data gathered. Findings of the study revealed that Kaduna based television journalists consider blogs and citizen journalists as biased due to lack of objectivity, fairness and accuracy in their news reportage, and that blogs and citizen journalists constitute important sources of breaking news and refusal by Nigerian television stations to use blogs and citizens journalism materials is not based on management or National Broadcasting Commission restrictions. The study concludes that blogs and citizens journalism are popular as information sources, their perceived inadequacy notwithstanding.The study recommends that television stations should identify blogs sites with track record of credibility and begin to patronize news worthy materials from them deemed beneficial to their target audiences. It also recommends that television stations should open user generated content hubs to explore materials being provided by citizen journalists for use in their news telecast. It also challenges trained journalists not to leave blogging exclusively to amateurs.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Blogging is the art of scouting for and disseminating information on the internet which targets specific audiences. Hence, millions of blog pages exist on the internet covering a wide range of issues and providing up-to-the-minute reports on different subject matters (Rodman, 2006 and Dominick, 2009).
Blogging is generating a lot of interest from journalists and the general public alike owing to a number of factors: one, people who are non-media practitioners, who are devoid of the relevant skills required to gather, process and disseminate news, have been turned into instant mass communicators; courtesy of the internet. The technology has given people equipped with internet enabled mobile phones the opportunity to witness and report news first hand as it unfolds devoid of all forms of gate-keeping that characterizes conventional news reportage. This, therefore, poses a new challenge to democratic societies because the freedom of expression which is so much cherished carries with it concomitant responsibilities as enshrined in the Nigerian constitutionsand the constitution of many countries and sanctioned by relevant legislations.
Blogging has both positive and negative sides. On the positive side, it breaks the barriers of time and space as events unfolding anywhere in the world could be seen within minutes after the incident has happened. Even the conventional media such as radio television and newspapershave joined the bandwagon in this new effort as they use blog materials to augment short-falls in video footages of the latest news events. However, while broadcast majors of the world such as BBC World, Aljazeerah, and CNN, continue to patronize blogged materials for their information needs; Nigerian television stations appear to be sceptical to use those materials.
The internet technology, digital compression and media convergence have given room for the emergence of a new phenomenon called ‘citizen journalism.’ It is a situation where people, lacking the training or skills in journalism practice, cover and report news worthy events and posttheir reports on the net. With this development, the monopoly of the mainstream media as information sources is being challenged.
In essence, technology now affords non-professionalsthe opportunity to serve as information merchants. This information merchandising poses threat to the society because as Mgbejume (2008) observes, a mass communicator must undergo fundamental training to be able to communicate effectively”. He warns that “the mass media of communication in the hands of an untrained mind is just the same as allowing a madmanaccess to the trigger of a double barrelled gun”. And without control of his thoughts, mind and fingers he pulls the trigger and off go the bullets hitting indiscriminate targets! The result?A great disaster”.
It is gratifying to note that the trend in using blog materials in news content is viewed with caution by most television stations in Nigeria. However, despite the caution, the ubiquity of the internet in a globalized world means that stations the refuse to join the trend will be relegated to the background as other competitors struggling to outdo them in the quest for the latest breaking news will continue to take the lead.
Inspite of the perceived inadequacies of blogs, they still provide news outlets through which dissident voices could be heard. For example, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta Region (MEND) used to post information on blogs regarding the groups stand on knotty issues that affect the Niger Delta area. Such stories were credited to the MEND spokesperson GbomoJomo. Al-Qaeda too posts stories regarding issues that affect it or its members on blogs. Sometime ago, it announced that a close confidant of Osama Bin Ladin, the founder of the group was dead (CCTV News 11/9/12), and after Bin Ladin was killed there were speculations as to who would succeed him. It was information posted on the blogs which clarified that Egyptian born second in command to Bin Ladin, AymanAlzawahiri, was nominated to lead the group pending the appointment of a substantive head. Moreover, shortly after the bombing of ThisDay Newspaper offices in Kaduna and Abuja in 2012, the group posted story on blog listing names of media houses it identified as its potential targets if they did not rescind from what it described as hostile dispositions toward the group in their news reportage.
Blogs as media of communication encourage cross-fertilization of ideas and exchange of information much in the same way it is approved by the constitutional provisions of civilized societies. With this in mind, blogs are increasingly becoming veritable means of mass communication that could not be dismissed with the wave of the hand.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The widespread use of blogs and citizen journalism materials has generated mix reactions. Some see it as positive development while others express strong reservation and fear. The fear is justified because technology has liberalised news gathering and dissemination business and has turn every user of mobile phone with internet access into a potential mass communicator. As a result, individuals these days give breaking news through social media which spreads like wild fire. If the report is a negative one capable of causing break down of law and order, as soon as it is released, it goes viral. And it would take time to do the damage control which is usually handled by professional newsmen working for the mainstream media.
However, in order not to be left out completely in this new scheme of things, the mainstream media, especially television, decides to be proactive by integrating aspect of social media into this fold through the use of blog and citizen journalism. This, they believe, would keep them abreast of the latest events in the news and ensure greater interactivity with their target audiences.
The challenge faced by television stations willing to use blog or citizen journalism materials in their news content are many and diverse. For example what can be done to ensure the authenticity and credibility of the material? Similarly, what happens when a television station uses blog or citizenjournalism material that turns out to be fake, malicious and which is authored by a third person using the station’s user generated content hub? These are some of the challenges that would confront television stations that may want to adopt the use of social media in their news reportage.
Many television stations decide to adopt cautious approach by keeping the social media at arm’s length in aworld that has become globalised.Taking this stance is not devoid of negative effects as the stations have continued to lose viewership and the patronage needed for their continuing survival in the market. It is a case of “between-the-devil-and-the-deep-sea”. Here lies the problem for the study.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is on the use of blogs as sources of news by Kaduna-based television stations. It is significant because it will bridge the existing knowledge gap in blog and citizen journalism related material usage in news content of television stations. Because the area is relatively new there is inadequate amount of literature materials on the subject especially from Nigerian perspective. The research is therefore significant because it provides a basis for further research in related fields.
1.4 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is primarily concerned with coverage of news events using the tools of blogs and citizen journalism. It is also restricted to exploring the possibility of using materials from blog and citizen journalisms by Kaduna based television stations. The research nonetheless is constrained by unavailability of materials in the field because it is a relatively new area. As a result foreign magazines that covered the unfolding developments were substantially used in the literature review.
1.5 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the research are:
1. To ascertain the level of credibility Kaduna based television journalists ascribe to blog and citizen journalism related materials as news content.
2. To ascertain the usefulness of blogs and citizen journalism related materials to news content of Kaduna based television stations.
3. To ascertain whether the managements of Kaduna based television stations sanction the use of blogs and citizen journalism related materials in their news content.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are formulated to facilitate the study.
1. Do Kaduna based television journalists consider blog and citizen journalism related materials credible enough to be used in news bulletin stations?
2. What potentials do blogs and citizen journalism have as usable materials in television news bulletin of Kaduna based television stations?
3. Do the managements of Kaduna based television stations allow the use of blogs and citizen journalism materials as news sources?
1.7 HISTORY OF THE CASE STUDY
The first television station in Nigeria, nay in tropical Africa, was established in 1959 at Mapo Hall in Ibadan by the government of the Western Region under the leadership of Chief ObafemiAwolowo, then the Premier of Western Nigeria. The first television station was a child of political discord. The Central government had condemned the opposition, Action Group, for walking out on parliament during the constitutional debate for independence. The Action Group felt aggrieved that the Central Government denied it an opportunity to tell its own side of the story on the national radio. In response, the Western Region Government went on to establish the Western Nigeria Television. Though critics condemned the move as wasteful and prestigious, it was nonetheless an important landmark in the history of mass communication in Nigeria.
In October 1960, the Eastern Region Government of the NCNC followed the example of the West by setting up its Eastern Nigeria Television station. And in 1962, the Northern Region Government established the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria, BCNN which went with the trade name Radio Television Kaduna (RTK).
The federal government of Nigeria was not left out in the race either, as it established its own (national) television station in 1962, called the Nigerian Television Service based in Lagos, under a management agreement with an American network. In 1973, the Midwest Television was established while in 1974, the Benue Plateau Television became the first television station to transmit in colours (Nwanze, 2003).
The creation of new states witnessed the continuation of what had become a tradition, as each new state sought to establish its own television station to advance its own political interests, that is, the interest of the party in power in those states. The result was that sectional consciousness was reinforced thus postponing indefinitely the realization of a truly United Nigeria (Nwanze, ibid).
The federal government enacted Decree No. 24 of 1977 which retrospectively took effect from April 1976 which established the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Under the Decree, all the television stations in the country were to come together under one central body, the NTA. At the inception of NTA, there were ten television stations in Nigeria located in Ibadan, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos, Benin, Jos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Sokoto and Owerri (Aba). The Decree therefore gave the NTA exclusive right of television broadcasting in Nigeria. Thus, NTA took over the then ten existing television stations in the country. It soon embarked on a policy of adequate geographical spread of stations throughout Nigeria. To this end, it set up additional stations in the state capitals where there were no television stations in existence. Television stations were established in Maiduguri, Bauchi, Minna, Yola, Ilorin, Calabar, Makurdi, Akure, and Abeokuta. In 1980, an additional station was established in Lagos NTA 2 Channel 5. Other stations were also established later in Abuja, Ikeja and Katsina.
Following the creation of more states, demand for more television stations increased. In 1997, NTA Lafia and NTA Dutse were established. The NTA plans to establish more stations across the country.
The exclusive monopoly of television broadcasting by the federal government through the NTA was however broken by the 1979 Constitution. Section 36 subsection 2 of the Constitution provides inter alia;
every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions provided that no person other than the government of the federation or of a state or any other person or body authorized by the president shall own, establish, or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for any purpose whatsoever.
Thus, the 1979 Constitution amended Decree No. 24 of 1977. While the Constitution allowed the NTA to remain, it however allowed state governments to own television and radio stations. It should be noted however that the constitutional provision does not prevent the president from allowing private ownership of the electronic media in Nigeria. It is either that the president in the person of AlhajiShehuShagari throughout his tenure was never approached by private individuals or group for license to established and operate private broadcasting station in the country, or that the president was not favourably disposed to it (Nwanze, ibid).
However, several state governments took advantage of this section of the Constitution to establish their own television (and radio) stations. Thus, by the end of 1983, the following states owned their own television stations; Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and defunct Bendel States. Others were Anambra, Imo, Plateau, and Kano States. A common feature among alL these states is that the parties in control of the governments of these states were different from the party in control of government at the centre. Since the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was in control at the centre, it also meant that it was in control of NTA, which was a federal government owned television network. The states mentioned being under the control of parties different from the party at the centre, felt the need to establish their own stations to counteract the propaganda of the federal government controlled NTA. The result was media war which at one point became so degenerative and protracted as to undermine the ethics of journalism. As someone observed, government owned media failed to distinguish between the ruling party and the government, and therefore became party organs financed by the public. This unbecoming situation which at its peak threatened national security prompted the Guild of Editors, meeting in Calabar, in May 1980, to observe that; “the use of the media as exclusive propaganda organ of incumbent governors and their parties is a serious misuse of power and abuse of office.” (Daily Times, May 23, 1980).
However, the Guild of Editors failed to tell the nation whether they found the federal government’s use of the media under its control to be so innocent and justified as not to merit equal criticism and condemnation (Nwanze, ibid).
Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC) was an offshoot of the defunct Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Kaduna established in the 1950s. Kaduna NBC station was one of those stations handed over to state governments following the reorganization of broadcast in the country in 1978. It was renamed Kaduna State Broadcasting Corporation through Edict No. 8 of 1978.
In 1991, Kaduna State government awarded contract for the establishment of its own television station and at the same time transferred the publication of the weekly news - monitor newspaper from the Ministry of Information to KSBC. This necessitated the change of name from Broadcasting Corporation to a media conglomerate saddled with the responsibilities of AM Radio, FM stereo, Television and Newspaper publication services. Accordingly, the present Kaduna State Media Corporation came into being under Edict No. 7 of 28th May, 1991.
However, Kaduna State Television (KSTV) commenced transmission on December 31, 1995 from Kufena house studios near Sheik Abubakar Mahmud Gumi Market. Seven years later, KSTV, Kachia started transmission from the southern part of the state. On the 5th of October, 2006 yet another channel, Capital TV, hit the airwaves of Kaduna metropolis with fast paced programming and great entertainments.
The clamour for deregulation of the broadcast industry became realizable in 1993 when government issued the first batch of licenses to private organizations to establish and operate broadcast stations in Nigeria. A year earlier, the federal military government had enacted a Decree (No. 38 of 1992) establishing the National Broadcasting Commission which was given the responsibility of receiving, processing and considering applications for the ownership of radio and television stations including cable television stations (both broadcasting and direct satellite broadcasting), and any other medium of broadcasting. Although, the NBC grants provisional approvals to applicants for private broadcast licenses, final approval of a license to establish and operate private radio and television station rest with the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Two companies which are the owners of television stations of primary concern to the study were given license to start operations. Desmims Broadcast Nigeria Ltd. owners of Desmims Independent Television (DITV) was among the beneficiaries of the first batch of licenses granted in June, 1993 (Nwanze, ibid). However, prior to this, the company was incorporated in 1986 and eventually started production operations in Kaduna in the third quarter of 1990. But four years later, on June 2, 1990 at exactly 22 minutes past 5pm the station went on air, thus becoming the first private television station to utilize its license (3rd& 4th Quarter Programme Schedule).
DAAR Communications Limited, owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT) was issued a license to operate a private radio station in August, 1994. However, the license to operate direct satellite television was issued to the company in June, 1995 (Nwanze, ibid). The company ventured into commercial television broadcasting on 6th December, 1996 with the establishment of Africa Independent Television (AIT). The company pioneered full-time 24- hour broadcasting on radio and television in Nigeria. And on October 7, 2008, DAAR Communications launched Nigeria’s first ever indigenously owned Direct-to-Home pay Television platform on High Definition (HD) with the launch of DAARSAT.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Attribution: Designation of the person being quoted. Also, the source of information in a story. Sometimes, information is given in a not-for-attribution basis.
Background: Material in a story that gives the circumstances surrounding or proceeding the event.
Beat: Area assigned to a reporter for regular coverage example police or government house. Blog: Electronic journal where people write about everything they want - news, politics, sports, music, movies, etc. It also contains links to other sites.
Cell Phone: Wireless mobile telephone that provides wide range of services including calls, short messages, GPRS, internet connections, etc.
Citizen Journalists: Ordinary citizens who become amateur reporters with the aid of easy to use cell phone equipped with digital video cameras and high speed internet access. Common Law: Law that has evolved over the years as accepted practice. Originating in England, common law is the application of the decisions of judges over time.
Common law is often called ‘discovered law’ because judges look to the past to discover a solution to a problem.
Copy: Written form in which a news story or other material is prepared.
Defamation: A process of exposing someone to a ridicule, disrepute, or shun by the right thinking members of the public through comment broadcast in electronic media or publication in newspaper or magazine.
Facebook: A social networking site that allows users to make friendship, get information about one another, as well as, their viewpoints on wide range of issues.
Feedback: The response receives to a given communication.
Flash Mobs (Sometimes called Smart Mobs): Large geographically dispersed groups connected only by communication technology, quickly drawn together to perform a collective action.
Folders: Are directories in a computer hard drive used to save documents.
Global Village: A concept coined by Herbert Marshall McLuhan which states that new communication technologies permit people to become increasingly involved in one another’s lives.
Hard News: News stories that help readers to make intelligent decisions and keep up with important issues. It is also referred to as spot news or live and current news in contrast to feature.
Information Super Highway: A phrase coined during the 1992 US presidential campaign by Vice Presidential candidate Al Gore. It generally refers to the convergence of television, telephone and computer technologies providing consumers with interactive data, entertainment and personal communication services.
Internet: A global network of interconnected computers that communicate freely and share and exchange information. It is also shortened as Net.
Internet Cafe: A place where internet services are provided at chargeable rates.
Internet Service Provider (ISP): A company that offers internet connections at monthly rates depending on the kind of service and amount of access needed.
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