This study was carried out to evaluate the medium for news and information dissemination using ICT Based Media and Print Media with usage factors (such as affordability, urgency or immediacy, availability, reliability, interactivity etc.) that influence audience readership in Nigeria. Using a survey approach, we were able to establish the fact the print media is dwindling and concluded that more than being preferred, the ICT based media with the advent of the internet has made the news or information media industries the most preferable and more of a social life that the readership audience have adopted as an opportunity to globally sought after news in diverse media, an advantageous factor that has paved the audience to ICT based from print media as a usable source of information or news dissemination in Nigeria.
The readership audience seems to have lost the societal value of reading the print media newspaper as the worth a reader gets from reading has been traded for instant gratification: drifting away from the traditional ways of getting news and information for the digital generation using the internet or ICT related with an irreversible impact burring information medium cyberspaces. The usage of print media and ICT based media on gathering reports and dissemination of news across the globe (specifically in Nigeria) cannot be over emphasized as the internet has revolutionized such industry. It is presumed that the radical changes brought in the aspect of communication through information and communication technology’s revolution has affected immensely the dissemination of news in every nation around the globe.
Both the ICT based and print media have help bring information closer to the audience (consumers: readers) from different sources; media, vendors, etc. As news spread is vastly becoming cheaper and faster with increased adoption of ICT in dissemination, this study investigates investigated the factors that influences news and information media and comparatively looking at their usage regarding these factors with the intent to make reccomendations. Such recommendations would help improve the performance and quality of information (hard:print or electronic:online) disseminated within and outside the nation.
2. BACKGROUND AND LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Nigeria News Media: Print Media and ICT Based Media
Nigeria with more than 60 news media (online) is a developing country with a fairly well-established media industry, where the enhanced awareness of the role of the media in development has been demonstrated by the current steep rise in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in varied social processes worldwide (Jibo and Okoosi-Simbine, 2003). The most frequently used sources of information broadcast in Nigeria are radio and television, with radio being by far the most important and television the next most important as an ICT tool. Newspapers and magazines are also frequently the source of in-depth information for the literate who can afford them with respect to print media. Most internet users employ the internet based medium for awareness of information, dissemination and communication by email and research and also for news. Verbal exchange of information is also an increasingly important source of information, especially with the advent of smart mobile phones as noted in Osafo-Kwako and Apampa (2009) quoting Nosaze (2008).
2.2 Audience Readership via the Print Media Usage
The essence of news dissemination to a large audience (audience readership) by print media is to inform, to interpret the news, to entertain, and to provide a service to readers. This essence is dwindling in the print media sector today, as it was observed by Ganiyu and Akinreti (2011) that there are at least 400 print titles of varying formats in Nigeria, out of this number, 216 are newspapers, 63 magazines, 44 interest magazines, 16 vernacular publications and 16 religious publications. Some of these newspapers are owned by the government but majority by private individuals. The Nigerian newspapers include esteemed dailies, well-liked tabloids and periodicals that defend the welfare of ethnic groups in Nigeria. The Punch was ranked number one selling national daily with circulation of about 34,264 copies, The Sun ranked third with 25,632 unit sales. Vanguard got 25,241, while Guardian and Thisday came 5th and 6th respectively, with 25,222 and 21,703 daily sales. Daily Trust, the most popular newspaper up North has 11,672 daily unit sales. Tribune, the oldest surviving newspaper in Nigeria, was another surprise, managing only 8,314 daily sales. The above mentioned dailies constitute what is known as the top 8 in the standing while others could barely rake up 1,600 daily sales as disclosed by Abdulraheem et al (2012). Ekeng quoted in Abdulraheem et al (2012) noted that circulation decline is a global phenomenon as the newspaper industry in America, Europe and even Asia is also affected. This, I believe he meant, is primarily due to the impact of Internet, which guarantees quick news for free, revealing with references to the 2010 national report by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), the daily sales figure of all the newspapers was less than 300,000, meaning that only one in every 470 Nigerians buy newspapers daily as the stockpile of unsold copies of newspapers and magazines presently in the circulation departments of most print media organizations is a vivid sign of this challenge. The future of newspaper in Nigeria might go extinct in the nearest future unless the print media braced up to the challenges posed by the new media.
2.3 Audience Readership via Internet or ICT Based Media Usage
The Internet is becoming the dominant force in the information world, transforming the ways in which information is aggregated, stored, searched, disseminated and retrieved. As purported by Song et al (2010), it’s a major force behind information technology to represent the most significant change in the media market during the past decades. In addition, Campbell et al (2009) noted that the Internet is facilitating the convergence of media forms, “the process whereby old and new media are available via the integration of personal computers and high-speed satellite-based phone or cable links”. These technology components according to Egbokhare and Oliha (2013) are the most overwhelming given the ever expanding number of technology offerings and alternatives.
Also with the advent of smart mobile phones emerging as multiple-use device for calls, e-mails, Internet browsing, and GPS navigation, Ekuobase and Oliha (2013) noted that without the usability factor in technological advancement towards our everyday activities, it’s just another technical problem, and these transformational developments tend to leave very little for a newspaper to do”. Virtually all print media of Nigerian newspapers have been adapting themselves to this new media age of online newspaper edition and mobile phone newspapers, given the fact that a certain reader can communicate with a large network of audience. The list of online print media or ICT based news media is available at http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/nigeria.
The print media’s newspapers have exerted the greatest influence thus ensuring the most up-to date information and readability by individuals with varying reading abilities as and when they like. Adding to this fact, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, the Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard Newspapers, argued that the print media was evolving, that in spite of the influx of new technologies, it was still regarded as one of the most trusted sources of information by many Nigerians. He noted that though the new media presently provided various platforms of communicating, a lot of Nigerians were not sophisticated enough to take full advantage of the new technology. He therefore argued that instead of being a threat, the online media platform would only complement the efforts of the print media to survive (Abdulraheem et al, 2012). That being said, many factors seem to have contributed to the dwindling of print media as most adults when younger lacked the enthusiasm to even read books, let alone newspapers (literacy).
The activities of vendors are not also helping matters whereby many of them encourage the free readers’ syndrome, where you can read as many newspapers as possible for a token which goes into the vendor’s pocket. Again he noted that most editors do not connect to the reading public through their publications which in most cases lacks depth and quality content that serves the majority. There is also that of interactivity, affordability, availability, accessibility amongst others. Communication of information seems to be the nut of the shell why there is different readership medium. In this sense, the news or information medium can influence the reader’s choice of usage and based on this theory, this study steeps to comparatively explore the usage of print media and Internet or ICT based media for news dissemination in Nigeria.
3. RESEARCH DESIGN AND APPROACH
The research design is a form of descriptive survey with a systematic approach to collect comparative data through questionnaire on the usage of print media and Internet or ICT based media for news and information dissemination with the intent of presenting results that would help brace the gap that may arise from the vast transformation by new media technologies, if it exists actually. Data were captured via the research instrument from a sample size of four hundred (400) participants in the metropolis city of the heart-beat of the nation (Benin City – Edo State, Nigeria) and the University of Benin as the targeted population, which may be considered a somewhat good representation forming the sampled population of this study due to the diversity of commuters, inhabitants, staff, and students that cut across all states in Nigeria.
3.1 Presentation of Data, Findings and Result Analysis
A total of 400 questionnaires were administered to the participants by the researchers. Analyzing with a simple percent count (needless of complex calculations) it was an acceptable response rate as 396 (99%) were deemed valid and used for this study. The demographic findings exposed that majority of the participants 328 (84.3%) were within the age group of 20 – 35 years and other were above 35 years and other were above 35 years as 268 (67.7%) were males and 128 (32.3%) females giving a ratio of about 2:1. On the query of literacy, about 36 (9.1%) participants had WASSCE as their highest level of education while 156 (39.4%) were undergraduates and majority of them 204 (51.5%) were graduates, indicating that the majority of the participants who are graduates were prone to be more of the readership audience at the time these data were collected.
Data presented on Table 3.1 evaluated participants on the comparative construct of news and information media in Nigeria between print media and Internet or ICT based media. Responding to the query of participants awareness of both media (print and ICT base), findings revealed they were aware of the various news and information dissemination media as majority of the respondents 254 (about 64%) preferred the ICT based news media as their most sought after usage medium for news dissemination and information gathering compared to print media with about 36%. It also revealed that the ICT based media dominated the print media on the query of most preferable source of accessing the information or news with 226 (about 57%) to 170 (about 43%) but with respect to information or news service quality, a significant number of the participants 272 (about 69%) preferred print media to ICT based with a total amount of 124 (about 31%).
From some of the selected factors that determine media usage form their perpetual readership audience, the query item four (4) on the questionnaire determined the comparative usage choice as it most suit them where about 210 (53%) preferred ICT based media with respect to the query of affordable cost, about 234 (59%) on that of information urgency or news immediacy, about 246 (62%) on that of access to a wider range of news or information “searchability”, about 354 (89%) on the query of interactivity, about 224 (57%) on that of availability, and about 230 (50%) on the query of convenience but about 272 (69%) on the query of indepth and quality information or news and about 258(65%) on reliable source of news and information of the respondents preferred mostly the print media compared to ICT based media. These findings showed an indication that the respondents regarded the ICT based news media usage as their most sought after medium for accessing information and news dissemination compared to print media but in respect of in-depth quality information and reliability, the print media was most preferred.
Table 3.2 presents information on respondent’s comparative usage impression regarding the print media and ICT based media thereby collapsing the indicators: highly satisfied and satisfied together as one indicator ‘satisfied’ making also highly dissatisfied and dissatisfied becoming ‘Dissatisfied’ with the intention to know how satisfied they are with the usefulness of both media in accessing news or information. Responding to the query of the overall usage impression, a total of 254 (244 + 10) about 64.1% were satisfied, 44 (11.1%) were indifferent in their usage perceptions, and 98 (64 + 34) about 24.8% were dissatisfied on their overall impression on ICT based media usage. On the other hand, it was a mere satisfactory for the print media as majority of the respondents 174 (142 + 32) that is about 44% were dissatisfied as 164 (16 + 148) that is about 41.4% while 58 (14.7%) were unable to remark their impression on their overall impression on print media usage. Clearly, the readership audiences were more satisfied with their overall impression on the usage of ICT based media for news and information dissemination compared to their mere satisfaction with print media.
It was the scope of this study to comparatively explore the usage of print media and Internet or ICT based media for news dissemination in Nigeria form the view of readership audience to help brace the gap that exists in the print media industry due to the vast transformation of new media technologies. Needless of complex analysis, the outcome of this study has revealed that there is more usage of ICT based media for news and information sources which has gained an uprising chart over the years but created a dwindling gap for that of print media. From our findings, this dwindling may have resulted from many factors as it is apparent that the readership audience wanted more media interactivity with respect to urgency, an avenue where they can sort after information, read it, share their thoughts and expect similar ideas from a wide range of audience. The ICT based media gained more preferences as one can easily read similar information from different sources online for just a token on internet enabled phones at a suitable convenience due to their availability nature of information that breaks faster online than in print media’s newspapers or magazine, which comes the next day or weekly. One of the implication that has increased the dwindling of the print media is that of source or channel of distribution “the vendors” who today do not majorly promote the print media but encourage the audience to read as many newspapers or magazines for a token of money instead of buying. Although many print media owners are now evolving with the curve the internet has brought in to news media business, but this gap is yet to be bridged unless the print media braced up to these challenges, their readership audience in Nigeria might go extinct in the nearest future.
5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The results are obvious as they clearly showed that the rate at which ICT or internet based media has burred in the print media for news dissemination is becoming vast with the arrival of new media technologies day in day out. Determining with the factors selected from the research instrument, the ICT based media was preferred in most except for the factor of reliability of source of news or information that is believed may have been the reason for Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, the Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard Newspapers, to have argued that the print media in spite of the influx of new technologies, was still regarded as one of the most trusted sources of information by many readership audience. It is reasonable to conclude that more than being influential, the ICT based media with the advent of the internet has made the news or information media industries more of a social life (an opportunity to globally sought after news in diverse media), an advantageous factor that has paved the audience from print media usage as source of information or news dissemination in Nigeria.
To this end, this study has shown how ICT has improved with technologies, in promoting the widespread usage of news media and information dissemination in Nigeria and far beyond. It ends by recommends that print media can improve on their service quality to ensure its survival in this age of continuous technological trends, and also the introduction of the internet, social networks sites and online journalism to both print and Internet/ICT based media industries, for easy accessibility, availability and readability of news and information to a larger and different readership audience thereby increasing usability and profits to such media service providers.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Festus O. Oliha is presently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. He is also a member of ACM and IEEE Computer Society with interest in Distributed Computing Technologies: web services, applications and solutions
Solomon Arthur is presently a M.Sc. holder and a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, Kings Polytechnic, Ubiaja, Edo State, Nigeria. He has interest in Security metrics for web technologies and applications.
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Categories: Leadership in Print Media