AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF SUN GIRL PAGE IN DAILY SUN NEWSPAPER (A STUDY OF WARRI READER’S)

extract from chapter one

CHAPTER ONE

1.0       Introduction

1.1       Background to the Study

            Newspapers provide up-to-date information on local, state/provincial, national, and world issues, it also update readers through its news, gist, articles, sport, fashion and style pages. They are among the most widely-read periodicals that are available and accessible to the vast majority of people of all ages and walks of most cities particularly the elites.

            Newspaper, according to Ewuola (2010) is a daily record of events. It is a journal that reports daily occurrences. It is published and circulated daily. According to section 22 of the Newspaper Act of 1958, a newspaper is any paper containing public news, intelligence or any remarks, observations and comments, thereon printed for sale and published periodically in parts or numbers.

            The most current analysis and criticism of politics, economics, health, religion, sports, fashion and style, psychological and emotional issues, music, theatre, television, the fine arts, and even comics are covered by newspapers. Ola and Ojo (2007) reiterate that, “newspapers are important because they carry current information and they keep the readers informed of events and happenings within and outside their immediate environments. They are useful for education, recreation, entertainment and relaxation.” News is written as a way of disseminating information to a large group of people. Reporters and editors are usually conscious of the language they use in news reportage to attract popular readership.

            However, there are more than 10 popular dailies in Nigeria (The Punch, Guardian, Nigeria Tribune, Leadership, The Trust, The Nation, Vanguard, Daily Trust, Daily Independent etc) each of this newspaper has its own makeup, varieties of columns and personality that make them differ from another even with mere looking at them talkless of opening them.  

            Daily Sun newspaper is one of the frontline newspapers in Nigeria especially in voicing the views and opinions of the south. Sun Publishing Limited is the publisher of the Daily Sun newspaper that commenced operations in 2003 with its Corporate Head Office in Lagos and several regional and states offices cross Nigeria. One of the issues has continued to beg answer is in the Daily Sun Newspaper publication is her “Sun Girl Page” which is the focus of this study

            Sun Girl is a pin- up-girl feature in one of Nigeria’s daily newspapers, Daily Sun. A pin-up girl is a female model whose pictures or drawings are featured in the print media. It is sometimes referred to as pin-up model. Initially, pin-  up  pictures  were  photographs  of  pretty  women  which  were  hanged  or  ‘pinned-up’  in  a  room  for  all  to admire. Currently, the print media all over the world use them as feature content in publications Ifeduba and Edoga (2016) in (Frank, 2014).

            Use  of  pin-up  girls  by  Nigerian  newspapers  has  always  raised  questions  bordering  on  social responsibility. The Punch had introduced the first Page-3-Girl in March, 1973 and Vanguard briefly in 1984. Readers’ complaints and the subsequent removal of the contents of the pages from these two tabloids seemed to create the impression that the newspapers were responding to readers’ sensibilities and preferences. Then, Daily Sun Page-3 Girl was introduced with the first issue of the Daily Sun in 2003. Fashioned after a similar concept in The Sun, a newspaper published in London, the page was daily filled with scantily clothed ladies, with names, telephone numbers and email addresses displayed. After nearly 10 years, and having achieved popularity that motivated other newspapers (Soccer Star, Daily Telegraph and Saturday Guardian) to adopt the concept with modifications, the Sun Girl had a surprising makeover on August 10, 2013 (Ayo, 2013, Wikipedia, 2014) cited in Ifeduba and Edoga (2016).

            The Page-3 Sun Girl concept was redefined to depict the Sun Girl as one with intelligence, unique looks, good and respectable dress sense and a likeable personality.  The new concept is built around a beauty pageant  in  which bikinis and runways are outlawed and  winners are chosen  monthly  by voting readers. The pageant  is  open  to  readers between  the  age  of  18  and 26,  and  shortlisted  girls,  representing  the  36  states  of Nigeria, compete at the regional level. Winners from the regional contests, then, participate in the grand finale. In November, 2014, the first winner of the remodelled contest emerged (Adesina, 2014) in (Ifeduba and Edoga, 2016).

            Some of the Sun Girls that have been used as Sun Girl either in their hardcopy newspaper or Sun Online News blog are: Awotula Taiwo (19th June 2017), Okon Mary (18th June 2017), Amaka Peters (17th June 2017), Catherine Joe (16th June 2017), Jenifer Amanda (14th June 2017), Aigbe Osano Chelsea (14th June 2017), Peculiar Felix (13th June 2017), Stephanie Kelechi ( 12th June 2017), Hamudalat  (11th June 2017), Promise Kenny (10th June 2017) (Daily Sun, 2017).

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