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INFLUENCE OF GATEKEEPERS IN NEWS CREDIBILITY OF A BROADCAST MEDIA

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ABSTRACT: The research appraised the influence of gatekeepers in news credibility of broadcast media with a focus on Radio Lagos 107.5 FM. The study was anchored on Source Credibility Theory. Survey research method was adopted while questionnaire was employed as data collection instrument. The data collected were analysed using frequency and percentage. From the findings, it is clear that the role of gatekeepers cannot be overemphasized as it determines the quality of the media output or message. If the gatekeepers perform well, the integrity and reputation of the media will be effective. It is therefore recommended that media outfit should be employed qualified people that will be saddled with the role of opening and closing of information gate. Seminars and workshops should be continuous activities i.e. training and retraining of staff are essential. Media library should be updated and upgraded all the time because media practitioners are expected to know everything about something and something about everything. Media owners should allow the media managers and staff to operate freely so that the integrity of such organization will be higher.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study                                                                

            Broadcast media plays a pivotal role in shaping public opinion, disseminating information, and providing a window to the world’s events Online Editor, 2018). In this digital age, where information flows rapidly and abundantly, the credibility of news sources has become increasingly important. Gatekeepers, the individuals and organizations responsible for selecting, curating, and presenting news to the public, have a profound influence on the credibility of news in broadcast media (Nielsen, Corniaand Kalogeropoulos, 2016).

            However, gatekeepers in broadcast media are responsible for deciding which news stories make it to the airwaves and how they are presented to the audience. These gatekeepers include editors, producers, news directors, and media owners, among others. Their role is to filter through the vast amount of information available and make decisions that reflect the interests of their audience, their organization’s values, and often, their own biases (Nielsen, Corniaand Kalogeropoulos, 2016).

            Hence, gatekeepers determine which stories are newsworthy and deserving of airtime. This decision-making process can influence the public’s perception of what is important and relevant. The choices made by gatekeepers can result in the omission of important stories or the overemphasis of certain issues. For instance, a study by Wahl-Jorgensen (2007) found that gatekeepers in the U.S. media often prioritize sensational or celebrity-driven stories over more substantive news, impacting the overall credibility of news sources.

            Gatekeepers also influence news credibility through framing, the way a story is presented and the context provided. The framing of a news story can shape how audiences interpret the information. For example, the framing of a political event as a “debate” versus a “confrontation” can influence public perceptions (Ullah and Jan, 2021).

            Gatekeepers’ personal biases and the editorial stance of their organizations can impact news credibility. While objectivity is a fundamental journalistic principle, it is challenging to achieve in practice due to inherent biases. Gatekeepers must strive to balance their own perspectives with the need for impartial reporting. The news bias can erode the credibility of a news outlet if it is perceived as favoring one political ideology over another (Ullah and Jan, 2021).

            Media ownership also plays a significant role in determining news credibility. When media outlets are owned by a small number of conglomerates or individuals, the potential for a concentration of power and influence becomes evident. Gatekeepers working under such ownership may face pressures to align their news content with the owner’s interests. In today’s digital landscape, gatekeepers face new challenges as social media platforms allow for the rapid dissemination of news and information. The speed of information sharing and the prevalence of user-generated content challenge the traditional gatekeeping role (Ashley, Poepsel and Willis, 2010).

            Gatekeepers in broadcast media wield significant influence over news credibility by making critical decisions about story selection, framing, bias, and ownership. These gatekeepers have the power to shape public perceptions, impact social discourse, and influence political agendas. In an era of increasing concern about fake news and information manipulation, it is crucial for gatekeepers to uphold the principles of journalistic integrity and objectivity to maintain the credibility of broadcast media (Ashley, Poepsel and Willis, 2010).

            It should be noted that news credibility is often determine by how well is gatekept, that is why, till date people still believe in the traditional mass media like TVC, Channels, and AriseTV etc because they command many array of gatekeepers who expands, limit and further explain their news programmes when the need arises. It is against this background that the study appraised the influence of gatekeepers in news credibility of broadcast media with a focus on Radio Lagos 107.5 FM.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The major problems facing the Nigerian press arise from ignorance and negligence on the part of the gatekeepers. It is even universally believed that anybody who possesses the talent irrespective of his education can practice journalism, we can see people from different fields such as English Language, History, Economic, Accountancy e.t.c. to name just a few.

Although, eloquent at speech and skillful at grammar without journalism, he or she may not practice according to the ethics of the profession. Many Nigerian press especially citizen journalists are half baked because they undergo meager education.

Another worthy problem facing the Nigerian press men is their negligence to their duties. Most of the news aired or published nowadays is not well edited, some news which can bring hatred and tribal crisis in the country are still being published. It is against this background that the study appraised the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media with a focus on Radio Lagos 107.5 FM.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

i.     To determine the extent at which gatekeepers impacted on news credibility of Radio Lagos 107.5 FM.

ii.    To ascertain how has gatekeepers impacted on news credibility of Radio Lagos 107.5 FM.?

1.4       Research Questions

i.     To what extent has gatekeepers impacted on news credibility of Radio Lagos 107.5 FM.?

ii.    How has gatekeepers impacted on news credibility of Radio Lagos 107.5 FM.?

1.5       Scope of the Study

The study which appraised the impact of gatekeepers in news credibility of a broadcast media was narrowed in scope to Radio Lagos 107.5 FM in Lagos state because it will be difficult if not impossible to visit the entire media houses in Lagos State. Inadequate fund, time and other logistics are some of the other rationale for limiting the scope of this study to Radio Lagos 107.5 FM.

1.6       Significance of the Study

This study will go a long way in helping researcher, student of journalism, students, lecturers and people studying mass communication and the large public to follow the way or make use of this research topic to know the way they will follow to their respective research.

This study has shown what it takes to become a gate keeper, informing the public and editors that the gate keepers are the fourth estate of the realm if they perform their duties, roles and right from coping, to the dissemination of the information to the public and editors.

 1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Appraisal: This means to evaluate the impact of gatekeepers in ensuring in news credibility.

Gatekeepers: These are people that protect wrong information from getting to the public.

News credibility: In this study, it means audience’s confidence in news messages.

Broadcast media: This refers electronic transmission of programmes such news. Radio and television fall in to this category


“INFLUENCE OF GATEKEEPERS IN NEWS CREDIBILITY OF A BROADCAST MEDIA


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Format = MS Word, Price = ₦4000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 52, References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes


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