ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of newspaper readership of fashion pages among university students. The study was anchored on Uses and Gratifications Theory. A cross-sectional survey research method was adopted and questionnaire was employed as data collection instrument. The respondents were selected using quota sampling technique. The data were analyzed in frequency and percentage method while the data were presented with the aid of tables. The results showed that students of UNILAG attached great importance to the reading of fashion stories and styles on the pages of the selected newspapers which are Sunday Punch, Sunday Vanguard and Sunday Sun. The result of this research further revealed that fashion page(s) on newspapers is one of the most read contents among students, as fashion is one of the most imitated acts in the world. The study however, recommended that newspaper publishers and editors should improve on the contents of their fashion page(s) in order to attract more readers to their publication.
Keywords: NEWSPAPER READERSHIP
1.1 Background of 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 life in any community.
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.
According to recent surveys and studies, the newspaper readership of fashion pages among students varies depending on factors such as age, gender, cultural background, and personal interests. Younger students, particularly those in high school or college, tend to be more interested in fashion and therefore more likely to read fashion pages in newspapers. However, older students who are more focused on their academic or professional pursuits may have less interest in fashion and be less likely to read those pages (Stefanie and Nathan, 2018).
However, gender also plays a role in newspaper readership of fashion pages. Traditionally, females have been the primary readers of fashion pages, and this trend continues today. Also, more and more males are showing an interest in fashion, and as a result, they are becoming more frequent readers of fashion pages in newspapers (Crabtree, Roberts and Tyler, 2007).
Equally, cultural background also impact the readership of fashion pages among students. Those from cultures that place a high value on fashion and personal appearance may be more likely to read those pages, while those from cultures with different priorities may be less likely to do so (Crabtree, Roberts and Tyler, 2007).
Meanwhile, personal interests and hobbies can influence whether or not a student reads fashion pages in newspapers. Those who enjoy fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics are more likely to read those pages, while those who are not interested in those topics may choose to skip over them. The newspaper readership of fashion pages among students varies depending on a range of factors, but tends to be higher among younger students, females, and those with an interest in fashion and lifestyle topics (Crisp, Palmer, Turnbull, Netelbeck, and Ward, 2009).
Hence, fashion pages can also provide students with a wealth of knowledge about fashion trends, designers, and industry news. This can be especially helpful for students studying fashion or pursuing careers in the fashion industry. By reading fashion pages, students can stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and styles. This can be particularly important for students who want to be seen as fashionable or trendsetters among their peers (Crisp, Palmer, Turnbull, Netelbeck, and Ward, 2009).
Thus, newspaper fashion pages can also provide exposure to different cultures and fashion traditions from around the world. This can help students develop a broader perspective and appreciation for diversity in fashion and culture. Overall, newspaper fashion pages can have a significant impact on students’ fashion sense, knowledge, and purchasing behavior. However, it’s important for students to be critical consumers of media and make informed decisions about their personal style and spending habits (Crosling, Heagney and Thomas, 2009). It is against this background the study investigates newspaper readership of fashion pages among UNILAG university students.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Many students especially who are from poor background find it difficult to buy a copy of newspaper at the rate of 150 naira each and if they are to buy two newspapers, it will cost them 300 naira daily therefore, i.e 300 x 30 = 9000 in a month. However, because of their financial incapacity, they resort to looking for a newspaper stand where they can read freely or pay just a token amount of money like 20 to 50 naira to read as many newspapers as possible. Other contributing factors is the fact that people can now read newspapers on a daily basis on internet as news now available online as they break.
The era of newspaper readership is gradually fading-out, this is due to the presence of the overwhelming increase in the number of social media users and the benefits inherent in it. Newspapers, magazines and other forms of print media has been referred to as the traditional media, while the new varies of applications available on the internet (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Whatsapp and Instagram, e.t.c) has been referred to as new media. Most of the die-hard readers of this ‘traditional media’ only read some of these newspapers because of some of their contents which may not be found on social media platforms. Fashion is one of the few contents that readers jostle to read on pages of newspapers, this can be seen on most of the Sunday titles or publications.
This research therefore intends to assess the readership of fashion page(s) of Sunday Punch, Sunday Vanguard and Sunday Sun newspapers among students of University of Lagos, so as to know specifically if fashion Page(s) is one of the few pages that attracts more audience to newspapers readership which may further give them prominence, edge and recognition among the numerous publications available.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Since the objective of conducting any research is to depict dark area(s) of what has been known or unknown, this work intends:
- To examines the extent to which UNILAG students read fashion pages on newspapers.
- To be certain on some of the factor (s) that motivates Unilag students towards reading fashion pages in newspapers ?
1.4 Research Questions
Efforts are made in this research study to provide answers to the following questions;
- To what extent do do UNILAG students read fashion pages on newspapers?
- What factor (s) motivates Unilag students towards reading of fashion pages in newspapers?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The result of this research will allow newspaper publishers to know the impact their publications have on readers. It will also help them to improve on their publications in the areas most applicable to readers. It will further enable practitioners to know the most preferred newspapers and put them on their toes in the cause of putting on their best.
However, the study will also be relevant to students, academician and those who want to engage in similar topic. This will invariably allow such researchers to critically analyze the weak area(s) of the work and at the same time make further correction(s) for the purpose of future research. It will also expose the influence of new media otherwise known as online news and social media on the circulation of traditional newspaper copies.
Also, media workers are often skeptical about what the circulation figures of their newspaper this is about the main way of knowing a newspaper’s performance rating in the market.
It will help publishers improve their publications in areas most applicable to readers. It will also enable practitioners to know the most preferred newspapers. It will form bulk material in the field of mass communication, journalism, among others, where future researcher can take a clue when written in aspect that related to this.
1.6 Scope of the Study
Although the primary objective of this research project is to assess the influence of newspaper readership of fashion page(s) among University of Lagos students. The geographical location of this study is Unilag, Lagos. The choice of UNILAG is due to the proximity to the researcher, inadequate time, fund and logistics.
Efforts will be made in looking at the demographic factors of students of UNILAG who are mainly the respondents that will responds to the questionnaire that will be supplied. Experience, Computer Literacy rate, Age, Sex, e.t.c will be considered before the distribution of research instrument.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Newspaper: It is a periodic publication, which carries news, fashion, advert e. t. c and are circulated usually daily such as Sunday Punch, Sunday Vanguard and Sunday Sun newspaper respectively.
News: It is an issue or event of public interest reported in newspapers.
Readers: These are the set of students that do read newspapers often.
Assessment: This is an act of critically looking into a situation, so as to know more about it and further adjust if the need be. i.e critically examine the extent at which UNILAG students read fashion pages on the selected newspapers.
Newspapers Readership: These are the newspaper readers usually among the UNILAG students.
UNILAG: It is an acronym for University of Lagos in Akoka, Lagos State.