ABSTRACT: The research set out to examine the impact of the internet on the practice of journalism using journalists in NTA Ile-Ife as a case study. The study was anchored on Technological Determination Theory emphasizing that as we move from old technology to the new ones, new technology influences the way we do things. A survey research method was used while the data collection instrument for this study was questionnaire. 150 respondents were purposively selected from the Nigerian Television Authority Ile-Ife. Findings showed that news gathering and dissemination, sound and audio editing, jingles and other related commercials are some of the areas in which the impact of ICTs have been felt in broadcast media and print media. Findings also indicated that modern communication technologies make journalism practice more lively and interactive, make news gathering and dissemination faster, help reduce human efforts and time, and also make the media more productive. Therefore, for media organizations to fully appreciate the impact of ICTs in performing their duties there is a need to ensure adequate training of members of staff, find a solution to epileptic power supply, and also avoid the transmission of false and unverified stories culled from online media.
Keywords: INTERNET ON THE PRACTICE OF JOURNALISM
1.1 Background to the study
Communication is a basic human need and for that reason, man has always found a means of satisfying this need. It is believed that no human society can function effectively if there is no exchange of ideas, experiences, etc between and among the people within the society since no man can live in isolation of others.
The earliest forms of trado-media, interpersonal and group forms of communication had the benefit of being easy to use and did not necessarily need complex technologies. The weaknesses of not being able to communicate to large audience led to the development of mass media such as: telegraph, newspapers, magazines, radio, television and to the recent Internet/ ICT/ Social media which has helped in broadening the scope of interpersonal and mass communication.
However, almost all human activities on earth have been revolutionized and witness tremendous change from its conventional process due to the advancement in information and communication technology especially the Internet in this 21st century. Hence, one of the human activities greatly influenced in this era are mode of communication, information dissemination and interaction. It has enhanced access to the people and information, it facilities quicker, cheaper and easier means of communication either interpersonal level or mass communication level
Kur (2004) cited in Awake (2002) posits that the dynamic nature of the 2ls century and more centuries to come rest on technological revolution. No wonder, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian English Professor in 1964 propounded the concept of “Global Village” regarding the entire globe as having the potentials of becoming a “global community” where information and news about anything and anywhere in the world would be readily available for anyone’s consumption in any part of the world, without mincing word, the impact of modern communication technology in achieving this feat cannot be underestimated.
It should be noted that the Internet (international network or inter-network) is behind all other modern communication technology that enables access to the entire people in the globe at a very fast, effective and efficient manner (Wikipedia, n.d).
However, as of January 2022, there were 4.76 billion active internet users worldwide which is 59.5 percent of the global population. Of this total, 92.6 percent (4.32 billion) accessed the internet via mobile phones (Joseph, 2021). In 2019, the number of internet users worldwide stood at 4.17 billion, which means that more than half of the global population is currently connected to the world wide web.
Also, as of the first quarter of 2021, China was ranked first among the countries with the most internet users. China had 854 million internet users, more than double the amount of third-ranked United States with just over 313 million internet users. Nigeria is now in 6th position worldwide with 126.8 million (Joseph, 2021).
The growing number of internet users is one of the factors responsible for media convergence i.e reading, viewing and watching news online practicable. For instance, the number of internet users in Nigeria has further increased to 93.4 million, according to a new report on Internet status in the country. The report obtained by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Meanwhile, with the growth of the Internet, access to news online became partially possible, this development has in no small way affected hardcopy newspapers and its circulation volumes while it equally enhance watching of news online.
However, as a result of this development, lots of undergraduates and unemployed graduates have turned online news into business by creating their news blogs, in fact, this phenomenon has made almost everybody a journalist “citizen journalist”.
Similarly, one of the common activities on the Internet is news reading or watching either on newspapers website or through bloggers including watching live and podcast news video on video-tube (Youtube), vloggers (video bloggers) on their computer, and smartphone.
In a recent research conducted by Laittos Multimedia and Research Institute-LMRI (2019) revealed that one of the reasons for online news popularity is because it is cheap and convenient comparing to purchase of a copy of newspaper everyday at N200 which become stale after some minute as new events breaks every hours (LMRI, 2019). It is against this background that the study examines the impact of internet on the practice of journalism with a focus on journalists in NTA Ile-Ife in order to know the extent at which ICTs is influencing their news gathering, processing and distribution.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Going by global trends, which foretell an increase in the employment and the deployment of ICTs in news processing, in order to achieve better efficiency, accuracy, and speed up operations of news processing. Arguably the employment of ICTs in the newsroom and in news processing activities will increase cost, as money would have to be invested into acquiring both hardware and software.
However, when Information and Communication Technology is discussed, it puts people out of jobs. The reverse is often the case. This technology takes over mechanical assignment and frees individuals for more intellectual productive work.
Similarly, if this technology will achieve its overall objective, there is need for faster and more accurate means of solving manual operations of data processing and better storage devices for information and data as provided by ICTs, the complexities of modern technology have produced great mathematical, scientific, and engineering problem and hence, enhanced news processing and reporting.
The Nigerian broadcast and print media like other facet of life and human endeavour in the country have embraced Information and Communication Technology to a large extent. It is against this background that the study examines the impact of internet on the practice of journalism with a focus on journalists in NTA Ile-Ife
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of internet on the practice of journalism. Thus, the other objectives this study are:
i. To examine the extent to which journalists in NTA Ile-Ife make use of the Internet and other ICT gadgets in their daily routine.
ii. To ascertain the type of Information and Communication Technology devices often used by the journalists at NTA Ile-Ife.
1.4 Research Questions
The research shall provide answers to the following questions:
i. To what extent are journalists in NTA Ile-Ife make use of the Internet and other ICT Gadgets in their daily routine?
ii. What type of Information and Communication Technology devices have journalists at NTA Ile-Ife often used in their daily routine?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The findings as a result of this study are expected to provide information that would help media organizations particularly broadcast stations improve with the use of the Internet and other ICTs as well as provide insight to NTA Ile-Ife station.
It will also help the station make necessary amends in the positive direction where they are found to be lacking behind and equally provide model for researchers and institutions of higher learning by serving as a reference point.
It would also help broadcasting stations tackle possible problems associated with the use of Information and Communication Technologies because of its technicality.
Future researchers and students will find the material relevant as it will add to the existing literature in the field of Mass Communication, Journalism and digital communication etc which they can lay hands on when carrying out researches similar to this.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study which investigated the impact of internet on the practice of journalism with a focus on journalists was narrowed in scope to the journalists of NTA Ile-Ife. Thus, the geographical location for this research is Osun State.
Other factor responsible for the selection of NTA Ile-Ife is due to proximity to the researcher. The demography of the journalists at NTA, Ile-Ife were considered before the structuring and distribution of research instrument to respondents, such factors include but not limited to the sex, age, marital status, educational level, knowledge of Internet/ICTs etc.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Impact: This refers to the contribution of the Internet to journalists’ daily routine especially in news gathering and dissemination.
Internet: In this research, the Internet refers to various internet applications or tools such as search engines, social media, video tubes etc that facilitate news gathering and dissemination in mass media outfits.
Practice of Journalism: This refers to the daily activities of journalists particularly news gatherings, news editing/fact checking, search for images that matches their news stories, following news brakers on social media particularly Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok.
NTA: This is the acronym for the Nigerian Television Authority.