INFLUENCE OF NEWS BLOGGERS ON JOURNALISTS IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT: The study analyzing the influence of news bloggers on journalists in Nigeria. The emergence, proliferation and advancement in information and communication technology have brought about social media, blogging and other digital platforms that have revolutionalised the practice of journalism not only in Nigeria but throughout the world. The research was anchored on Technological Determinism and Diffusion of Innovation Theory. The survey research method was used coupled with the questionnaire as a data collection instrument. The sample size for this research was sixty (60) journalists who were purposively drawn from NUJ, Press Centre, Osogbo and another 5 bloggers that responded to the e-mail questionnaire. The data were collected face to face and online via a google form that was sent to the bloggers’ email and Whatsapp. However, frequency and percentage were used to analyse the data. Findings show that blogging has reshaped the practice of journalism largely especially in the area of breaking news, interactivity, high feedback, multimedia contents development, live reporting, social sharing of contents, breaking the government monopoly and hegemony as citizens are no longer consumers of information but are now active as generators of information. It was recommended that blogging, online journalism and multimedia journalism should as a matter of urgency be added to the curriculum of polytechnics, universities and other related schools to enable graduates familiar with the neatly gritty of the new media.


news bloggers

CHAPTER ONE

1.0       Introduction

1.1       Background to the Study

The advancement of information and communication technology has revolutionalized all facts of human activities including communication, interaction and politics among others. Kur (2014) in Awake Magazine, (2002) posits that the dynamic nature of the 21st 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 potential 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 (Christopher, 2012).

According to Vangie (2015) as of August 07, 2015, there were an estimated three billion one hundred seventy-nine million, thirty-five thousand two hundred (3,638,255,378) Internet users worldwide. The number of Internet users represents nearly 40 percent of the world’s population. The world population is below 7.4 billion with the projection that more than 5 billion people will be online by 2020. (CiCso, 2015). The largest number of Internet users by country is China, followed by the United States and India in September 2014. Today Nigeria is in 7th position worldwide, the total number of websites with a unique hostname online exceeded 1 billion.

Journalism is the act of reporting, editing and presentation of newsworthy events to the general or specific audience depending on the focus of the newspaper, radio or television outfit. The earlier media in Nigeria is newspapers before the arrival of radio, television, magazine and the recent internet (Alao, 2016).

However, there were no blogs or bloggers in Nigeria until about ten years and more proliferation in some five years ago. The major source of information for the public before the internet is the mainstream media i.e radio, television, newspaper etc. But after blogs sprouted about ten years ago, the media landscape has greatly changed and redefined because people can now access information on the go, either in their home and office, in fact, practically everywhere and anytime information from far and near can be accessed, uploaded and shared with a click of mouse and a tough of screen.    

Today, there are lots of blogs and bloggers offering varied information to the public that include general news and articles on topics like food, gossip, real estate, technology, fashion, politics, education, children, beauty, society, sport and humour.

The bloggers have become a permanent fixture in the media scene that Nigeria frequent the sites regularly in search of information. The blogs have certainly taken part of the space newspapers, TV and radio occupied as sources of information, particularly on the internet. Google Internet Zeitgeist report (2013) on Nigeria online searches points to this fact. In 2013, the Google report showed that Daily Nation (mainstream media) topped the list of most-searched news websites in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, since the emergence of the new media/ internet has blurred the professionalism and news credibility because of the disappearance of gatekeeper and poor internet law and polices implementation which give citizen access to gather and disseminate what they feel without ethical and legal consideration. While mainstream media may dominate dissemination of news outside the internet, blogs have become popular forms of online communication as the number of people who read news via the internet increases.

NCC (2016) puts the number of Nigerians who have access to the internet as at March 2017 at 100,121.6 million out of about 180 million population.

The warm reception of blogs and bloggers by audiences is an indication that the sites have added diversity to news reporting, freedom of expression and have expanded the practice of citizen journalism, which initially was limited to use of mobile phones to pass breaking news to journalists in mainstream media houses.

In fact, what the mainstream media will be covering are already in the public domain offers by the blogger. Even election results report that used to be the sole role of the traditional mass media are now in the hand of bloggers and citizen writers who use social media to share the result batch by batch as the election progress.

It is imperative to note, therefore, that bloggers and blogs are reducing the influence traditional media used to have on agenda setting, educating, entertaining and informing the public (McCombs, 1999). To adapt to the new media environment, according to US The State of the News Media (2005) report; “Journalists must aspire in the new media landscape to be the one source that can best help citizens discover what to believe and what to disbelieve – a shift from the role of gatekeeper to that of authenticator or referee.

And to do that, news organizations have to make some significant changes; rather than merely monitoring the official corridors of power, news organizations may need to monitor the new alternative means of public discussion as well.”While the traditional mass media should offers most effective and authoritative news angles through their online platforms. It will be ridiculous for a mainstream media with over 50 reporters and other staff to remain offline but rather plug to the internet to reach out to millions of people because radio and television are already restricted by the bandwidth while newspaper is limited by the circulation and audience”.

To this end, the research analyzing the increasing competition between news bloggers and traditional journalists with a few to ensure the level of competition, perceptions and collaboration within the news spheres.

1.2       Statement of the problem

Bloggers have become a key feature in today’s media environment, growing in number and influence in communication and (mass) media discourse (Baresch et al, 2011). Audiences are increasingly turning to blogs for news and information, with some bloggers outshining established media houses in breaking stories and allowing users to interact with them freely.

The bloggers rising influence has made them be acknowledged as key participants in providing news and information in the changing media environment, where the internet is becoming the main tool of communication. There is growing concern on the role of the bloggers in dissemination of information. This is particularly because most of them are not trained journalists, they operate outside many laws that govern journalistic practice, for instance, the one’s covering right to privacy and defamation and most of the time they offer information that is not verified.

It is against this background that the research analyzing the increasing competition between news bloggers and traditional journalists with a few to ensure the level of competition, perceptions and collaboration within the news spheres.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

i.          To determine the impact of the blogging on the practice of journalism?

ii.         To verify whether news bloggers do more harm or good to journalism.

1.4       Research Questions

i.          What are the impacts of the blogging on the practice of journalism?

ii.         To what extent are news bloggers doing more harm or good to journalism?

1.5       Significance of the study

This study provides information that would help to understand the relationship between bloggers and journalists. It sheds light on perceptions of journalists towards bloggers, who are seemingly taking over their work. It will helps to know what motivates Nigerian bloggers, their role in the changing media environment, how they perceive their roles and their views about mainstream journalists.

The study affords newspaper organizations the opportunity to work out modalities with a view to know what type of information people are seeking online and how to meet this gratification. It exposes more people to the existence of online news especially how to determine credible sources. This will turn to boost the awareness and facilitate the patronage of online news especially among people.

Government through its various agencies such as NBC, BON among other see more reasons and techniques on how to regulate the online bloggers to prevent hate word and spreading propaganda that can mislead people. 

Future researchers and students will find the material relevant as it will form bulk literature that exists in the field of mass communication, journalism and digital communication etc that they can lay hands on when carrying out research related or similar to this.

Its findings generate debate on the work of bloggers and journalists in this era of rising internet use and stimulate further research on the subject. More importantly, the research provides and add knowledge in the area under study.

1.6       Scope of the Study

This study has been narrowed down in scope to the journalists and bloggers in Osogbo. The reason for selecting Osun state is due to its proximity to the researcher while it will also be difficult to study all journalists and bloggers in Nigeria due to time, funds and other logistics.   

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Analysing: This means to carefully examine whether there is increasing competition between news blogger and mainstream media.

Competition: This refers to the situation on whether news bloggers and journalists seen each other as rival. 

Blogger– A blogger is considered as a person who runs a blog. While on some blogs anyone can post information, the blogger engages in the overall running of the page and sometimes he is the one who started it. Ospolyinandout.com, eyewitnessng.com etc.

Traditional Journalists – These are trained journalists in Nigeria as different from blogger who either work as fulltime staff or a traditional media or part times with the responsibility of news gathering.


“INFLUENCE OF NEWS BLOGGERS ON JOURNALISTS IN NIGERIA


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