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HISTORY OF THE NIGERIAN MASS MEDIA

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            What is today’s known as mass media in Nigeria came chronologically i.e from one stage to the other, from one technological advancement to the other, from one regime or government or the other. There is no doubt about the fact that print media pioneers and ushers the emergence of mass media in Nigeria. However, despite the disagreements among earlier scholars, researchers and media experts on how and when the press began in Nigeria, yet most of the scholars and experts agreed that Nigerian’s first newspaper was Iwe-Iroyin fun Awon Egba (the Newspaper for the Egba People) floated by Reverend Henry Townsend in Abeokuta in 1859 (Lawal, 2014:1). The newspaper was published in Yoruba language with its English supplement came in March 1860, although it was mainly a Christian evangelical paper (Aliagan, 2006: 16).      From the humble beginning of the print journalism in 1859, different newspapers and magazines have emerged; later the nation witnessed another development of electronic media particularly the radio services through British Broadcasting Corporation Rediffusion in 1932 among other growth in the broadcast media up till date (Oyekanmi, 2018:12).

This piece shall holistically examine the history of mass media in Nigeria particularly the broadcast media with emphasis on the radio and television respectively from 1932 till today.     

1.1       DEFINITION OF MASS MEDIA

            One of the concepts in mass communication and journalism that has many definitions, though pointing to the same direction is the concept of “Mass Media”. Different scholars in Nigeria and all over the world have seen it from different angles especially from their cultural, political, technological and social contexts. For the purpose of this piece, few credible and scholarly definitions of mass media will be considered to give clear focus on what Mass Media are and do.

            Mass media is considered to be an umbrella term used for all means of communication to a wider and larger audience residing in different geographical locations.

Mass media is a plural of mass medium which can be described as technology that can be used to pass information to a large audience that are usually distance from the sources of the message often through the radio and television (simultaneous media) and partially or non-simultaneous media (newspaper and magazine). Although, many scholars believe that the internet is inclusive whereas many also disagree, but I think is inclusive because, the internet has the characteristic of simultaneous delivery of message e.g live streaming, live video conferencing, etc  and non-simultaneous at the same time e.g watching podcast, blog posts etc.  

Lawal (2004:2) defines mass media as a means or channels through which messages or information are transferred or disseminate to a wider and larger heterogeneous audience who are residing in a diverse location. Also, mass media organization is described as that produce news or entertainment content and distribute that content to a large number of geographically separated people through a technologically based medium (David, 2005:182).

            The term mass media simply translates to the modern means of giving news, opinion, education and entertainment to large numbers of people, especially through radio, television, newspapers, magazines and films.

             Isamuko, (2011) writes that news is distributed in Nigeria through print and electronic media. These include radio, television, newspaper and magazine.

            McQuail, (2000) describes mass media as a means of communication that operates on a large scale, reaching and involving virtually everyone in a society to a greater or lesser degree.   

            Buttressing the above assertion, Daramola (2005:95) opines that “the mass media are very powerful socializing agent. The mass media are mainly newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions and movies they are impersonal sources and they reach large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audiences. 

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