THE PRINT MEDIA COVERAGE OF DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES IN AKWA IBOM STATE: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE SUN AND THE PIONEER NEWSPAPER BETWEEN MAY 2016-MAY 2017
1.1 Background to the Study
Developmental issues are unfolding through the media across the globe every day. The media as it is referred to as a collective means of communication by which general public or populace is kept informed about the day to day happenings in the society. On the other hand, development refers to a change geared at improving or making better the life and environment of man (Jika and Ali, 2000 P. 16) Dudley (1985, P. 10) posted that development involves the creation of opportunities for the realization of human potentialities. Where the media come in developmental issues communication is thought as what is called “development communication”.
Basically, the media are described as performing three functions of developmental issues of information, education and entertainment these are the conventional social functions the media render to the public, but which is equally applicable in broader sense in development pursuit. It could be said that through educating, informing and entertaining, the media thereby make the society, society members as well as the leadership of the very society aware of the importance and need to undertake certain process or processes of national development.
Also attached to their basic roles of media report is another role of persuasion, where media are seen as viable tools of applying persuasive efforts to influence people’s actions towards a particular direction. The media are therefore seen for their role in framing and furnishing the public with necessary information of development or change goals (Oso and Pate, 2011, P. 45).
Media report of developmental issues lies in their capacity and capability to teach, manipulate, sensitize and mobilize people through information dissemination (Ucheanye 2003, P. 22). The media also chart a course for public in live with the agenda setting theory, hereby creating in the minds of the people, issues that should be viewed as priority issues including development programmes and policies (Nwabueze 2005) instance of the media report being presently played by in Nigeria is the general millennium goals pursuit towards the year 2013, as proposed by the United Nations and reported by The Sun newspaper (November 23, 2016).
Another instance of developmental issues by The Sun newspaper is the infrastructural development of tertiary institutions access the nation by the Federal Government on (13th January, 2014). On that note, the midweek Pioneer newspaper of Wednesday, November 13th 2013 reports on tourism development and urbanization of Akwa Ibom State, which sees tourism as an alternative agent of transformation and how NDE trans 50 farmers in Bayelsa to boost the farmers skills.
Also, The Pioneer newspaper reports industrialization, agenda for Akwa Ibom State as one of the campaign promises of Governor Udom Emmanuel The Pioneer, (November 6th 2013). Rather responsibility of informing people about developmental issues and projects is another major role of media to national development such issues designed and proposed by policy makers could be entirely new to the people at whom they need to be enlightened, educated and mobilize.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In reporting developmental issues, it is difficult to ascertain that media have performed creditably. Rather, the creation and dissemination of knowledge are key factors in the developmental issues where the media have been instrumental as a means of storing and sharing knowledge. The well-recognized functions of the media are to educate, inform and entertain where the social and economic contribution of the media to development depends on the nature of the content delivered. It can also have attributes that include so many issues, including a variety of different stories such as political, economic and social issues of a country.
Basically, the main function of newspaper is to report local, regional, national and international news. But, most of the newspaper, including government and private newspapers, seem to give priority to the interest of their sources. It is however said to admit that media have been infiltrated by some unqualified persons as some unscrupulous individuals with their own political agenda other than to serve the public by educating, informing, entertaining and mobilize for development. In view of the aforesaid, the question is: To what extent The Pioneer and The Sun reported developmental issues.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study were to:
- assess the extent of coverage of developmental issues in The Pioneer and The Sun
- determine whether the two newspaper pay attention to the stories of developmental issues;
- determine the relevance of media in reporting developmental issues in Nigeria;
- examine the role of media in reporting developmental issues.
- Identify the problem restricting the report of developmental issues in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions