COVERAGE OF DEVELOPMENT NEEDS OF RURAL COMMUNITIES BY SELECT LOCAL NEWSPAPERS

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ABSTRACT

The study looked at the Coverage of Development Needs of Rural Communities by Select Local Newspapers. The content analysis research method was used for this study with population of 120 newspapers. Data were gathered using coding sheet and newspapers published within July through December, 2017. The objectives of the study were to: find out the level of prominence given to coverage of development needs of rural communities in the state by the select local newspapers in Akwa Ibom State; ascertain the depth of the coverage of development needs of rural communities by select local newspaper in Akwa Ibom State; determine the types of development issues covered by the select local newspapers; and find out the direction of reports given to rural issues by the select local newspapers in Akwa Ibom State. While the study was meant to lean on the development media and social responsibility theories of the media, it was found out from the study that: the select local dailies did not give so much prominence to issues of development in rural communities in Akwa Ibom State; the depth of coverage of development needs of rural communities by select local newspapers in Akwa Ibom State is really enormous; infrastructure is the type of development issues covered by the select local newspapers about rural communities in Akwa Ibom State; and the direction of reports given to rural issues by the select local newspapers in Akwa Ibom State is neutral. Data were analysed using tables and simple percentages. Based on the findings, the researcher recommended chiefly that editorial boards of the select local newspapers should endeavour to publish more stories on the cover and back pages of their newspapers as these tend to be first points of attraction. Suggestions for further studies were made by the researcher.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

            In many rural communities in Africa and particularly Nigeria, development seems to be the need of the hour. Governments at both national and state levels are constantly making efforts to ensure the rapid and sustained development of communities within their territorial jurisdiction. Development is the desire of the human race, including those from parts of world often described as developed, to improve their conditions. Expectedly, though, scholars perceive development from different perspectives.

According to Nwanne (2006, p. 11), cited in Mboho and Batta (2012, p. 238), “development may be seen as efforts individuals make to move from point “A” to a more desirable point “B”. Another scholar, Amucheazu (1980, p. 4), defines development as a “multidimensional process involving the totality of man in his political, economic, psychological, social relations among others”. On their parts, Melkote and Steves (2001, p. 34) define development as “improving the living conditions of society”. They identify three development approaches as including the modernization perspectives, the critical perspectives and the liberation or monastic perspective. Supporting these views, Rodney (1972, p. 9) conceptualises development in human society as a many-sided process which at the individual level:

Implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being. Some of these are virtually moral categories and are difficult to evaluate… however, what is indisputable is that the achievement of any of those aspects of personal development is very much tied with the state of society as a whole development is about the improvement of the individual in important and useful ways.

COVERAGE OF DEVELOPMENT NEEDS OF RURAL COMMUNITIES BY SELECT LOCAL NEWSPAPERS