The era of internet though a blessing has continued to reveal its ugly sides. With it comes a very difficult time for the traditional media as there is the battle of traditional media to remain relevant and acceptable to an audience that is fast taking to the internet for their program and news needs. This study primarily seeks to examine perception of internet and news reportage among audience in Awka North Local Government Area. The researcher’s intention is that by the time she is done, audience preference for any of the two media’s under study is known same as the reasons for such preference. The research anchored on perception theory in explaining the existing relationship between concepts and variables under study. In order to achieve further achieve her aim; the researcher used a qualitative survey method in studying a total of 156 study population randomly selected. Findings from questions raised show that majority of those in Awka North Local Government Area have access to television and internet news. It further revealed that they use both media for sourcing news. However, the television media is favoured over the internet news because of its credibility and touches of professionalism involved unlike the internet where everyone can be a news reporter and reports in ways suitable for their organization as opposed to acceptable standards. Based on the findings, the researcher concluded that preference for a news media is based mostly on what an audience considers authentic and credible enough to serve his news needs that how he gets it. Based on the conclusion, there were recommendations that audience most learn to bas either news on source credibility while management both media’s under study find ways to improve on their news deliverability to audience needs.
News reportage around the globe has shifted paradigm from what it conventionally was to where everyone can now report news without proper journalism training due to the emergence of the new media. Experts and practitioners believe this has brought about a lot of doubts and skepticisms among audience and users of this news. Others believe that the development suits audience who believe that the new media is more concerned about what content they want in news and are more prompt in reportage than the traditional media. Whatever the case, news credibility still remains a very pivotal element for a majority of news enthusiast in news consumption and general feelers indicate that perception of internet and television news reportage is such that favors the traditional media over the new media.
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
One of the most persistent critiques that has been leveled against professional journalism is that news organizations have tended to remain disconnected from their audiences and have tended to operate exclusively from their own judgments and perceptions about the importance of individual stories and about the critical information needs of the communities that they serve (Batsell, 2015). According to McClatchy’s, (2015) the news industry “has gone for years without needing to examine who its audience is or what they want”. As a number of studies have illustrated, the news audience traditionally has been something of a distant, abstract concept that reporters and editors have tended not to engage with in any direct way (Vobic, 2014). Rather, they operated under a set of self-generated presumptions about the characteristics of their audience, and their needs and interests (Andersonand Reader, 2015). Batsell (2015) has described this tendency as “an aloof detachment”. To some extent, this relationship between news organizations and their audiences is a reflection of the traditional professional ethos of journalism, in which the judgments of the news professionals about what the public needs to know are prioritized (Batsell, 2015; Deuze, 2005). Substantive engagement with the audience, within this context, can be seen as a slippery slope in which audience interests begin to play too influential a role in editorial decision-making, leading to the much-maligned notion of “market-driven journalism” (Cohen, 2002; McManus, 1994). These forms of criticism tend to caution against the loss of journalistic authority and autonomy and to question the democratic value of audience feedback and interests in playing an influential role in journalistic decision-making (see, e.g., Uscinski, 2014). Regardless, within the contemporary news environment there is now a heightened emphasis – amongst journalists, editors, publishers, and the foundations that increasingly support journalism – on news organizations more effectively engaging with the members of the communities that they serve and improving their understanding of the needs and interests of these audiences (Anderson, 2011; Batsell, 2015; de Aguiar & Stearns, 2015; Loosen & Schmidt, 2012; Vobic, 2014). As the technological dynamics of how news is produced, disseminated, and consumed become more complex; as the role and identity of professional journalists undergo reconsideration; and, as the economics of journalism become increasingly challenging particularly at the local level (Abernathy, 2014; Downie & Schudson, 2009), it stands to reason that a deeper understanding of the contemporary local news audience is of heightened importance. The logic here is that such attention to local audiences may help to identify potential solutions to the many challenges that contemporary journalism faces. This problems stem from preference and audience perception of television news and internet news.
According to Baran (2004, p.121 )television forced the newspaper to change the way they did business and served their readers; now online computer networks pose the greatest challenge to this medium. Online job hunting and auto sales services are already cutting into the classified advertising profit of television. The entire world is fast embracing information and communication technologies in all spheres of life and the television industry cannot be left out. The changing face of the television industry could not have been what we have today if not for the convergence between the newspaper and the modern technologies adopted in the industry. This great disservice to audience has brought about a desperation among audience to resort to news reportage mediums that put their feelings and perceptions in front such as direct participation and contributions in news discussions at ease and promptly hence this study on audience perception of television and internet news reportage with a view to finding out which of this mediums is best favored by the audience and to know how exactly to deal with this issue of audience satisfaction where it’s found wanting.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The internet can be judged as the greatest communication inventions of man in modern times. This is mostly as a result of the convergence power which it has, and which has also been used to bring other traditional media to a common plane. In Nigeria, the face of the newspapers can be said to be changing greatly. The Nigerian television industries have not realized yet the importance of having a strong presence on the internet as a bulk of audience are now concentrated on the internet with audience preferring to stream interesting programmes on line.
With all the innovations and ease of participation the internet has brought the television industry, many people still do not fancy the viewing of news reported online as a result of their biased notion of the internet as a place where any faceless individual can post whatever he likes for public consumption. To this school of thought, the traditional media represented by television here is the only authentic news source. It is obvious from the foregoing that, there is a perceived problem about credibility of news stories or information on the internet mostly based on the channel of reportage. Oyero, (2007) asserts that because there is no gate keeping mechanism that allows for editing, verifying facts and establishing accuracy before web information is posted trusting stories online becomes difficult. This study therefore examines how Awka North audience perceives internet and television news reportage with a view to emphasizing the solidity of the preferred medium and proposing strategies for righting the wrongs of the erring medium.
OBECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine perception of internet and television news reportage among audience in Awka North Local Government Area.
The specific objectives are:
- To identify the rate of audience accessibility to Internet and television news.
- To examine audience perception of Internet and television news reportage in Awka North Local Government Area.
- To identify reasons why audience prefer a particular medium under study over the other.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Based on the objectives above the following research questions are put forward:
- What is the rate of audience accessibility to internet and television news in Awka North LGA?
- What is the perception of audience of internet and television news reportage in Awka North Local Government Area?
- What are the reasons for audience preference a particular medium under study over the other in Awka North LGA?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Till date, many of the television or traditional media in Nigeria are yet to understand the need for a very strong online presence if they must remain in business. This is largely owing to the fact that they are still lost in the superiority complex even though the audience do not have the patience or likening for any of such assumptions owing to findings that audience prefer medium of news reportage where they can actively participate in discussing news as they break. This study will therefore be beneficial to television and online media houses as they will at the end know exactly which medium the audience preference over the other while the audience will be exposed to the disadvantages and advantages associated with whatever medium they may choose to take. Also, the media regulatory bodies will be informed about the various challenges faced in the sustainability of the traditional media and find some recommendations useful in tackling same.
Academically, this study will be beneficial to students and scholars, who are carrying out research on similar topics, as well as serve as reference materials and library archives in adding to opening the door for further research.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is on audience perception of internet and television news reportage hence is restricted to only audience in both media. Meanwhile, the audiences for this research are sorely those residents in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
1.7 DEFIFINTION OF TERMS
PERCEPTION: It means the ability to see, hear or become aware of something through senses. It can also be referred to as a way of regarding, understanding or interpreting something.
AUDIENCE: Audience means a gathering of persons for the purpose of hearing a speaker or a singer. It also means persons within hearing whether they are together or not. The audience include men, women, young, old adults and children. Audiences are those for whom an art of performance is meant.
AUDIENCE PERCEPTION: This is the way those gathered to appreciate a work of art or performance view or interpret what they are presented with.
INTERNET: This is a computer network consisting of a worldwide network of computer networks that use the TCP/IP protocols to facilitate data transmission and exchange.
NEWS: This is s a report of recent occurrences; information of something that has lately taken place, or of something before unknown; fresh findings; recent intelligence.
NEWS REPORTAGE: This is the news presentation format by news reporters.
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