The development of the Newspaper has been a powerful and effective means of Mass Communication. In addition to informing, Newspapers may be said to educate, entertain and sell for the readers. The information function may be the most important but many features such as countries and cartoons are for entertainment and this may be the primary reason for buying Newspapers.
Most African countries and the third world country, Newspaper is seen by leaders as an effective means of engineering development throughout the land. There is encouragement of development journalism which is a purposive effort to bring socio-political and economic development through the mass media.
Practically, all literate people read Newspaper but this is not to say that there are even literate people who are not inclined to read Newspapers.
Infant there are readers and non-readers. In 1954 study by sociologist Remond Benelson, guage public reaction towards Newspapers.
The uses of the Newspaper articulated by those interviewed in the study are:-
- For information about interpretation of public affairs.
- As a tool for daily living (radio T.V listings retail advertisement)
- For respite (escape from the readers immediate world).
- You have to read in order to keep up in conversation with other people
- For social contact, human interest stories and advice/gossip columns.
There is a constant competition among Newspapers for higher readership. This is primarily because high circulation Newspaper houses are bound to enjoy advertisers’ patronage which is one of the Newspapers sources of income. Different Newspapers use different gambits in order to attract the highest number of readers. Some Newspapers are inclined to use impeccable language and catchy pictures, others use increasingly intriguing gross-word puzzles which some others strive to attract readers by magnificent page designs and layout.
Often satirical representing important events in politics or important public figure have a tacit message while simultaneously entertaining reinforcing coruscations are helping in individual decision making or taking.
In fact, humour is the essence of cartoons and a person must read a cartoon to appreciate the humour inherent in it. More succinctly, “humour derives from experiencing some kind of incongruity which is then made congruous”.
Cartoon permeates our national socio-economic, political and religious life. It is not only and expression of the artists inner feelings, but could also said to be a reflection of the thoughts and feelings of the general populace. They represent the inner emotional feelings in the soul of the artist that transcends verbal description. No amount of mastering language can effectively convey his feelings as the cartoons do. Cartoons are short and crisp, hitting directly at the point. At a glance, the reader is able to grasp a whole story that would have eaten up a lot time and column inches.
At this point, it is pertinent to briefly discuss the historical background of Newspaper cartoons. An artist, Corrangio, was commissioned to paint St. Mathew writing the Holy Bible, but he painted St Mathew as a bald old man embracing him. People were annoyed, because to them it was blasphemy.
Drawings for publication were called water hieroglyphs if they were funny or caricatures if they were satirical. The drawings were often out very much more fully than necessary for the mere purpose of tracing, and is sometimes regarded as work of art in its own right. When Leonardo de Vinci finished his cartoon of the virgin and St. Anna. It was put on show and visited for 2 days by throngs of festive people.
Little oil painting called cartooning, inter-mediate between the sketch and the full scale cartoon were sometimes made by 17th century painters cartoonists.
In the 17th century, designs submitted in a competition for water colour painting in the English house of parliament were parodied in “punch”. From this, the word “Cartoon” acquired its present meaning of a humorous drawing or painting.
In 1843, there was a great exhibition of cartoon in London and the “punch”, the first regular illustrated comic weekly which has began publication on July 19, 1841, published series of its own cartoons, satirizing the designs after which cartoon acquired its modern meaning.
In Italy, this tradition of humorous arts was restricted by the demand for dignity and decorum. It was only towards the end of the 16th century that Italy made its decisive contribution to graphic with the investion of the portrait caricatured by the grotesque drawings and paintings by mastures like Leonardo de vinci, Albrecht Dwer. Annibable couac, Banegnet, Benni British artist William Hogarth (1695-1764) that the real foundation for cartoon were laid.
Crniksnank ( 1878) can be rightly called the link between classical satire and the modera cartoon. In the last three decades of his life. Journalism was getting efficient and sophisticated and literacy was on the rise. He was imaginative and irrespressible with a sharp sense of man’s inhumanity to man. He took delight in satirizing the rich and powerful, the land owners, the industrialists, the lazy and the profiteering politicians.
Newspaper cartoons are increasingly becoming vital aspects of Newspaper with the result that most Newspaper (dailies and weeklies) carry at least one or two daily cartoons. This is a way of increasing readership in Nigerian Newspapers.
We have ‘Azuanuka’ in the Nigerian Statemen, Omoba in the ‘Punch’, ‘Diokps in the ‘Daily star’ Kabiyesi’ in the ‘National Concord’, and ‘Mr and Mrs’ in the ‘Vanguard’. Giimore and Robert Root posit that cartoons have a hallowed place in the world of traditional journalism.
Editors can both express opinion and win entertainment points by using better cartoons. Some Newspapers like ‘Guardians’ for instance put their cartoons on the editorial page, making the reader aware that he/she is getting an editorial view. But one vital question is whether the readers perceive the cartoons the way the cartoonist intends. If he/she does, it change or influence their opinion?. Or do readers see cartoons just as a pieces of entertainment?
1.2 Research problems
This study will find answers to the following basic research question
- Do cartoons determine audience choice of Newspaper?
- Do cartoons represent editorial opinion of Newspapers?
- Do cartoons carry more precise messages than News?
Conceptual and operational definition of variables
Perception – Process by which we become aware of
Cartoons – Drawing, dealing with current events especially
political, in an amusing or satirical way.
Audience – Those who pay attention to what one says,
writes, and ones publics.
Opinion – Special point of view of a Newspaper regarding
an event or issue
Newspaper – Printed publications usually issued every day
or weekly with News. Opinion etc.
Message – This means message that are exact
Cartoon – This means amusing and satirical drawings
Dealing with current events in the ‘Vanguard’ and ‘The guardians’.
Choice – The total number of respondents who read
cartoon in both the ‘Vanguard’ and the guardian.
Opinion – The average score of responses to items
measuring cartoons messages as indication of editorial opinion.
Newspaper – This means the Lagos based national
Newspaper, the ‘Vanguard’ and ‘The Guardian’.
Messages – The total score of responses to items
Measuring precise messages in relation to cartoon and New stories.
1.3 Purpose Of The Study
Although studies have done in the area of cartoons. It is not right to assume that nothing is left to be done. There are several aspects of Newspaper cartoons that are for research. Most of the researches existing in the area of cartoons deal with how cartoons facilitate the dissemination of information. Some other studies on cartoons tend to study to the effectiveness of cartoons in the Newspaper.
In ‘Newspaper cartoons and audience perception’, Ndigwe Christiana worked on the perception and interpretation of Newspaper cartoons.
This study is set apart from the real of the studies in the area of cartoon in that it involved audience perception of cartoons as a means of communication.
This study is particularly different from others done in the field, because the results of the study are expected to provided empirical knowledge hitherto unavailable. These includes whether the reader (s) perceive the cartoonist’s message the way he intends. Identify the Newspaper cartoon audience, aid the Newspaper cartoon audience, appreciate cartoons, and show which of the three functions of the mass media is performed most by cartoons.
Cartoons have been published over the years in the Newspaper. But whether cartoons convincingly serve as good or bad means of communication is still not clearly ascertained.
Therefore, this research work goes beyond the perspective of audience perception of cartoon, but their perception of it as a means of communication.
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