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This work intends to assess the effect of news commercialization on news credibility in the broadcast media, with particular reference to Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune using them as a case study.
The study intends to find out whether the commercialization of news affects its credibility and objectivity and equally to know if it encourages the “Brown envelope syndrome”, accuracy, balance, fairness etc. whether those who cannot afford to pay the media have the opportunity and chances to broadcast their events on air via Mass media of communication, such as the electronic broadcast media.
This study, will also enable the researcher to known if the news managers, News editors and Reporters (journalists) persistently carry out their gate – keeping roles and at the same time still carry out their watchdog roles.
In other words, whether they still maintain the ethics and laws of the profession or not or they are being influenced by the news sponsors and their money.
The study will also endeavour to find if the audience / public have it in mind that the news they read in newspapers and watch in these broadcast media are owned and are paid for by the sponsors since they are not usually mentioned during news broadcasting and information dissemination.
Statements of the Research Problems
Critics have identified distortion of news, imbalanced report and the growing tendency for the public not to believe the media news (lack of objectivity) as major problems inherent in Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune for news and other information.
This is the key problems the researcher wishes to establish is this research work.
Objectivity as an ethical standard is one of the most pervasive in all of journalism. Objectivity in news gathering and presentation is the reporters’ aims and objectives.
Objectives of the Study
The core aims and objectives of this study is to assess the credibility of broadcast news in both Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune since its partial commercialization brought the emergence of news commercialization.
Policy of commercialization is not for private and cooperate organizations to be stake holders in media organization but for such means to be sources of fund for the running of the activities of the media, for the fact that government subventions is sacredly less to keep the organizations afloat. Therefore, the standard set up on news commercialization is another means by which funds can be raised within the media, for the upkeep of the activities.
What is being argued here is that, the media should made commercial news known for the audience, for them to be aware that news they listened to at that point in time is sponsored, by an unidentified people.
What the researcher meant is that the paid news and news not paid should be distinguished.
Observations made are shown that there are limitations in gate keeping functions of the editor. “The gate keeper is any person or formally organized group directly involved in relaying or bans ferry information from one individual to another through any medium of mass communication.” Such person or individual has the ability to limit the information the public receive by editing the information, before it is disseminated.
The researcher equally wants to find out whether the above mentioned is practiced, for the fact that news paid for are edited as the sponsor wanted.
The following questions will be asked by the researcher:
What is the effect of news commercialization on the perceived “Brown envelope syndrome” and how has it affected the news credibility of these media?
Has news commercialization, deprived those who cannot afford the stipulated amount access to media?
Has the gate-keeping role being restricted because of news commercialization?
Do the audience know that the news they watch on AIT and read on Nigerian Tribune are paid for?
Significance of the Study
The significant of this study aims at revealing to the media practitioners and broadcast students, the importance of commercialization to the media and professionalism. The study of commercialization in media houses will assist the concept and to know its role in enhancing the success or failure of broadcasting industries.
Purpose of the Study
A lot has been said about commercialization on the contents of private media, however, little is known about ratifications and implications of the organization of this measure and how far it has affected or will affect the operation of the organization, their performances and fulfillment of their obligations and responsibility to the Nigerian public.
Scope of the Study
Although, the primary aims and objectives of the project are to examine the effect of commercialization on the content of private media, this can not be effectively talked without considering the demographic factor of AIT and Nigerian tribune staffs and sample number of the public that respond to the questionnaire of this study. Experience, education background, professional training, age, sex e. t. c must be considered before the distribution of research instruments.
Limitations of the Study
The study concentrates mostly on credibility and objectivity of news in Africa Independent Television and Nigerian Tribune. These factors will be linked up with the brown envelope syndrome amongst journalists and news editors. Time constraint has posed a lot of limitations to this work, inadequate finance of this project is another hindrance. This project is also limited to AIT and Nigerian Tribune where all findings would be generalized.
Definition of the Terms
Commercialization: It is a kind of dourness of fund from sales. Where money in generated from something in form of sales. A situation whereby the broadcast media generate income from the news by selling air time for news instead of broadcasting the news based on accepted news values.
Credibility: Credibility is which can be believed operational definition. Audience acceptance to believe the news contents of the broadcast media.
Gate Keeping: Any person or formally organized group directly involved in relaying or disseminating information from one individual to another mass medium. Mass media audience perception of gate keepers incapability to limit information, removal of unwanted areas of the news story and to widen paid stories in the broadcast media.
Brown Envelope : A means by which news sponsors give money inform of bribe to journalist and editors. Audience view that editors and journalists collect money in terms of bribe from news sponsors, thereby preventing them from carrying out their unique roles unbiased.
Objectivity: Not being influenced by personal feelings, ideas, or bias. A state of being influenced by personal feelings or bias.
Meaning of News
News according to the advanced learner’s dictionary means, a new or fresh information, reports of recent events. It has so many different definitions. From different authors and scholars.
According to Ude in his book introduction to Reporting and news writing 1998 defined news “as the timely report of facts or opinions that hold interests or importance or both for a considerable number of people.” Also, Ukozor 2003 in her book: Fundamentals of interpretative and investigative Reporting, defined news “as something new and unusual. Stressing further, news according to Kamath (1980: 33) “is any event, ideas or opinions that is timely, interests, or affects a large number of people in a community and that is capable of being understood by them”.
The standardized criteria judging news value as discussed by Ukozor encompassed the followings: consequences impact, prominence, timeliness, Action, novelty, conflict, Human interest, and currency. – Consequence is the most important criterion in determining news value. It has to do with news events that affect the lives of the largest number of people. It should be considered at every level, both for good news and bad. It is the grater effects.
Prominence deals on the well known people (important personalities), institutions in the society etc. proximity bothers on the events that happened within the locality of the audience.
Timeliness means that news should be reported to the public which it is fresh e as soon as it unfolds lest it become stale news.
Novelty means the unusual or odd issues that happened in the society (oddity). Human interest has to do with stories that most often touch human feelings.
However, news gathering is a work of mass media who cover the most interesting stories events in society on behalf of the public , it later publish or broadcast such to the public again after refine it.
Mass Media Can be explained 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 such channels is usually categorized into two I.e. electronic or broadcast media represented by the radio and television while the print media is represented by newspapers and magazine.
Newspaper- This is a daily record of events. It is a journal that reports daily occurrences. It is published and circulated daily. According to Section2 of the Newspaper Act of 1958, A Newspaper can be defined as any paper containing public news, intelligence or any remarks, observations and comments, thereon printed for sale and published.
Magazine- This is a paper covered periodicals containing stories, particles, advertisements, photographs and others illustrations supplied by writers and other for publication.
It should be noted that both Newspaper and Magazine are Print Media. If to analyze according to the history of the Print Media or Print Journalism, print journalism started in Great Britain in the 1620s when correspondent were employed by some English countrymen to inform them about various event and court cases going on in London. Information were made available through letters once a week, the letters were known as “News Letter” Ogunsiji (1989). He further explained that those print media seem to have begun in the Netherlands and Germany. Infant, the earlier Newspaper industry in Germany was reportedly traced to 1609
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