• The Complete Research Material is averagely 125 pages long and it is in Ms Word Format, it has 1-5 Chapters.
  • Major Attributes are Abstract, All Chapters, Figures, Appendix, References.
  • Study Level: MTech, MSc or PhD.
  • Full Access Fee: ₦8,000

Get the complete project » Instant Download Active


This study investigated Lagos residents’ perception of the image of Nigerian journalists. To achieve this, the study focused on three objectives which were: assess Lagos residents’ perception of Nigerian journalists’ image, determine if Lagos residents’ perception of journalists’ image influences their rating of credibility of news reports and identify the demographic factors that influence respondents’ perception of journalists’ image. Similarly, three research questions corresponding with the research objectives were generated to guide the study. Source Credibility Theory and Social Construction of Reality Theory were adopted as theoretical frameworks with Survey being the main research methodology. A structured questionnaire was designed and administered on 300 respondents, after initial multistage sampling technique had been employed to prune down the population to a manageable size. Thus, the findings from the study showed that (89.9%) of Lagos residents read/or listen to news reports by Nigerian journalists. The study also reveals that (52.5%) of Lagos residents now access news through the internet and that they do so because of easy accessibility. Instructively, (73.3%) of the overall answers given by Lagos residents rated the image of Nigerian journalists positively. Whereas (27.3%) identified poor professional conducts as the most wrong with the image of Nigerian journalists, (33.4%) demanded improved professional conducts as the best antidote that can boost journalists’ image. Notably, (32%) of Lagos residents agreed that the image of journalists matters to their news reports and presentations while (34.3%) agreed that news believability should be based on the positive or negative image of journalists who write and present them. Significantly, despite placing high premium on the image of journalists in relation to the credibility of their news reports, (29.3%) disagreed with the notion that all news reports of journalists with favourable image should be believed just as (29.6%) objected to the notion all news reports of journalists with unfavourable image should be discarded. Also, the study revealed that there is significance difference between Lagos residents’ socio-demographic features and the perception of the image of Nigerian journalists. It was therefore concluded that not only do Lagos residents’ perception of the image of Nigerian journalists positive, they also place high premium on the image of journalists in relation to the credibility of their news reports. Also, it was concluded that the socio-demographic factors of Lagos residents do not in anyway influence their perception of the image of Nigerian journalists. The researcher thus recommended among other things that journalists should strive to improve their image from just being fairly perceived to being excellently perceived among Nigerian public. It is also being recommended that journalists engage in acts that will positively rub on their image as the credibility of their news reports are at stake if audience doubt their sincerity. Additionally, it is recommended that regulatory bodies in journalism see to improved professional conducts among practitioners as many of the respondents did identify poor professional conducts as the most wrong with the image of Nigerian journalists.



Background to the Study

Image is everything.Also known as reputation or character, image is the fulcrum on which individuals stand. It is also the barometre through which men and their activities are assessed. Indeed, Thompson (1998) while alluding to the three known principles of Aristotle on the art of Persuasion had listed ethos, pathos and logos. Whereas pathos refers to the passion an individual has, logos is about logic or individual’s sense of reasoning. On the other hand, Ethos otherwise known as reputation, Thompson writes, “means everything in your business”.

Le Roux (2015) is of the opinion that building a reputation is all about consistency. Whether you are being unfailingly consistent or consistently unpredictable, Le Roux writes, you are in the process of building a reputation for yourself. He adds that a consistently positive stakeholder experience builds reliability, which builds trust and ultimately establishes a strong and positive reputation. “It is important to have the right building blocks in place to build a solid reputation,” he says.

On his part, Brustein (2014) describesreputation as the form of currency that never fluctuates in the market. In a simple formula he crafted, the scholar posits: Your actions + what others say about you = your reputation. This small formula, he adds, is the most powerful leverage you have in business — and in life, for that matter.

Burstein further notes that today, we have to think more about reputation management even more than we did in the past. He conceives that not only do we have to worry about how we present ourselves in the flesh, but also have to be aware of how we come across online.

To build a reputation,  Burstein’s suggest 10 strategies which includes: do what you say you will do, go out of your way to help others reach their goals, make other people look good, go a step beyond what is expected, look the part, consider your body language, be consistent, act with integrity, get engaged with your community and be likeable.

Just like every other professions, journalism also thrives on image. The reputation of a journalist is deemed sacrosanct as this has significant effects on his works and how acceptable they are to the audience. Using Thompson’s (1998) assertion of audience raising critical questions about a speaker at a speech delivery session, so do news audience raise questions about a journalist’s reputation.

In a similar manner audience would ask: who are you? What are your values and beliefs? Why should I trust you? What qualifies you to speak on this subject? What special experience and understanding gives you ‘standing’ to authoritatively discuss this subject? What ‘added value’ do you bring to the table or the public platform?

By relating Thompson’s questions, one may therefore have an insight as to the kind of questions that help shape public perception of journalists’ image. Saltzman understood this when he said by analyzing the image of journalist in popular culture over the centuries, we might be offered a new perspective on the history of journalism as well as the delicate relationship between the public and its news media.

He notes that the anger and lack of confidence most of the public has in the news media today is partly based on real-life examples they have seen and heard, but much of the image of the journalist is based on images burned into the public memory from movies, TV and fiction.

He adds that these images of the journalist have an enormous influence on how the public perceives and judges the news media and they have a profound effect on public opinion and consequently, the public’s support of the effectiveness and freedom of the news media. Many of these images come from age-old sources, long forgotten yet still relevant in the 21st century.

A journalist’s image can be good or bad. And this Saltzman (2005) says canswirls between the real and the fictional without discrimination. According to Saltzman, the public memory seldom distinguishes between the actual and the non-real. “Often the two are linked together… The public bases its impression and understanding of the news media through these images. In the end, it really doesn’t matter to the public if these images are real or fantasy. The reality is the public integrates these images into its own reality and acts accordingly.”

Although what constitute a good journalist’s image might be different from persons to persons, scholars, practitioners and the public appear to have unanimous position that journalists who are guided by principles enshrined in professional code of conducts stand the chance of being fairly perceived.

The Associated Press Media Editors Statement of Ethical Principles (1994) thus state: “The good newspaper is fair, accurate, honest, responsible, independent and decent while remaining impartial and dispassionate”. Also, the American Society of News Editors (1975) Statement of Principle advocates “independence, accuracy and impartiality” for good journalism.  Similarly, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (1996) emphasizes accuracy, fairness and independence to buttress what make good journalism and a good journalist.

Instructively, in the result of findings of a study carried out in 2006 on what constitute good journalism, comparing Israeli public and journalists’ perspectives, 75.2 percent of respondents sampled were of the opinion that “always remaining neutral” is a key component of positive perception of journalists. This, notwithstanding the fact that sampled journalists in the same study did not really share the notion of neutrality as a key component of positive appraisal by the public.  

However, a journalist can be perceived with bad reputation among the public especially if he or she is known to engage in compromising basic professional ethics. The Pew Research Center (2011) study states: “the public widely believes the press to be inaccurate, one-sided and lacking independence”. If result from the Pew Research Centre is anything to go by, then it might be correct that what requires a journalist to enjoy bad reputation among the populace is to do exact opposite of what professional ethics preach. 

Alade Odunewu (1998) in Akinfeleye (2008) complains about reckless breaching of the code of professional practice by a number of Nigerian journalists. He asserted that some journalists were fond of presenting fiction and falsehood as news.

For Akinfeleye, breach of ethical code of conducts even goes beyond journalist’s bad reputation. To him, such is a malfeasance that contradicts national interest. Allegations of unjustified invasion of privacy of prominent public office holders, politicians, business traditional and religious leaders, and inaccurate and highly biased reportage of government on the part of a few journalists in the society, is certainly not in line with collective aspirations- the national interest (Akinfeleye, 2008).

Notably, when journalists lose their reputation among the populace, they stand to be ascribed with all manners of names that ridicule them and their profession. Nyamnjoh (1996) cited in Nyamnjoh (2000) states that the press has been called all sorts of names, from “cocktail,” “bread and butter” or “survival” journalism on one hand, to “guerrilla journalism,” “le journalisme de combat,” “liberation journalism,” “journalisme insurrectionnel,” “jungle journalism,” “junk journalism” or “gutter journalism” among the other.

Yet Nyamnjoh is not the only one who has mastered such names. Dan Agbese (2001), himself a journalist, as cited in Kayode and Akashoro (2010), confirms that certain breaches of the professional code of ethics are obvious in the Nigerian journalistic practice and identifies such practices as “brown envelope”, “daily returns to editors” and conflict of interest as examples.

Dayo Aiyetan, another journalist quoted by Kayode and Akashoro (2010), passed a damning verdict on Nigerian journalists. “Once vibrant and independent, the Nigerian mass media is gradually transforming into a behemoth of corruption, a situation which threatens the capacity of the media to report the truth objectively and perform its constitutional role of making the government accountable to the people.”

Regrettably, such criticisms of Nigerian journalists, over the years, have grown in leap and bound owing to the activities of the bad eggs within the profession. Perhaps this was what led Kayode and Akashoro (2010) to write that the criticism of journalists from virtually every members of the society has been more or less the order of the day.

The duo further lament that the bad journalists and indeed almost all journalists have become scapegoats of every Nigerians from the politician to preacher. Journalists are being cast as corrupt, social villains who are disseminating superficial, trivial, negative and sensational information harmful to the health of the country’s nascent democracy.

If what Kayode and Akashoro (2010) assert is anything to go by, then there are reasons to believe that audience perception of journalists’ image has become a task that cannot be glossed over. And while considering the strategic position a cosmopolitan city/state like Lagos enjoys as the centre of business and media activities in Nigeria, one could not have aimed for a better location to sample people’s opinions in this regard.

Statement of Problem

Image is an issue in every profession. Journalism as a profession is not an exception. Though, journalists by virtue of their works help to shape people’s images. Interestingly, the public has also proven overtime that they are imbued with intrinsic strengths to perceive, appraise and even make known their opinions on respective journalists’ image- a development journalists them have largely ignored.

William Thomas, a former Editor of the New York Times captured this worrisome development extensively in Akinfeleye (2008) thus:

…the one thing the press covers more poorly today than anything else is the Press itself… we don’t tell our readers-reviewers-listeners what we do, or how  we do it. We don’t admit our mistakes, we seldomly assess our stage and level of journalistic integrity in our reportage, unless we are virtually forced to, under threat of court action, advertisers, public opinion or public embarrassment. We take no attempt to explain our problems, our decisions, our procedures of monitoring governance and making them acceptable to the public. Yet, we try to put corrupt public officers on trial. 

Journalists’ image can be good or bad, depending on people’s perception. And as it is said, there are a number of reasons why certain journalists can be perceived in certain ways. These may include, how journalists project themselves in the discharge of their duties, the type of reports they supply the public with, ownership of the news organizations they work with, adherence or disobedience to professional ethics, among other factors.

Despite the enormity and relevance of perception of the image of Nigerian journalists, yet not everybody seems to be paying attention. In its 2013, Vol. 25, No. 1 edition, Media Ethics Magazine confirms this assertion, when it notes that “research in journalism ethics typically focuses on the actions, intent and duty of practitioners rather than the expectations of the public at whom messages are directed. When we, do devote attention to the public, we find them to be increasingly critical of journalism.” (

Interestingly, this is where this study comes in. The study is burdened with issues such as: the non-acknowledgement of respondents’ perception of journalists’ image, the effects of respondents’ image perception on the credibility or otherwise of journalism reports as well as demographic factors that shape respondents’ perception of Nigerian journalists. These riddles are what constitute the study’s problem.

Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of this study:

1.      To assess Lagos residents’ perception of Nigerian journalists’ image.

2.      To determine if Lagos residents’ perception of journalists’ image influences their rating of credibility of news reports.

3.      To identify the demographic factors that influence respondents’ perception of journalists’ image.

Research Questions

The following are the questions already thrown up by the study:

1.      What is the perception of the image of Nigerian journalists by Lagos residents?

2.      Do Lagos residents’ perception of journalists’ image influences their rating of credibility of news reports?

3.      What are the demographic factors that influence respondents’ perception of journalists’ image?

Significance of the Study

The significance of this study includes:

1.      Help Nigerian journalists to have an idea of how they are perceived among the populace.

2.      Becoming a resource tool of reference when attention is being paid to issues revolving around public perception of journalists’ image.

3.      Help the populace to understand that their perception of Nigerian journalists could be valuable for both academic and professional engagements.

Serve as reference guide for communication students, scholars and researchers who may want to conduct similar study in future. 

Scope of the Study

The study is restricted to Lagos State with focus being directed at its residents. The choice of Lagos and its residents is hinged on a number of reasons.

First, it is Nigeria’s and Africa’s most populous city/state with estimated population put at 21 million in 2014.( Also, it is the most cosmopolitan and diverse state with virtually all ethnic tribes in the country represented.

In addition, Lagos is Nigeria’s centre of commercial activities with the highest concentration of media organizations and journalists. And more importantly, Lagos is reputed be playing host to the highest number of informed Nigerians, a feature that makes its residents suitable as respondents for the study at hand. 

Operational Terms

The following terms as found in the study have been defined operationally:

Bread and butter journalism: This is a kind of journalism some practitioners engage in simply to earn their daily living. It means the quest to earn daily their bread dictate how they report activities around them.  

Brown envelope: This is a kind of journalism that thrives on unethical reward system. Practitioners who engage in it carry out their reportage base on the amount of money they have collected which can make them promote less significance story or kill the one considered detrimental to the person offering such money. 

Cocktail journalism: This kind of journalism is dictated by corporate events and dinners often organized wealthy individual’s organisations with vested interests.

Daily return to editors: This unethical practice involves journalists adopting all available means to ensure that they get cash or kinds that must be remitted to their editors

Ethics: This is also known as moral. It is the standard on which practitioners of any profession are measured. It often has a set of rule that must be followed while practicing the profession.

Guerilla journalism: This is aggressive journalism by practitioners

Gutter journalism: This kind of journalism lacks refinement. It is largely dirty, often targeted at attacking and counter-attacking. It is often employs when parties have scores to settle.

Image: This has to do with the totality of issues that form the character of a journalist. And in this study, factors encapsulated into the image of a journalist shall include:  what they report, quality of their reports, characteristics of their reports, styles, manner of dress, professional conducts, ownership influence, among others.

Journalists: These are professionals who earn their living out of the act of gathering, editing and disseminating news for the populace.

Jungle journalism: This is a kind of journalism whereby practitioners used crude or unethical approaches to source and disseminate news reports.  

Junk journalism: This kind of journalism is often bereft of deep investigation but rather thrive on speculations, rumours and assumptions.

Lagos residents: These are residents of Nigeria’s most populous city who are respondents in this study. An estimated 21 million people, going by 2014 World Population Review estimate, fall into this category.

Liberation journalism: This kind of journalism sees itself as defender of people’s rights while also providing information aimed at freeing the populace from the shackle of ignorance and repressions.  It is often partisan but always at the side of the masses. 

Perception: This has to do with how people see or rate personalities. Perception can be good or bad of the individual being assessed.

Social media: These are new media platforms powered by interconnectivity (internet) using various devices that draw people closer, notwithstanding the challenge of distance and space.

Survival journalism: This kind of journalism largely thrives on journalist’s desperation to survive social predicaments. It involves having scant regards for professional code of conducts but emphasizes more on survival.

Unethical: This has to do with conducts that are not in tandem with established moral standards.

You either get what you want or your money back. T&C Apply

You can find more project topics easily, just search

Quick Project Topic Search