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This study examined the role of Guardian newspaper and newswatch magazine in Nigeria. Using content analysis, 72 editions of news paper and 24weeks of newswatch magazine since its weeks publication wars used. The guardian newspaper and newswatch magazine were analyzed. It was found out that the coverage of crime by the newspaper and magazine was very low. Placement of stories about crime issues were mostly in the inside papers an indication that they were not fairly reported. Most of the time, crime issues were seen and not heard in the magazine based on the findings, the researcher recommends, that the Nigerian union of journalists should re-define news values and the code of ethics of journalists to curtail the commoditization or commercialization of news which has led to this bias coverage. Media Operators should apply the tenets of social responsibility theory.



1.1     Background to the Study

The role of mass media in the society includes surveillance, interpretation, linkage, transmission of values and entertainment. (Dominick 2002) Apparently in agreement, MU’azu (2002) explains that, “in its surveillance function, the press play s the role of an observer, which is a necessary  component for enforcing economic, political, cultural and even moral stability” in the polity.

However, we live in world of strife, violence and wars. Despite the untiring effort of individuals, groups, organizations and countries all over the worlds to promote peaceful co-existence among men and women our  generation is still being threatened by the ravage of  terrorism, crime. Indeed, the phenomenon of terrorism and crime today are something that are most disturbing and calls for renewed counter terrorism and counter criminal approaches.

Critically, the positive and negative effects of the many massages the mass media send out about crime and terrorism on daily basis to audience are not often given top priority. What seems to matter to mass media practitioners under write or broadcast the latest happenings under the philosophy that the people have the right to know what is happening within and outside their environment. Looking at is stance of the media practitioners closely one is provoked to ask these questions.

How are the mass media practitioners or gate keepers sure that what the “global public” wants is given to it in terms of information distribution? How are they sure that their audience like the way and manner criminal and terrorism activities are enthroned on the media podium of agenda-setting theory? How often do mass media practitioners applaud or celebrate on daily basis promoters of universal meaningful developments, especially in the less developed nations of the world?

        Therefore, emphasis in this research will be placed on the extent and nature of coverage given by the print media (Newspaper and Magazine). Bittnery (2005, P.22) says that “Newspapers are a major force in forming public opinion and affecting nation and international  efforts toward economic progress and global understanding” He enthuse that “today, the Newspaper industry has become the largest in the world”. Buttressing this point, Aliagan (2006, P.44) states that “the Newspaper carries out several vital functions in the society. These include storing and disseminating information, contributing to social progress through sponsorship of community aspiration, promoting culture, and educating people providing a forum for cross-fertilization of knowledge and ideas, entertaining and unifying people with common goals”

1.2     Statement of the Research Problem

Every society has ways and means of condemning criminal acts. Of course, the law and is a major tool used tools used to check criminal activities but it is pertinent to know that the media also do that, although, they act6 according to the dictates of the law. That is, in reporting a crime story, the media have tips or rules of crime reporting formulated based on what the law provides.

The following are some of the highlighted problem.

·     Poor security engulfing the country generally has made journalists coward 

·     Poor constitutional backup for journalists in covering crime stories especially in court.

·     No adequate training and seminar on crime for journalist.

·     There is problem of inadequate information about various crimes and its perpetrators. Government amnesty programs and other negotiations with terrorists and militants serve as encouragement for criminal. 

1.3     Objective of the Study

Given the critical importance of the media in Nigerian’s development, a study of the magnitude is imperative to harness the roles the newspaper and magazine could play in contributing to national development through effective reporting coverage and education of the masses. The main objective of this study is to investigate the “role of News watch Magazine and Guardian newspaper in crime control in Nigeria”.

The specific objectives are;

1.   To determine the level of coverage on crime issues by the Newspaper and Magazine.

2.   To identify the prominence attached to crime issues in Nigeria vis-à-vis the placement of their, stories in Nigeria newspapers and magazine.

3.   To determine the frequency of coverage of crime issues in Nigeria by newspapers and magazines.

4.   To determine how the newspapers and magazine portray  and present crime issues

1.4     Research Questions

In line with the objectives of the study, the following research questions were posed:

1.   What is the level of coverage of crime issues, by Nigeria newspapers and magazine?

2.   What is the level of prominence attached to crime issues vis-a-vis the placement of their stories by Nigeria newspapers and magazine?

3.   What is the frequency of coverage of crime issues by newspapers and magazines?

4.   How are crime issues presented in Nigeria newspapers and magazines?

1.5     Significance of the Study

This study is significant in several respects. It will serve as a guide to the print media organizations, particularly the Newswatch Magazine and Guardian Newspaper companies respectively in crime reporting and crime related issues as well as adopt investigative and interpretative approaches towards crime reportage, as this will help encourage advance public and policy discussions on key issues in our criminal justice system in Nigeria and ensure that crimes are given wider coverage in the law court during trials of crime suspects.

Furthermore, the relevant of this work cannot be over emphasized in that the research will help to study the evolution and the society at large.

The study will benefit the print media by awaken them their responsibility in cubing crime. While it will further serve as reference point for students and other researchers who may wish to carry out similar studies. Finally, it should be of great importance for policy formulation by government and security experts.

1.6     Scope of the Study

This study is a single variable approach. Therefore, it adopted the content analysis approach (i.e. a single variable research method). This study was limited to only two print media: The Newswatch Magazine and Guardian Newspaper; for reason of cost constraints and the need to obtain a verifiable and result oriented research. This suggests that the study did not focus on other forms of mass media such as radio, television, bill board etc.

More, issues of crime such as Murder, Kidnapping, Rape, Armed Robbery, stealing Official corruption reported by the selected papers also constituted the scope of the study.

The analysis of the magazine and newspaper contents covered a six month period (Jan-June 2015). The analysis of these two selected media contents considered both opinion and factual reporting of issues under review. Thus the magazine and newspaper contents analyzed included straight news, editorial comment, signed opinions, cartoons, letter-to-the-editor, features, supplements and columns respectively.

1.7     Limitation to the Study

1.   Stress from other academic assignments is one of the limitations to the research work.

2.   Financial constraint.

3.   Duration for the research work is relatively short.

4.   Uneasy access to informative materials at the university of Nigeria Nsukka library.

1.8     Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined in accordance with their specific usage in the study.

1.   Role: This is synonymous to impact or function

2.   Newswatch Magazine and Guardian Newspaper: These are means of information dissemination to a wider audience. Its known as the (print media).

3.   Crime: all forms of serious offence punishable by law, which usually involves violence.

4.    Control: It means minimizing, cubing, bring to the barest minimum.

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