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This research work examined the role of the new media on newspaper readership among residents of Kaduna metropolis. The basic objective of the study was to examine how often respondents read online newspaper whenever they access the internet and to ascertain if there is a relationship between the purchase of offline newspaper and online newspaper readership as well as how age affects respondents‘ preference for online or offline newspaper. The Uses and Gratification as well as Social Category Theories were used to explain this work. The survey method was used in this study through the administration of questionnaires which formed the main source of data collection, while the Chi-square test was used to check relationships. The research established that there was no significant relationship between access to the internet and online newspaper readership. It was also established that the main driving force for reading online newspaper was convenience. This study also established a significant relationship between readership of online newspaper and purchase of offline newspaper. A significant relationship between age and preference for newspaper was also established. Also, it was discovered that there is dearth of reading culture especially among younger people. However, there may be other factors like age and dearth of reading culture militating against the sales and readership of offline newspaper other than the free online newspaper readership. It was recommended that government establishments as well as private companies should endeavor to place adverts on pages of newspapers to ensure their survival and people, especially youths should also be encouraged to read newspaper.
1.1 Background to the Study
The internet has become a phenomenal source of news and information that is threatening the
traditional news media such as the newspapers. (Boczkowski, 2004). But because of the
polarized views on the precise impact of the internet on the printed newspaper, the connection
between the two is worthy of academic inquiry.
McLuhan (1964) has predicted the attainment of a ‗global village‘ in which information and
experience would be freely available for all to share.
For centuries, the media of mass communication have been constantly evolving. In fact, today,
the mass media is the most fluid industry with new innovations in information technology. Every
passing season, it is either a new media is entering the market or there is an upgrade of an
existing medium. Today, the internet has brought about digitization of the traditional media of
mass communication namely: the broadcast (radio and television) and the print (newspapers,
magazines etc.). It has also ushered in an era of online digital media and has raised the concept of
new media. Pavlik and McIntosh (2011: 65) say, ―The web is not even twenty years old and has
undergone dramatic technological and visual changes in its short life. Companies that did not
exist fifteen years ago are now global media and technology powerhouse that rival established
The internet is having profound impact on the media of mass communication and on the
audience of the traditional mass media.
At the heart of the issue is also the problem of cover price revenues and advertisements.
Nigerians have popularised the ‗free readers association of Nigeria‘ (FAN) concept, a term and
acronym used to refer to the practice of locals congregating around newsstands to read
newspapers and magazines for free. It may seem now that such practices have now been elevated
and taken to another level with the advent of the internet, since the free readers or ‗punters‘ now
only need to log on to any newspaper or magazine of their choice. This obviously may have
some impact on revenues of such newspapers.
The internet has also provided Nigerian journalists with international exposure, they no longer
have to travel to New York or London to be read or heard, they can file a story from remote
areas and post it on the internet. This then exposes their writing style, journalistic ethics and
professionalism to the scrutiny of both national and international audiences. In turn, Nigerian
journalists are now able to also sample freely the writings of their counterparts in the established
western media such as the Wall Street Journal. The Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times, which
will lead to their adopting best practices. While some of these independent websites are national
in outlook; there are also many of them that appeal only to particular ethnic audience. To some
extent, photojournalists in Nigeria are now able to use Internet facilities such as electronic mails
to upload and mail their pictures to their newsrooms from distant locations.
A major trend that has emerged in journalism practice in Nigeria as regards the internet is the
rise of independent media. These sites are now competing with the established newspapers'
websites in the provision of news and information to Nigerians at home and abroad. The
websites are already winning in the ratings stakes, as some of them claim daily visits which are
quite higher than the figures the established newspaper organisations will even dream of. Some
of the popular independent websites include, www. gamji.com, www. nigeriaworld.com, www.
biafraworld.com, www. lagosforum.com, www. newsdailytrust.com among others.
Meanwhile, a vast majority of newspapers around the world have electronic copies. This is no
longer an option for them because of the drop in revenue and readership. According to Krumsvik
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