IMPACT OF ICT ON CITIZEN JOURNALISM IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE
A RESEARCH PROJECT
THE DEPARTMENT OF MASS COMMUNICATION
SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION ARTS
MAURID POLYTECHNIC, MBIASO, NSIT IBOM LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, AKWA IBOM STATE
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT ON THE REQUIRMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF NATIONAL DIPLOMA (ND) IN MASS COMMUNICATION
This study set out to investigate the impacts of ICTs on citizen journalism among Uyo residents. The main objective was to examine the various roles which the use of ICTs can play in citizenship journalism among residents in Uyo. That is to say, in what ways can the ICTs help Uyo public to gather as well as disseminate information. The technological determinism and diffusion of innovation theories were used to anchor the study as well to explain the findings. The study adopted the survey design as it helped to find out the views of Uyo residents about the impacts of ICTs on citizen journalism. A total of 384 persons were drawn as sample size from a population of 305961, using the Australian calculator.
The questionnaire was used as the instrument for collecting data from the respondents. It was found, among others, that the ICTs are reasonably popular among Uyo residents; Uyo residents are actively engaged in citizenship journalism; effective ICT use is massively associated with better practice of citizenship journalism among Uyo residents; and the Internet as the most dominant ICT that facilitates citizen journalism in Uyo. It was recommended that Government should provide subsidies to enable ordinary citizens acquire and use the ICTs.
Impact of ICT on Citizen Journalism in Nigeria
1.1 Background to the Study
Rapid expansion of a mass of diversified information is occurring, which has received the name ‘information explosion’ (Trostnikov, 1999, p. 345), and has led to principal changes in collection, processing and transmission of information as well as giving rise to a complex phenomenon known as Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The pace of change brought by this new phenomenon has had significant effect on the activities of virtually all industries worldwide.
ICT is a complex phenomenon and has multiple applications. In keeping with their complex nature and multiple applications, ICT may be viewed in different ways. The World Bank (2000) defines ICT as the set of activities which facilitate by electronic means the processing, transmission and display of information. They are technologies people use to share, distribute, gather information and communicate through computers and computer networks.
ICT was described by Marcelle (2000, p. 231) as a complex varied set of goods, applications and services used for producing, distributing, processing, transforming information. ICT represents a cluster of associated technologies defined by their functional usage in information access and communication, of which one embodiment is the Internet.
Today, according to Sabadello (2011), modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as the Internet, cell phones and other “new media” have decisively contributed to the globalization process and had numerous impacts on social and political structures and the ways in which we interact with each other world-wide. These technologies have greatly transformed the way in which information is being generated, processed, transmitted, interlinked and received. As a medium, they are cheaper, faster and more interactive than more traditional media such as radio or television. It is therefore obvious that the introduction and widespread availability of ICTs have also in multiple ways affected the field of journalism.
The field of journalism has continued to expand beyond the mainstream elements of radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. The production of public content and information has ceased to be the province of professional journalists alone. Today, every connected citizen has the technical means to not only consume, but also potentially to publish and share digital content with a broad audience. This interactivity has among other things given rise to citizen journalism.
Citizen journalism is a situation where people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others. Media-related activities by the general public can include not only the direct production of original information, but also the influence over information flow, filtering and structuring.
Today, the mainstream availability of ICTs has opened up new possibilities for traditional journalism to collect and publish information, as well as given rise to completely new forms of information flow involving not just professionals, but also potentially any connected citizen. It is on that note that the research set out to examine the impacts of ICTs on citizen journalism.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Across the past two decades the use of ICT has fundamentally changed the practices and procedures of nearly all forms of endeavors with business and government. The impact of ICT across the past couple of decades has been enormous. The duty of journalist is by no means an exception in view of the widespread impact of ICT. Modern ICTs can affect the work of professional journalists in two ways: they enable them to collect more information, and they make it possible to disseminate their own work through new publishing channels.
The idea that everybody can participate not only in the consumption but also in the production of information, otherwise called citizen journalism, is becoming a popular one. Given the ability and potentials of the ICT to make principal changes in collection, processing and transmission of information, as well as the growing popularity and extent of use of ICT among the Uyo public, it becomes an interesting and promising endeavour to more closely examine the various roles which the use of ICTs can play in citizenship journalism among residents in Uyo. That is to say, in what ways can the ICTs help the Uyo public to gather as well as disseminate information?
Impact of ICT on Citizen Journalism in Nigeria
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study were to:
- Examine the extent of use of ICT among Uyo residents.
- Examine the involvement of Uyo residents in citizenship journalism.
- Find out the impact of ICT on citizenship journalism practice among Uyo residents.
- Find out the level of dominance of ICTs in the practice of journalism among Uyo residents.
- Find out the problems affecting the impact of ICTs on citizenship journalism among Uyo residents.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will guide this study:
- To what extent is the ICTs is being used among Uyo residents?
- How often do Uyo residents engage in citizenship journalism?
- What is the impact of ICT on citizenship journalism practice among Uyo residents?
- What is the dominance of ICTs in the practice of citizenship journalism among Uyo residents?
- What are the problems affecting the impact of ICTs on citizenship journalism among Uyo residents?
1.5 Justification of the Study
The findings of this study will be of tremendous importance to the following: The ministerial committee on ICT policy harmonization had in 2012 made assumptions about ICT use in Nigeria, and people have claimed that their assumptions were unfounded as there is better ICT use in various parts of Nigeria. The findings of this study would either confirm or despite the findings of the committee regarding the use of ICT in Nigeria, with particular reference to Uyo.
This study would also help Nigerians and the international community to gauge the extent to which the globalisation fever has caught the Nigerian internet users. It would also help mainstream media and internet entrepreneurs to examine the viability of citizen journalism platforms in the countries.
Mainstream media owners and professional journalists would use the findings of this study in making their ICT use decisions. They would be aware of the impacts of ICT and see how to take advantage of citizen journalism in mainstream journalism. This will also bring to fore the challenges (if any) facing ICT use in Nigerian mass media. This is important because as a developing country, there is a tendency for limited use of ICT due to challenges that might arise from cost, manpower, infrastructure, etc. The students and scholars, who are conducting a study on the use of ICTs in mass media, or a related field, would find this study very resourceful.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
There are various ICTs that could be used in journalism, but this study is particularly concerned with personal computers, laptops, cameras, mobile phones and the Internet. These four ICTs have the most potential for contributing to citizen journalism. This study is delimited to Uyo metropolis, to enable the researchers to be able to locate internet users who, as reports indicate, mostly live in urban areas.
Impact of ICT on Citizen Journalism in Nigeria
1.7 Limitations of the Study
The study faced some challenges that were accurately taken care of. One was the problem of population: there is no recent population figure of Uyo. The last record was from the 2006 population census. This was however contained by projecting the population of the city using the formula stated by Owuamalam (2012). Time constraint was also faced because the time for this research was combined with academic activities.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The researcher defined the following used terms operationally:
Citizen Journalism: The situation where Uyo residents participate not only in the consumption but also in the production and dissemination of information.
Dominant ICTs: Mostly used media technologies that can facilitate citizen journalism.
ICTs: Media technologies such as personal computers, laptops, cameras, mobile phones and the Internet that can be used by Uyo residents to consume as well as produce and disseminate information.
Impact: The extent to which Uyo residents’ participation in citizen journalism depends on the use of the ICTs.
Mainstream journalism: The traditional means used in the consumption, production and dissemination of information via newspapers, magazines, TV and radio.
Media: media in this study are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media networking tools which journalists use to disseminate information to a large heterogeneous audience.
Journalism: this is the practice of writing, editing, and disseminating information to the public.
Modern journalism: it is a term used to describe the new era in journalism where internet and computers are used in almost every journalistic activity.
Lawson Peter – Chief Editor in Projectvilla Nigeria. A writer and academic researcher.