INFLUENCE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTS) ON NEWS GATHERING (A STUDY OF PRACTICING JOURNALISTS IN OWERRI MUNICIPAL COUNCIL)

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ABSTRACT

This study “Influence of ICTs on news writing, a study of practicing journalists in Owerri municipal council” has positive impact on news writing and reporting because the advent of modern technology has really done great thing in our country. It is relevant to journalism practice because every technological breakthrough brings with its new audience, new orientation, new prospects and challenges. For an organization to effectively sell its products to an audience efficiently and effectively, it must have an efficient and adequate information technologies and corresponding knowledge of their uses. The objectives of the study is to ascertain the influences of ICTs on journalism practice. It explored the impact of the technologies in news and information reportage. However, the research method used in the study is the survey research method on practicing journalists. The sampling technique used was the purposive sampling technique which is the non- probability sampling technique, also the sample size was determined using the Taro Yamane’s formula (1964) which was 122. It used questionnaire to generate data and chi-square to test hypothesis. The findings showed that Owerri based practicing journalist were aware of ICTs, have access to ICTs and therefore make use of ICTs. ICTs have positive impact on news and information reportage. It recommends that capacity building is essential in the exposure of media practitioners to the requirements of technologies.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study
Media need to be recognized as an important vehicle responsible of acquainting the citizens with well-defined national goals by informing them of their role, expectation and obligation. Media practice is public interest oriented. It is the means through which government, institutions, organization and all others in authority are held accountable to and by the public. It means that the content of the media influences people’s thought and feelings and the world at large.
However, the alteration of the nature of communication experience in the society by the media, with the new technologies has become conspicuous. People attitude to the traditional media of televisions, music, radio, film and print has also changed due to the dynamic nature of the applied technology in their preference and delivery. Relative in the diaspora can interact with each other in cyber space (the digital world of communication).
In essence, the media and emerging technologies are bringing news ways of sending ideas, feelings, opinions, thoughts and information, new ways of hearing about the world, its identities and the future advance in the technology and their services have facilitated global information flour, which have fulfilled Marshal McLuhan’s global village concept, where ones neighbor is no longer the fellow who lives next door. He would be in a remote part of the hemisphere separated from one only on time and distance but also be differences in language, culture, norms and value. What happens to ones known by the other within a split second (Agba, 2001:7)
Information technology is any artifact manipulated by man to aid him communicate personally, massively and above all, timely information and communication technology (ICT) have enhanced global neighborhood in terms of medially in communication and information dissemination around the globe Nodu (2004:32)
According to Okunna (2004:20) wherever we think of information or communication technology, our minds fly to the world of computer, satellite, fax machine, fibre optics, digital networks and ultimately the internet network. She explains further that they are variously called New Communication Technology (NCT) which makes possible Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) and have given rise to the information high way or information super high way. All this have to do with the online world, which Hibson in Okunna called Cyberspace.
Agba in OkunnaC.S. (2004) explains that NCTs refers to the technology which impacts directly on the manner in which the media receive the information prepare for distribution and distribute in it. Agba also attributes these new firms and processes of communication with greater speed, greater reach, clearer vision and capacity for two way flow of information.
Many newspaper houses in the western states like the TV and Radio also engaged in satellites publications in different cities across the country and beyond. Dominick (1993:184) gave example of such papers as the international herald tribute. Washington post, USA, today international world paper, the financial times of London, the economics and the wall street journal.
Satellite publication is not currently available in Nigeria, thus, the provision of the early editions and late edition of the same newspapers. If one buys a newspaper of National circulation in the overt, Edo or Delta States and one buys another copy of the same newspaper on the same
day as soon as the consumers crosses the Niger bridge into East, the difference in their content become evident. While one is early edition, the other is in late edition.
In addressing the relevance of Technologies, Owuamalam (2005:12) canvasses that the information high way, known as the internet, shows how maturity in the 21st century has transformed journalism to a state of art profession, where novices in the new technology seems to be left at the feet of relegated to the dungeon of intellectual abyss through either ignorance or inefficient compliance to the technology opportunities of the century, Owuamalam concludes.
Information technology is not in itself a medium but a social force, bringing changes to the media world. It has affected the publishing process like copywriting, reporting, editing, page making and filming. The internet and computer have facilitates journalist practice in contemporary times. The internet is one of the most prominent factors which has given credence to the statement that the world is a global village (McLuhan, 1974:100).
Nwabueze, (2005:163) defines internet as an interconnectivity of computers and some other devices like mobile phones which exchange information with the aid of telephone lines. The screen of any computer, connected to the internet, is a magic carpet. It transports a newer round the world in a few minutes without moving an inch.
Some print publications now use the net to coordinate activities of their reporters, pages are even planned in some out stations and send through the net to the head office where such pages are made part of the newspapers to be published. Most printed publication are produced regionally, but daily by specially designed production. Computers which are able to receive data either by phone lines, micro waves or satellites from where they are printed automatically Ikpe and Ibekwe (2006:67).
The computer is at the very heart of the convergence and its entry into the media industry has been a credible boom in terms of speed, innovation and accuracy, Ikpe and Ibekwe (2006). They believed that the computer earned this enviable position in the digital convergence because of its ability to transform text, number, sound and graphics into a digital form. The application if ICTs to the media industry has changed the working of the industry, it has influenced broadcast product content, circulation aesthetics and the quality of staff in each ICT driven establishment and created a new set of new carrier. The strategy has also brought people of different profession together. Like those in computer science, electronic engineering etc. In what Nwosu (2007:11) called Synergistic communication for development, where professionals from various fields poll ideas and resources together towards achieving a sustainable human development.
Journalism in the 21st century is an amalgam of training competence and expertise. It requires the sagacity of appreciating audience new and the ability to meet customers’ aspiration for prosperity a shine on journalist Owuamalam (2006:125). It is only when journalist are abreast with technologies of the 21st century that journalism will be hailed as relevance to the need and service of the society. Journalist must note that at the punch of technology driver’s communication button, one is ushered into the information super highway where the desired information about the world is at ones palm. They must discover appropriate use for each new technology to note that laptop computers, GSM handset and even video phones are useless if not put to appropriate use Owuamalam (2006:122).
ICTs have aided in every aspect of mass communication in Nigeria, advertising has survived through the years of early press to the modern times with increasing modernizations as a result of advancement in information and communication technology (ICTs) Obasi (2011:205)
Since ICTs have made it possible for individual who may reside as far off north. Say America assess the details of issues that go on in America, say Nigeria just as it is happening Owualamam (2006:177). Therefore ask:
– What therefore is the implication of journalism in the use of sophisticated and most modern equipment in the 21st century?
– How will the transformation affect journalists their roles and the performance in contemporary times?
– How would journalism grapple with the dictate of the new technology where power supply is epileptic and sometimes erratic or even with the embarrassing scarcity of fuel for power generation in Nigeria, the 7th largest producer of oil in the world.
It is the manner with which the media correspondents utilize these ICTs materials for effective gathering, processing and dissemination of news and information in what this research sets out to find out. Also, it becomes necessary to understand how journalistic effectiveness, efficiency, competence and training can be attained in the information jet.
Above all, this study seeks to ascertain the perception of journalist on the extent to which the ICTs have influence the media practice, as regards performance, efficiency, job substitution or loss amongst others.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The modern technological era has increasingly paved the way and created impact in the communication world with the result and other reason, much emphasis therefore should be laid on procuring digitalized equipment, no matter what or much it cost. This action therefore will
help to enhance the quality and quantity of news and information contents. The problem therefore, is that new technologies cannot address the problems of news content and staleness in the media particularly the print medium.
As a relatively new and indeed vast field, the new information technology has been greeted with curiosity. It has touched off analyses of its native potentials and danger Ukonu (2006:98). Third world countries like Nigeria and Ghana have also joined in the search on how to adapt the potentials of the new information technology to the best use possible. The problem is that the ignorance about the capabilities of the NICT can affect their use and adaptation in contemporary mass media industries, Journalism practice cannot benefit from only adaptation.
NICTs adoption in the rural area is perceived at a misplaced priority, now journalistic practice can address this importantly too, is the study of the behavior of journalist (fear of job safety, carrier substitution) towards NICTs since their emergence in their work places it becomes necessary to ascertain if the fear of job loss and health hazards associated with NICTs are real or imagined as a hindrance to the adoption of the new technologies for news gathering and journalism practice.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The purpose of the study is to:
1. To find out if practicing journalists in Owerri are aware of ICTs.
2. To ascertain the proportion of practicing journalists in Owerri that have received formal training in the ICTs.
3. To find out if the use of ICTs have positive impact on news and information reportage.
4. To find out if practicing journalists in Owerri have access to ICTs.
1.4 Research Questions
1. Do practicing journalists in Owerri aware of ICTs?
2. How many practicing journalists in Owerri have formal training on the use of ICTs?
3. Does the use of ICTs have positive impact on news and information reportage?
4. Do practicing journalists in Owerri have access to ICTs?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H0: A good number of Owerri based practicing journalists are not aware of ICT. H1: A good number of Owerri based practicing journalists are aware of ICT.
H0: A good number of Owerri based practicing Journalists do not have access to ICT. H2: A good number of Owerri based practicing journalists have access to ICT.
H0: ICT usage does not have positive impact on news and information reportage. H3: ICT usage do have positive impact on news and information reportage.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of Study
The scope of the study is Owerri, the capital city of Imo state. All journalists who practice in Owerri are represented in this study. These journalist practice in Owerri and where purpose chosen to represent the media practitioners in the state.
The study encountered various militating factors among which is lack of adequate finance. They serve economic situation of the country that reflect in the low par capital income
and high expenditures limits availability of financial resources. However the researcher employed judicious and careful prioritizing his need and the research need.
Again, the selected respondent were hard to come by due to their busy programme as schedule culminating from the nature of the job of media practitioners. This therefore hindered the administration and retrieval of questionnaire of the respondents’ contacts to various media industries in Owerri (NTA, Orient TV, IBC, statesman, newspaper etc.) where the respondents work were continuously met and the respondents cooperate as sort. Time posed as serious impediments to the study as the research has other academic and otherwise interests to cover, but proper time allocation was applied by the researcher for better task accomplishment.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study will provide the media owners, planners and practitioners’ good reasons on why ICTs should be employed in their media operations. It will serve as a reference point for current and future information and communication technology users, researchers, scholars, and students.
It will also serve as a knowledge based for understanding ICTs potentials, dangers and how to utilize the benefits offered by the ICTs and encourages the people on how to manage the risks associated with ICTs users. In addition, the study will help to clear the doubt on whether ICTs emergence lead to job loses to media practitioners. Finally, the research findings will add to the existing literature in the area of information communication technologies.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Mass Media: Mass media is an organization that controls technologies such as broadcast media (television, radio) and the print media (newspaper, magazine, books etc.).
Information Technology: Information technology is any artifact manipulated by man to aid him communicate personally, massively and above all, timely information and communication technology (ICT) have enhanced global neighborhood in terms of medially in communication and information dissemination around the globe.
Communication: Communication is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more participants.
Information: Information is conveyed either as the content of a message or through direct and indirect observation of something.

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