The Impact of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) on Journalism Practice in Nigeria: A Study of the Nation, Sun and Champion Newspapers
The purpose of this study is to find out “The Impacts of Information Communication Technologies in Newspaper Production in contemporary Nigeria: A study of Nation, Sun and Champion newspapers staff” As a study on the aspect of impact, the survey method was used to ascertain the impacts of ICT’s in newspaper production. The population of this study was drawn from Nation, Sun and Champion newspapers. Questionnaire was used as the instrument for data collection. From the data collected and analyzed, various findings were made. These findings can be summarized by saying that newspaper industry in Nigeria makes use of information communication technologies in their production process. Newspaper industries in Nigeria have been using ICT’s for a long time: ICT’s make newspaper production easier. The adoption of ICT’s has changed newspaper production process in Nigeria. ICT’s have much impact on newsgathering. The adoptions of ICT’s have made the future of newspaper industry in Nigeria bright. To a large extent, the adoptions of ICT’s in newspaper industry have caused unemployment. On of the major constraints to the adoption of ICT’s is finance and with the adoption of ICT’s in Nigeria anybody can be a journalist. Newspapers firms should devote more time training their worker on the uses of ICTs. They should continually follow ICT’s trend and government on its own should encourage the adoption of ICTs in every sector in the country by financially empowering those sectors that cannot afford it.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have changed the entire system of newspaper production in Nigeria. Both the print and broadcast media are affected in one way or the other by the information revolution. Information is the primary input as well as the final output of Newspaper industry. It collects raw information and converts it into categorized, defined and useful pieces of information.
Therefore it will not be an exaggeration to say that the radical changes brought in the realm of information through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) revolution are bound to affect Newspaper more than any other industry. The adoption and absorption of Information and Communication Technologies are being carried out in newspaper industry by bringing efficiencies in all the functional wings including news gathering, production, editorial and marketing so as to gain competitive advantage (Indo American Print summit 2008:153).
Information and Communication technologies are now used not just by press but increasingly by reporters and editors also in Nigeria. Its benefits are being recognized at every point of the entire supply chain of newspaper production. The impact of Information and Communication technologies on every aspect of Newspaper, on the product, the production process, marketing and distribution in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
According to Chris (2001:7), technology development and absorption in Newspaper industry improved the printing process and reduced the operating time of editorial desks. The profuse use of online content and facilities has led to dominance of many-to-many model over one-to-many model of information collection. The individual or the department entrusted for the collection of information and news (Journalist) could gather information as per own and others convenience.
The wide range of editing, page making, database, photo imaging, and mixing software provided cutting-edge facilities to newspaper business which could now streamline and integrate intra-wings functions within a newspaper. The use of telefax, websites, online database, web based information sites, and online readers and newsmakers, made the cumbersome job of information collection and reporting easier than ever before.
The facilities of emails, personal blogs, and online discussion forums further have widened the canvas of information as the news of remotest areas could be retained within the deadlines. Information Technology made its presence felt in all quarters of news quarters. It not only impacted the functioning of newspapers and various departments but even gave birth to new avatar, the e- paper. Limitation of print versions, reach and accessibility, cost of newsprint abetted by unfathomable vista of Internet encouraged Newspapers companies Nigeria to launch electronic version of editions. Thus, ICTs made the newspaper available literally with a click of mouse anywhere anytime. However the e-paper is not a substitute to the print version rather a complement to the same.
There is a complete transformation from the days when reporters used to file report, which had to be cleared and screened by band of sub-editors, followed by final checking of story by editor himself/herself and even an army of trained proof readers. Whereas now the reports are being filed online or on Local Area Network, read, crosschecked and edited electronically, saving time and money.
Mass media evolved because people from all walks of life needed help to understand the world around them. Throughout history, newspapers have excelled at collecting, recording, and distributing information at many different levels and geographic locales. As they evolve in light of technological change, newspapers need to embrace that mission anew. In fact, defining what is news is now more critical than ever. And it is their ability to do this within the context of new technologies that is the key to newspapers’ survival. Writing in a recent New York Times Magazine column, veteran journalist Frankel (2005:38) prognosticates:
The newspapers that prosper in the next century will be the ones that offer the best journalism, that master the subjects about which they write and acquire the talent and expertise to appraise and explain an infinite variety of events. . . . Newspapers can trust the fermenting computer industry to perfect the technologies that will gradually replace their presses and delivery trucks. It’s talent that they will need to survive in the digital age — gifted editors, reporters, and image artists who can find meaning in the approaching information glut.
Today, the use of advanced commercial printing machinery has also enabled newspaper industry to print copies with well-defined properties, capable
of producing high precision graphic prints along with other direct mail printing services, the modern digital printing machines are printing 30 thousand and above copies per hour as against 3000 to 4000 copies per hour published by old printing press.
According to Tony (2004:4), the incorporation of digital inkjet proofing and colour management has enabled newspapers to use distributed printing sites to produce product while minimizing the possibility of colour loss and poor print quality. Decentralized printing distribution has been given a further boost by the introduction of inserting and distribution technologies that help in newspaper customize and produce targeted products.
In the past, traditional newspapers could only tell stories through text and images only, but now the advent of new media technologies allows journalists to tell stories in multiple channels. This increases the credibility of the story. It also allows users (readers), to become active participants in information creation. In other words, it turns users from been passive recipients of information to active participants of information production.
Based on the medium strengths and weakness barometer above it is apparent that online news services are multifunctional and flexible than other traditional forms of news media (Craig, 2005:13). This is also so because online services incorporate all functionalities which are found in traditional news media. It is also so because online news services are able to offer a tripple play (i.e. video, text and audio) which other news media channels can only offer in isolation.