INFLUENCE OF NEWS BLOGGERS ON JOURNALISTS IN NIGERIA
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The influence of news bloggers on journalists in Nigeria is examined in this study. The advent of social media, blogging, and other digital platforms brought about by the rise, spread, and development of information and communication technology has revolutionized journalistic practice globally, including in Nigeria. The Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Technological Determinism served as the foundation for the study. The questionnaire was utilized in conjunction with the survey research method to obtain data. Sixty (60) journalists who were specifically selected from NUJ, Press Center, Osogbo, and five more bloggers who answered the email survey comprised the sample size for this study. The information was gathered both offline and online via a Google form that was forwarded to the bloggers’ Whatsapp and email addresses. Nonetheless, the data was analyzed using frequency and percentage. According to research, blogging has significantly changed how journalism is practiced, particularly in the areas of breaking news, interaction, high feedback, multimedia content creation, live reporting, social content sharing, and overthrowing governmental hegemony. This is because citizens are now actively producing information rather than just consuming it. It was suggested that in order to prepare graduates for careers in the new media, blogging, online journalism, and multimedia journalism should be urgently incorporated to the curricula of polytechnics, universities, and other relevant institutions.
1.1 Background to the Study
The advent of information and communication technology has transformed all aspects of human life, including communication, interaction, and politics, to name a few. According to Kur (2014), as cited in Awake Magazine (2002), the dynamic nature of the twenty-first century and future centuries is based on technological transformation.
According to Olayinka (2018), the globe has been compacted into a single electronic room where people may communicate knowledge, thoughts, and concepts anywhere and at any time with the click of a mouse or the tap of a screen/pad. According to Statista Research Department (2022), it is hard to conceive a world without the Internet in this century. In addition, as of April 2022, there were over five billion internet users globally, accounting for 63.1 percent of the global population. Of this total, 4.7 billion people, or 59% of the world’s population, used social media.
Similarly, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) estimates that there are 151.4 million Internet users in Nigeria. GSM operators added 26 million new Internet customers to the network between 2019 and July 2022. This is despite the fact that broadband phone penetration has increased to 44.5 percent, with 84.9 million Nigerians using the service (Adepetun, 2022).
Without a question, increased Internet penetration is the primary reason for the proliferation of bloggers, particularly news bloggers, in Nigeria and around the world (Adaramola, 2022). As a result, the rise of digital media and the expansion of the Internet in recent years has increased competition between professional journalists and amateur news bloggers.
Traditional news organizations are facing new challenges as they compete with a growing number of citizen journalists, who are often able to publish their work more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional journalists (Nielsen, Cornia, and Kalogeropoulos, 2016). Thus, bloggers and other citizen journalists take advantage of the global reach and low barriers to entry provided by the internet, allowing them to reach large audiences with their work.
They also tend to be able to respond more quickly to breaking news events than traditional news organizations. However, this fast pace and relatively low threshold for entry have led to some concerns about the quality and accuracy of the information being disseminated (Nielsen, Cornia, and Kalogeropoulos, 2016).
In contrast, professional journalists tend to have more training and experience in journalism or related fields and are held to higher ethical standards. They often work for established news organizations that have the resources to fact-check and verify the information they publish (Amobi and McAdams, 2014).
Overall, the increased competition between news bloggers and journalists has led to a more diverse news landscape, with a wider range of voices and perspectives. Bloggers and journalists both produce content, but there are key differences between the two in terms of their training, experience, and professional standards (Amobi and McAdams, 2014).
It should be noted that bloggers are typically individuals who write and publish content on their own personal websites or online platforms. They can be hobbyists, experts in a particular field, or even professionals in other industries who have a passion for writing and sharing their thoughts and ideas online. They typically do not have professional training in journalism and may not be held to the same standards of accuracy and fact-checking as journalists (Mudathir and Aasim, 2010).
Journalists, on the other hand, are professionals who are trained in the craft of journalism and are usually employed by news organizations. They are expected to adhere to a set of ethical standards and guidelines, such as accuracy, fairness, and impartiality in their reporting. They often have years of experience in the field and are experts in their field of coverage. They can be reporters, editors, photographers, and more. That being said, as the line between amateurs and professionals is becoming blurrier in the age of digital media, the distinctions are not always that clear-cut. Many bloggers have gone on to become journalists and many journalists now maintain a blog (Mudathir and Aasim, 2010).
According to Alao and Alao (2017), there were no blogs or bloggers in Nigeria until about 2 decades ago, and more proliferation in a decade. The major source of information for the public than was the mainstream media i.e. radio, television, newspaper, etc. But after blogs sprouted about twenty (20) years ago, the media landscape has greatly changed and redefined because people can now access information on the go, either in their home or office, in fact, practically everywhere and anytime information from far and near can be accessed, uploaded and shared with a click of the mouse and a touch of the screen (Alao and Alao, 2017).
Today, there are lots of blogs and bloggers offering varieties of information to the public that include news, other blogs focus on recipes, gossip, real estate, technology, fashion, politics, education, children, beauty, sport, and humor. The bloggers have become a permanent fixture in the media scene in Nigeria. In terms of information sources, blogs have undoubtedly displaced some of the space previously held by newspapers, television, and radio.
In today’s ‘newssphere, what the mainstream media/journalists will be covering are already in the public domain offered by the bloggers. Even election results report that used to be the sole role of the traditional mass media are now in the hand of bloggers and citizen writers who use social media to share the election result batch by batch as the ballot count progresses.
In Nigeria today, there are thousands of blogs that cut across, news, entertainment, gist, fashion, and lots more, some of them are Linda Ikeji’s Blog, BellaNaija, SisiYemmie, OgbongeBlog, 9jafoodie, Naija News, Bukas Blog, Naijabulletin, Jadore Fashion, Nigerian Wedding Blog, Wothappen, MPmania, TheNewsGuru, Wothappen, HiTNG Online (Feedspos 2023).
To this end, the research is on the thrust to analyze the increasing competition between news bloggers and traditional journalists with a few to understand the level of competition, perceptions, and collaboration within the news spheres.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Bloggers have become a key feature in today’s media environment, growing in number and influence in communication and (mass) media discourse (Baresch et al, 2011). Audiences are increasingly turning to blogs for news and information, with some bloggers outshining established media houses in breaking stories and allowing users to interact with them freely.
The bloggers’ rising influence has made them acknowledged as key participants in providing news and information in the changing media environment, where the internet is becoming the main tool of communication. There is growing concern about the role of the bloggers in dissemination of information. This is particularly because most of them are not trained journalists, they operate outside many laws that govern journalistic practice, for instance, the ones covering the right to privacy and defamation, and most of the time they offer information that is not verified.
It is against this background that the research analyzes the increasing competition between news bloggers and traditional journalists to ensure the level of competition, perceptions, and collaboration within the news spheres.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to analyze the increasing competition between news bloggers and traditional journalists while the specific objectives are:
- To determine the impact of blogging on the practice of journalism?
- To ascertain how blogging is changing the perception of mainstream journalism.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the impacts of blogging on the practice of journalism?
- In what ways has blogging changed the perception of mainstream journalism in Nigeria?
1.5 Significance of the Study
- This study provides information that would help to understand the relationship between bloggers and journalists. It sheds light on the perceptions of journalists towards bloggers, who are seemingly taking over their work. It will help to know what motivates Nigerian bloggers, their role in the changing media environment, how they perceive their roles, and their views about mainstream journalists.
- The study affords newspaper organizations the opportunity to work out modalities with a view to knowing what type of information people are seeking online and how to meet this gratification. It exposes more people to the existence of online news especially how to determine credible sources. This will turn to boost awareness and facilitate the patronage of online news especially among people.
- The government through its various agencies such as NBC, and BON among others see more reasons and techniques on how to regulate online bloggers to prevent hate words and the spreading of propaganda that can mislead people.
- Future researchers and students will find the material relevant as it will form bulk literature that exists in the field of mass communication, journalism, digital communication, etc that they can lay hands on when carrying out research related or similar to this.
- Its findings generate debate on the work of bloggers and journalists in this era of rising internet use and stimulate further research on the subject. More importantly, the research provides and adds knowledge to the area under study.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study which analyzes the increasing competition between news bloggers and traditional journalists has been narrowed down in scope to the journalists and bloggers in Osogbo. The geographical location of this study is Osogbo, Osun State. Hence, the choice of Osun State is due to its proximity to the researcher while it will also be difficult to study all journalists and bloggers in Nigeria due to inadequate time, funds, and other logistics.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Analyzing: In this research, analyzing means carefully examining whether there is increasing competition between news bloggers and mainstream media/journalists.
Competition: This refers to the situation of whether news bloggers and journalists see each other as rivals.
News Bloggers: In this study, news bloggers are online news platforms/social media that allow individuals to regularly self-publish information, and share ideas, news, commentaries, gossip, and analyses on various topics.
Blogger: A blogger is considered a person who runs a blog where anyone can post information e.g. lindaikejiblog.com, factualnews.com.ng, nairaland.com, eyewitnessng.com, etc.
Traditional Journalists: These are trained journalists in Nigeria as different from bloggers who either work as full-time staff or part-time with the responsibility of news gathering
Citizen journalism: In this study, news or news articles are written by any person who is not a journalist, usually a blogger but has access to the internet and seeks to promote a product, story, or certain course.
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