1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The latest trends in media technologies have changed the entire system of newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria. Both the print and broadcast media are affected in one way or the other by the technology revolution (Kowet, 2000). 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 (McLuhan, 1994). Therefore it will not be an exaggeration to say that the radical changes brought in the realm of Newspaper production and circulation through technologies (ICTs). Recent technology revolution in the media industry is bound to affect Newspaper more than any other industry. The adoption and absorption of media technology are being carried out in newspaper industry by bringing efficiencies in all the functional wings including newsgathering, production, editorial and marketing so as to gain competitive advantage (Indo American Print summit, 2008).
Media 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 (Harlan & Garry, 1999). The impact of media technologies on every aspect of Newspaper production, on the product, the production process, circulating, marketing and distribution in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
According to Chris (2001), 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 headlines. Media 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 circulation 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, media technology 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.
Media technology evolved because people from all walks of life needed help to understand the world around them (Kowet, 2000). Throughout history, newspapers have excelled at collecting, recording, circulating 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.
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), 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 ensuring effective circulation.
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 and circulation. This study is focused on The Nations newspaper which was launched in Lagos Nigeria on Monday July 31, 2006 and it is well circulated all over the nation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The processes of using manual in newspaper production and circulation over the years have been of major concern to newspaper industry. Manual production and circulation processes of Newspaper not only in Nigeria but the world over takes more time and more workers than the modern process but yet produces less number of copies. This cumbersome process affects the financial base of the industry as more workers and time are required to produce less number of copies which in most cases also fail to meet both the deadlines and the number demanded for. The dependency on manual production also created tedious jobs for reporters, correspondents, editors, copywriters, as well as circulation personnel. This study is aimed at ascertaining the role of media technology in ameliorating these challenges. The adoption of media technologies, have altered the manual production and circulation processes. Technology development and absorption in Newspaper industry has improved the printing process and reduced the operating time of editorial desk. The journalist, correspondent or the editorial department entrusted for the collection of information and news (Journalist) could gather information while in the office without much inconvenience using the modern technology.
Though new technology has introduced some extra costs, it has brought benefits in return. Portable computers mean that reporters working away from the main office can now deliver stories quickly, simply and reliably using a modem to gain access to internet, rather than dictating them to a typist or a rewrite desk as in the case of manual production and circulation. The ability to submit stories and communicate with editors electronically saves time for most journalists, particularly freelancers, who often delivered their finished work by hand in the past. Now they can easily work for publications far from office, without worrying about the time and cost of delivering completed work.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to analyze the effect of new media technology on newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria with focus on the Nations newspaper while the following are the specific objectives:
- To examine the effects of new media technology on newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria.
- To ascertain the level of effectiveness of the application of new media technology in the production and circulation of newspaper in Nigeria.
- To determine the problems associated with the use of new media technology in the production and circulation of newspaper in Nigeria.
- To find out the extent to which new media technology has affected newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the effects of media technology on newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria?
- What is the level of effectiveness of the application of media technology in the production and circulation of newspaper in Nigeria?
- What are the problems associated with the use of media technology in the production and circulation of newspaper in Nigeria?
- To what extent has new media technology affected newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The findings from this study will educate managers of newspaper industries and the general public on the effects of media technology on newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria. It will also educate them on the effectiveness of the media technology and the problem associated with media technology with reference to newspaper production and circulation.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effects of media technology on newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to The Nation newspaper in Nigeria. It will also cover the effects of media technology on newspaper production and circulation in Nigeria.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Media: the main means of mass communication (especially television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) regarded collectively.
Technology: the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.
Newspaper: a printed publication (usually issued daily or weekly) consisting of folded unstapled sheets and containing news, feature articles, advertisements, and correspondence.
Internet: The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link billions of devices worldwide.
Printing: to produce (a text, picture, etc.) by applying inked types, plates, blocks, or the like, to paper or other material either by direct pressure or indirectly
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