THE APATHETIC BEHAVIOUR OF NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGICAL REPORTING
(A CASE STUDY OF JOURNALISTS IN SOUTH – EASTERN NIGERIA)
The need for this study was find out “The Apathetic Behaviour of Nigerian Journalists to Science and Technological Reporting”. This work was motivated by the felt need to know whether they have indifferent or apathetic behaviour to science reporting beat, whether the journalists possess adequate educational and professional skill for effective science and technological reporting and whether the journalists prefer other beats such as politics, crime, economy, sports and others to science reporting.
The study equally investigated whether the journalists believe that their readers, viewers, and listeners have low interest in science and technology stories.
This study focused on practicing journalists in South-Eastern Nigeria. Survey research method was used with the sample of the study selected through the simple random sampling method. Questionnaire (questions), were designed and administered to the working journalists in Enugu state, Abia state, Anambra state and Imo state to generate data for the study. After careful collection, collation and analysis of the data collected, the four hypothesis stated in the study were empirically validated.
In addition, the result to the study equally revealed that science reporting is generally unpopular among the Nigerian Journalists, and that media managers have not done much to encourage science reporting in their respective media.
Data for the study was analyzed with the statistical instrument of chi-square and percentages.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY]
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1.7 ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
1.8 LIMITATION / SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.9 DEFINITION OF VARIABLES – CONCEPTUAL OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS.
2.2 DEFINITION OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
2.3 HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
2.4 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
2.5 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WRITING IN Nigeria
2.6 SUMMARY OF REVIEW
3.1 RESEARCH METHOD
3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.3 DATA COLLECTION
3.4 DATA ANALYSIS
3.5 RESEARCH SAMPLE
DATA PRESENTATION AND RESULTS
4.1 DATA PRESENTATION AND RESULTS
4.2 INTERPRETATION OF DATA
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION
LIST OF TABLE
I PREFERENCES OF BEATS BY THE RESPONDENTS
II BEATS OF RESPONDENTS
III QUALIFICATION FOR EFFECTIVE SCIENCE REPORTING
IV RATING OF AUDIENCE INTEREST IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STORIES.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Science and Technology reporting is a form of specialized reporting in Mass Media whose history in Nigeria is not researched. The Mass Media in Nigeria generally give less attention to the coverage of Science and Technology development when compared with other beats such as politics, sports, commerce, crime, economy, education, etc.
In every newsroom, reporters are reluctant to take assignments dealing with science and technology. Most experienced journalists feel that science is invading the mass media or intruding into their newsroom while science reporter are considered as rare people who undertake “odd” jobs not included in the mainstream reporting.
However, the Nigerian media are being compelled by external forces into covering an area ignored for a long time. they have found themselves embarrassed when, for instance, officials in the ministries of health, agriculture research, science and technology request for meaningful media coverage.
In most cases, the media still confine themselves to speeches by ministers or those made during special ceremonies. Even in such cases some of the speeches are written by experts who use technical language, the fear of which results is inadequate reporting omission of important information.
There are also examples when various organizations or groups dealing with science beats send press release on their activities to the mass media and invite journalists to interview the heads of such organization.
The dearth and poor coverage of science and technology news by the Nigerian Mass Media are partly attributed to the kind of journalism education offered in region.
Journalists and communication educational institutions pay very little attention to science reporting in their programmes. Students with science background are often considered as unusual candidates for journalism training. Whereas most mass communication training institutions, especially of the pre-university and undergraduate levels, include in the curricula courses in History, Philosophy, International Relations, Law, Administration, Government, Economics and Sociology. There are had courses in Science and Technology reporting except recently that attention is being given to it.
So, most practicing journalists were not properly prepared to deal with issues of science reporting. They have simply found themselves in a world that is being rapidly overwhelmed by science and technology issues.
The ability or desire to deal with science any technology issues declines when journalists find themselves covering politics, courts, sports, commerce, education, economy, and related events, which seem to make headlines or front page news. The situation is made more complex by the fact that most scientists consider it almost unethical to be quoted in the mass media which seem to be the domain of politicians.
Thus, the few journalists who are interested in the field have dealt with the reluctant or unwilling sources of information.
The result of this is that issues on science and technology are under-reported in our mass media. Nigerian mass media audience are denied their rights to know the trends and development in the areas of science and technology. Hence, such trends and development pass without catching the attention of journalists whose duty it is to inform, educate, entertain, mobilize, and integrate them on daily occurrences and development.
Nigeria as a developing country needs more science reporter, who will through their news reports, articles, features and programmes arouse people’s interest in the science and technology fields.
It needs the science writers for reports and analysis on local and foreign scientific analysis on local and foreign scientific inventions in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Agriculture, Communication industries, Medicine, Aviation, Computers, Aerospace, Subterranean etc. and how they affect the lives of the people.
This research study is geared towards an exhaustive assessment of the Apathetic Behaviours of Nigerian Journalists to science reporting, a case study of Journalists in South – Eastern states of Nigeria. It sets out to test the hypothesis that Nigerian journalists show indifference in their attitudes to science reporting when compare to their attitude to other areas or beats. This is on contrary to what is obtainable in other developed world.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
Science and Technology reporters in Nigeria are not many and some of our journalists do not show interest in this new field of reporting. This specialized are of reporting is still new, unpopular among Nigeria journalists. Many Nigerian journalists shy away from this area and prefer beats such as politics, sports, economy, courts etc, to science and technology beat.
This results in under-reporting of developments, events and science and technology in the country. The mass media audience in Nigeria have the right to be adequately informed on issues and developments in science and technology in the country and the outside world. And, it is the duty of journalists to keep people abreast of new developments on every aspect of human endeavour.
On this note, this study intends to look at the apathetic behaviour of Nigerian Journalists to science reporting. It is out to unravel whether the difference in behaviour by Nigerian journalists to science reporting is positive or negative. It will also examine the circumstances that make the apathetic behaviour of Nigerian journalists negative or positive as the case may be.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The researcher believed the fact that science reporting is still new, unfamiliar, unpopular among Nigerian journalists and they regard such beats as odd jobs in reporting. Then, the objective of this research study is to access the apathetic behaviour of Nigerian Journalists to these areas. It aims at finding our indifferent attitude of the journalists to science reporting which had made it unpopular in Nigeria, even when it has gained a lot of recognition in other parts of the world.
This study will examine the problems of journalists in science reporting with a view to knowing whether the problems influence their shaky behaviour in this beat of reporting.
It will further unveil why science reporting has not become popular among the Nigerian journalists at a time when their counterparts in other parts of the world have made significant advancement in this beat. The circumstances that make Nigerian journalists to show indifferent attitude to science reporting will be studied.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research study on the Apathetic Behaviour of the Nigerian Journalists to Science and Technology is timely and interesting because Nigeria as a developing country requires much of application of Science and Technology to stimulate the desired development. Also, one of the major ways to popularize the knowledge of Science and Technology is through the mass media. This implies that journalists in Nigeria mass media must be involved in the promotion of scientific and technological knowledge in the country if that knowledge must grow and properly be utilized in the country.
Since, science reporting is still unpopular among Nigerian journalists, this study aims at finding out why it is so, so, the best approach to understand the reason behind the lack of interest in science reporting is by studying Nigerian Journalists’ behaviour towards this very important area or beat.
The study is important because its outcome will assist the media executives to understand Nigerian Journalists’ plights towards this beat, considering the fact that the importance of this beat of reporting at this jet – age, cannot be over emphasized.
In addition, the result of this study will assist the media houses to re-order their priorities in terms of ensuring adequate coverage of events and achievements in the field of science and technology.
This research study will also benefit our policy makers and how they make allocation of funds. Nigeria spends huge percentage of its annual income towards the promotion of scientific and technological fields and growth of the nation without adequately keeping the masses abreast of the new developments would not be a healthy development.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
(i) What is the attitude of Nigerian Journalists towards Science reporting?
(ii) If indifferent, why is it so?
(iii) What are problems of Nigerian Journalists in the areas of science reporting?
(iv) Are the Nigerian Journalists professionally qualified to handle science reporting?
(v) How often does a Nigerian Journalists write science and technology stories compared to his stories in other beats like; politics, economy, commerce, education, sports, crime, court, etc.?
(vi) Why is it that Nigerian Journalists do not seem to be so interested in science reporting?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The hypotheses proposed and tested in this study are stated below. They are first stated in the research hypothesis form (HI) and re-stated in null – hypothesis form (H0) in alternating sequences as:
H1: Nigerian Journalists have apathetic behaviour towards science reporting.
H0: Nigerian Journalists do not have apathetic behaviour towards science reporting.
H2: Nigerian Journalists prefer other beats like politics, economy, sports, education, crime, etc to science beat.
H0: Nigerian Journalists do not prefer other beats like politics, economy, sports, education, crime, etc to science beat.
H3: Nigerian Journalists possess adequate educational and professional skills for effective science reporting.
H0: Nigerian Journalists do not possess adequate educational and professional skills for effective science reporting.
H4: Nigerian Journalists believe that readers, viewers, or listeners have interest in science news/stories.
H0: Nigerian Journalists do not believe that readers, viewers, or listeners have interest in science news/stories.
1.7 ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
(i) Nigerian Journalists have apathetic attitude to science reporting
(ii) Nigerian journalists do not possess adequate educational and professional skills to cover science and technology issues.
(iii) Nigerian journalists prefer other beats to science beat.
(iv) Nigerian journalists believe that their readers, viewers or listeners are not interested in science news / stories, hence their indifferent attitude to the beat.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF VARIABLES
CONCEPTUAL: Conceptional definitions represents the standard or universal meaning of the variable, while the operational definition represents how the words of variable are used or applied by the researcher in the course of the study.
(i) Nigerian Journalists
(v) Science and Technology reporting
Then, conceptual definitions;
(i) Nigerian Journalists: This refers to all the people involved in the collection and dissemination of news in Nigeria via the media.
(ii) Attitude/Behaviour: way of feeling, thinking or behaving.
(iii) Science: This means systematically organized knowledge.
(iv) Technology: This refers to the systematic application of scientific knowledge
(v) Science and Technology reporting: This is a kind of reporting that is devoted to analyze developments in the field of science and technology.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS
1. Nigerian Journalists: These are the people trained and are actively involved in informing, educating and entertaining the people in the mass media.
2. Attitude/Behaviour: Way of feeling or behaviour of Nigerian Journalists to science reporting.
3. Science: Knowledge acquired through systematic observation and testing of facts and assumptions.
4. Technology: This refers to application scientific knowledge in industry for creation of materials and machines.
5. Science and Technology reporting: This means reporting science and technology issues in the mass media for the ultimate benefit of the media audience and stimulation of national development.
6. Beat: Specific area of coverage to a trained journalist for a period of time to enable him attain efficiency.
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