A scholar in the department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Gideon Nwafor, has taken a remarkable leap in his academic career by proposing an impressive hypothesis in communication and new media studies which is now being tested in different parts of the world.
Nwafor proposed the Indirect Credibility hypothesis while presenting a Ph.D seminar paper recently in his department, after which the hypothesis was forwarded to select researchers in different parts of the world, including Ghana, India, UK, and the United States, to test and confirm its acceptability.
The Indirect Credibility hypothesis, according to Nwafor, states that the mainstream media give credibility to the social media by getting stories from them (social media) and crediting them for such reports. He used the Sahara reporters and a few other blogs to buttress the fact that though the social media are generally seen as not being credible, when platforms such as Sahara reporters and Lindaikeji blog break stories, the mainstream media such as Punch and Vanguard either follow the leads provided by the social media or report and attribute the story to the social media platform that broke it first, thereby giving indirect credibility to the social media. If for instance, Sahara reporters breaks a story and a newspaper such as Punch reports it and gives credit to Sahara reporters, it means that Sahara reporters gets indirect credibility based on the fact that Punch newspaper (which has direct credibility) has investigated and confirmed the report.
Nwafor argues that this is what is happening in this era of social media, adding that the indirect credibility hypothesis makes the social media relevant in journalism, though he warned that there was still need to be careful with certain news contents of the social media.
After the presentation of this indirect credibility hypothesis paper, all the examiners present at the venue of presentation were impressed with Nwafor’s hypothesis, urging other scholars to further work on the hypothesis.
The hypothesis has already been introduced to researchers in India, Ghana, UK and the United States to test whether the hypothesis also applied to the media landscape in other parts of the world or it is just relevant in Africa.
If the studies confirm the acceptability of the hypothesis, it grows into a theory.
This means that Nwafor will join the very few African scholars to come up with an acceptable theory in communication and new media studies.
With this achievement, Nwafor who is one of the best Ph.D candidates since the history of his department, has become one of the most sought-after scholars in the communication industry in Nigeria. This is premised on the fact that institutions want to have vibrant scholars who are behind position of hypothesis and formulation of theories, on their staff list.