Welcome to the quiz clinic. Here we receive questions from students offering Mass Communication courses with a view to providing research-based answers.
What are those questions that bother you presently in any course? Make sure the question is meaningfully written so as to get the best response. You may or may not mention the course.
What is a rural community newspaper?
Rural community newspaper is a regular publication for a community. It could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. It is a newspaper that primarily focuses on the coverage of issues, events and developments in a specific rural community. The newspaper is part of the community or is perceived so by people in that community. It is a very good channel for meaningful practice of rural journalism. The journalists working in a rural community newspaper basically live in that community or identify strongly with people in that community through certain communal bonds and shared expectations. This makes it easy for such reporters to understand the basic news needs of that community with a view to writing to appeal to the target audience.
What is media convergence?
Media convergence is a polygamous marriage of various information dissemination channels made possible by digitization of the communication environment. The internet is the main pillar coordinating the marriage. Media convergence is a term used to refer to the merging of previously distinct information dissemination channels into one outlet.
Media convergence is made possible primarily by the emergence of internet technology. A typical example is the fact that you can use your mobile device or laptop to watch television, read newspaper, listen radio, and even engage the social media at the same time. This is technological advancement at its peak especially in the communication environment. The best that can happen now is improvements on convergence. But the fact remains that convergence of distinct media outlets through the digital process is a disruptive technological development that has redefined mass communication to an extent. You may not classify the various mass media categories as entirely parallel
Communication channels because through the concept of media convergence they could have a meeting point in that someone can be exposed to up to four mass media channels at the same time even while on transit.
But note that media convergence is a marriage of strange bed fellows. Radio is radio, TV is TV, newspaper is newspaper; and convergence does not change the fact that these are still distinct communication channels to a large extent. Their basic definitions still reflect their exclusivity. However convergence has made process of exposure easier for the audience to the advantage of media owners.
I’m finding it difficult to understand media economic theories, both micro and macro
First of all, what is media economics?
Media economics is concerned with the relationship between the mass media and the economic environment, especially how changing economic forces and policies determine the choices of managers, practitioners and other decision-makers across the media. In simple terms, media economics is about how the media make money and how they manage material and human resources to save, make or spend money. It looks at advertising success or failure and how to improve on this, including sales other income generating sources of the media. You know that some media organisations do other things to make money; some have publishing firms to do such businesses by the side, some even organize beauty pageant to make money. So media economics primarily looks at how media houses make money, how they could save money by making the right decisions, how not to waste money, how government economic policies affect activities of media houses. Decisions on these issues is what media economics is all about. At micro level, a media organisation is looking at decisions on how to make, save or spend money, how to utilise material and human resources effectively; at macro level the organisation is worried about how government policies for instance, affect the media industry, including that specific organisation. Media economics sees media content as products; news for instance, is a product which is demanded and supplied to readers. You should know the most appropriate news items that appeal to your audience so as to have high audience attention which attracts advertising revenue. Media economics is a branch of communication studies that focuses on the media as an economic unit involved with management of resources to generate income, determines cost effective way of avoiding cost ineffective expenditure, examines and packages media products to educate, entertain, and inform the audience while also generating income.
The micro economic environment refers to the immediate economic environment of individuals and businesses. This includes decisions they take that affect them directly such as how much to spend, who to employ, what they should produce, how much to sell. The macroeconomic environment talks about the larger economy, that is, policies and programmes that affect the economy. The word “micro” has to do with smaller units while “macro” refers to larger society. Micro media economics talks about the economic environment of individual media houses as it directly affects them. Macro media economics refers to the larger economic environment affecting the media sector, that is, how government policies, for instance, affect cost of newsprint, price of vehicles to be used in distribution of newspapers, cost of generating power in the absence of public electric power supply. Micro and macroeconomic environments play significant roles in the media business. Most decisions taken by media operators are oftentimes are influenced by available resource and financial issues, thereby giving priority to understanding dynamics of media economics.
Media economics theories consist of possible explanations on how economic policies are likely to affect media business. A theory is an explanation of how things are likely to happen or how they are the way they are. Media economics theories therefore consist of explanations on how changing economic environment could affect operations of media houses. You borrow economic theories in explaining media phenomena. The theories of demand and supply, for instance could be used in explaining operations of a media establishment.
What’s are the roles of a rural community journalist.
Role of rural community journalist
The rural community journalist plays a critical role in rural areas by performing the basic functions of information, education, and entertainment through rural community newspaper. Community newspapers are not just sources of information; they are a critical component in rural development. This fact should be noted by a rural community journalist while doing his job. The rural journalist’s basic task is to identify important issues and news in the community and inform rural dwellers of these issues. This includes people in the city interested in the community and would want to keep in touch with the rural area through local media reports.
The rural community journalist specifically performs the following tasks;
Basic role of Information, education, and entertainment; the rural community journalist ensures that local readers are kept informed by writing stories on happenings within and beyond the community.
Ensure accountability; the journalist provides investigative reports on those in authority to ensure they are doing what they were elected or appointed to do, as it relates to rural areas. This is saying that the rural journalist plays the watchdog role at rural level through a community newspaper.
Fight battles for community; the rural community journalist fights battles for the community through advocacy journalism. The journalist is a part of the community. He identifies with the local people and knows what they need from government. He advocates on their behalf through his writings and investigative reporting.
Give community a voice; The journalist gives the community a voice through numerous interviews conducted with opinion leaders and other people, where they air their views on specific issues. Residents of rural areas do not always get such opportunity in city newspapers.
Tell stories that impact the lives of rural dwellers; the rural journalist’s reporting is purposefully focused on improving the lives of rural dwellers. The journalist strives to write stories that impact positively on the community. This is why development news reporting is the bedrock of rural community journalism.
Set agenda; the rural journalist writes stories on issues that leave the readers with much to discuss. For instance, by frequently mentioning where government needs to improve on facilities in rural areas, the rural journalist could set agenda for discussion in rural and urban settings.
Interpret the news; this is a vital role of the rural journalist. You tell the rural dwellers implications of newsbreaks around the country and beyond on their lives and activities. Local readers need to understand how several events happening in cities and all over the world concern them. Knowledge of interpretative reporting skills is one of the special requirements for successful rural journalism.
Bridge information gap between urban and rural dwellers; you should keep the local readers abreast of activities breaking in their community and beyond. City-based media organizations pay little attention to information needs of the rural readers. The rural journalist fills this gap created in rural news coverage by urban area-based publications through engaging and purposeful reporting.
The functions of the rural community journalist are many. Just a few are listed here. The basic roles of the journalist are stepped down to rural areas by the rural community journalist. The rural journalist feels the pulse of local people and reports to give them identity in the society, attract government attention to their development needs, mobilize them to engage in participatory development, create awareness on emerging issues or developments in the society, educate them on political, cultural, religious, social, and such other trends that impact their lives, and provide opportunity for participatory journalism where the readers make meaningful contributions to media content through, interviews, opinion articles, letters to the editor, or commentaries.
What is rural news.
Is they different between rural news reporting and rural journalism.
What is rural news?
Rural news refers to report about happenings, events, occurrences, people and all forms of timely information about rural areas. It is news about rural areas. A rural area is a community or collection of communities in the hinterland, or outside the cities, often with low density and poor infrastructures when compared with the city. The term ‘rural’ is used to refer to places outside the cities. They could be settlements, villages having identifiable agricultural practice or communities marked out by poor infrastructural development presence. In Nigeria, for instance, when the term ‘rural area’ is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is village setting with minimal development.
Rural news therefore refers to activities or occurrences in rural communities. It consists of the coverage of events, developments and happening in rural areas, or related to rural areas. So when you report on an event or incident that probably took place in the city but has serious implications to rural dwellers or rural areas, that kind of story could also pass for rural news. The rural news reporter has an eye for news about rural areas or news that could impact on rural areas. He or she is not a rigid reporter who just waits in a rural community for local stories to break. If it means pursuing a rural story to the city you should do that. If for instance, contractors who have a contract to build schools in a rural community have suddenly abandoned the project the rural journalist could follow up the story by going to their office in the city to find out why the project was abandoned.
Rural news could be interesting. Rural news most often breaks in rural areas so a serious rural news reporter should live in the rural area he or she is covering. Otherwise you find yourself having to shuttle regularly from the city to follow up news breaks in rural communities. Note that rural news leads can also emanate from the city. There could be instances where the traditional ruler of a rural community is in the city for an occasion; what he does there which affects his community could be reported as rural news. Hoodlums terrorizing a rural community could be arrested and paraded in the city by the police. The rural news reporter is always alert with eyes in the rural area and in some instances, in the cities too.
To your second question, you asked if there was a difference between rural news reporting and journalism. I guess you meant rural news reporting and rural journalism. Let’s begin with an analysis of the two key terms – reporting and journalism – in order to provide a better perspective for you to see the difference.
Oftentimes people conclude that these two terms – reporter and journalist – are the same and can be used interchangeably. Such people see the two as doing the same work of news gathering and dissemination therefore there is no need to bother about nomenclature. Well, those who hold this view are wrong. The reporter and the journalist are both in the journalism profession, agreed. But check this out: a journalist can be a reporter but a reporter cannot be a journalist. See why.
The reporter is primarily engaged in an aspect of journalism that has to do with gathering news, writing it and presenting it for publication through a medium. The reporter covers events and news breaks, writes the stories and presents to editors (who are also journalists but not reporters whether in the field or monitoring stories in the office). The editors do the final polishing and approval for the story to be published.
What’s are Factors that militate against rural news reporting in Nigeria.
Sources of rural news.
And Tips for rural news reporting.
Factors that hinder growth of rural news reporting in Nigeria are numerous. But there are basic ones which we will present to you here.
Constraints of rural journalism in Nigeria
Rural news journalism is the coverage and presentation of news about specific rural community. It is a specialized branch of journalism which consists of locally-oriented, professional news coverage that primarily focuses on rural communities, individual suburbs or villages in the hinterland, rather than metropolitan, state, national or world news. Rural journalism could cover issues beyond a specific rural community but in such instance it concentrates on the effect the reports have on local readers. This branch of journalism which is essential to rural development is facing challenges which militate against its growth in Nigeria. Why is rural journalism not growing in Nigeria? Let’s take a look at the key factors that militate against growth of rural journalism in Nigeria.
Lack of Specialized training on rural journalism: A number of journalists do not have specialized training in rural journalism. Reporting rural areas requires specialized skills, patience and doggedness. You need to identify with the rural area, get acquainted with story-rich areas in the community and how to get news from relevant sources. But in most journalism and mass communication schools in Nigeria, rural journalism is taught as a topic in journalism courses or mentioned while teaching development communication. Journalists do not develop the zeal to go into this area of the profession. They also lack the orientation to desire a career in rural journalism. Rural journalism ought to be taught as a full course in journalism and mass communication schools. This is to give it the theoretical priority and attention it requires. In fact, a number of people who work in media houses as journalists do not have basic journalism training; and this is a problem to quality and professionalism in the profession.
Media poverty: Some media houses do not have money to run the establishment and this affects allowances made available to journalists for doing their work. Transport allowance is often absent so journalists find it difficult to be shuttling from cities to rural areas (though a serious rural journalist should reside in the community he or she covers). This problem of finance also limits the number of staff employed by a media house invariably affecting the deployment of journalists to rural areas as rural news reporters. Lack of incentives from media owners such as meaningful transport allowance to reporters affects rural journalism growth.
Priorities of media houses: Some media houses are interested in news that will increase traffic to their online news platforms or audience base. They just focus on urban news – crime, sports, politics, entertainment etc.- and do little to cover the rural areas except serious bad news breaks in the villages. Rural news is not always negative but oftentimes negative news about rural areas sells more among urban news media. A rural news reporter must be interested in every kind of rural news, especially positive ones; and this is not the priority of city-based media houses. There is lack of specific orientation of the press to give priority to rural journalism.
Lack clear cut editorial policy on rural news coverage: Related to the point on priority of media houses is the fact that some news organisations in Nigeria are not serious with rural news reporting. Even when they state in their editorial policy that they would give attention to rural news, they end up paying lip service to this policy. Nothing serious is done in this regard.
The journalist on the other hand is engaged in a broader aspect of the profession, he does not only gather and write news (reporting) but he could be involved in the other processes of getting the story ready for publication as an editor, sub-editor, managing editor, or copy editor. So you see, scope is a major defining thin line between the reporter and journalist. In fact, if a journalist is someone who gathers information and packages information for publication through a medium, then this also includes a wide range of people such as reporter, columnist, opinion article writer, news anchors and publishers.
The argument is that journalism involves more than reporting and there are journalists who do not engage in actually reporting whether as field reporters or those who monitor stories from the office through radio, television, newspapers, or online sources. You may say that every editor must have been a reporter before growing to that level. This is just like saying that every football coach was once a footballer. You know this is wrong. Or saying every boxing coach was a boxer. You also know this is wrong. There are people who are very good in writing stories but may not have the skills to go to the field and get facts from sources. They make very good editors. You can’t say they are not journalists because they are not in the field.
The reporter’s work is much narrower when compared to that of the journalist. We are not referring to what happens today with the emergence of citizen journalism where almost everyone is answering journalist. By-standers who know how to post stories online all answer journalist. The discussion here is about the professional journalist and reporter. The basic difference between the two is scope and job description.
With this explanation you now know that the rural news reporter is not the same as the rural journalist. Rural journalism is broader than rural news reporting.
Thank you sir