1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
After the world war II, the world realizes the power of the media in information dissemination. It became obvious that the power of the media is un comparable to any other form of manmade communication dissemination process. In today's world it was strongly believed that most of the achievement so far in the world has been made due to the contribution of mass media. Kumarswamy, (2015). Therefore, we can strongly assert that mass media when fully utilize can help in archiving any goal set by nation. (Singh, 2011, Kadiri, 2012.). It important to note that media can help in reporting national development issues such as agriculture. The communication techniques need to integrate to national development is development communication. Development communication techniques include information dissemination and education, behavior change, social marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, communication for social change and community participation. Furthermore, Talabi (2013) contends the practice of development communication will remain relevant in Nigeria as long as there is poverty in the country. The practice is also viewed useful in Nigeria in the area of agriculture, health communication and in fighting violence against women.
Kumarswamy (2015), said development communication is the integration of strategic communication in development projects. Strategic communication is a powerful tool that can improve the chances of success of development projects. It has also been defined as organized efforts to use communications processes and media to bring social and economic improvements, generally in developing countries. Dissemination of information about various program is one important aspect for bringing uniformity in society. The Information for all program provides a framework for international co-operation and international and regional partnerships. It supports the development of common strategies, methods and tools for building a just and free information society and for narrowing the gap between the information rich and the information-poor. The need of development and development communication will remain as long as the existence of this society. Communication is an integral part of development process. The earlier literature suggests, that development communication has been one very important area of study in mass media. The Denial Lerner, Roger Everett, Wilbur Schramm, have done remarkable work in this field.
Today, with increasing various social activities, people's dependency on mass media (including new information technology) has become more than before. Similarly, the number and area of development program has significantly increased. In this way, the success of any program depends on the strategic use of mass media. (Kumarswamy, 2015).
To assess the medium fit best to promote national policy print media is the right option. Newspapers play important role in making people aware about the surrounding issues. They played crucial role in freedom struggle. In Nigeria newspapers are the pioneers of development. Even after independence they contributed in building the nation because of its selfless efforts it is termed as the fourth estate of independent Nigeria. Oso, (2012). To add to the above understanding Popoola, (2014), citing Khadar and Nadiye, said in general the print media usage is to provide information and to sensitize, reach, stabilize groups of rural people compared to other print media, print media has the advantage of being relatively cheap as well as better to remember because of the fact that, written words or pictures stick better in mind. He further, cited Sobowale who maintained that since independence media have largely remained urban in both content and orientation. Single (2011), emphasized that, knowledge and information are essential for people to successfully respond to the opportunities and challenges of social economic and technologic changes. Aliede, cited in Stanley, (2009), in stressing the important of information to the society and emphasis on notifying the failure of that to stagnation of the society, he also lightly point out that beside government circle and few private individuals all mother especially local body lack the right to organized information. A study conducted by Stanley (2009), sound that urban and rural information flow pattern in areas of development in Nigeria is suffering with structural weakness such as poor flow of information about the governed and government.
From observation we can reason with the scholars that, the media, print, is part of the larger notion of using mass media s tools of national development. To understand more, on the role of media to development Kadiri, et al (2015), explained that, “media are expected to explain, inform, evaluate the society on crucial issues affecting the society well-being and progress” (p45). Moreover, researchers like Stanley, (2009), Sign, (2011), Kadiri et al (2015), Nwogbo, 2015) and Yushau, (2015). Print media can serve as an important tool toward archiving development through the practice of development journalism.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Several scholars looked into the issue of how development news was reported particularly in print media, using content analysis scholars across the world study print media coverage of development news, Kayode & Timoh (2009), Stanley (2009), Singh, (2011), Kadiri, (2012), Victor, (2015), Yushau (2015), found that there is not adequate coverage of development issues on the selected newspapers. That is to say, the media did not do much to evaluate, enlighten or motivate the public toward achieving development goals.
Moreover, researchers like (Kadiri, et al 2015), (Kayode & Jimoh, 2009), (Singh, 2011), and (Victor, 2015) recommend among further research on area of newspaper and development news coverage. While Singh, (2011), emphasis on focusing further study at looking to a particular development program coverage by newspapers.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of the study is to look into the nature of reporting agriculture in Nigerian newspaper.
1.3.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are to:
1. determine how often newspapers cover agricultural news.
3. To determine the extent in terms of depth newspapers report agricultural news.
4. To ascertain the level of prominence given to agricultural news by the selected newspapers.
5. To identify the frames used in newspapers' coverage of agricultural news.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the direction of newspapers' coverage of agricultural news in Nigeria?
2. How often (frequency) do newspapers cover agricultural issues?
3. What is the depth of newspapers' coverage of agricultural news?
4. What is the level of prominence given to agricultural news by the selected newspapers?
5. What are the frames used in newspapers' coverage of agricultural news?
1.5 SIGNIFICANT IF THE STUDY
The study is timely and relevant to the existing studies of coverage of development news by Nigerian national dailies.
The study will help in assessing the level of reporting of development news particularly agriculture in Nigerian newspapers.
Finally, the study will add to existing literature of coverage of development news by focusing on a particular development program as suggested by Singh, (2011).
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
The scope of this study is two Nigeria national dailies (Daily Trust and Vanguard) for the period of 30 days.
The study will be limited to content of the two newspapers. Therefore, it is not generalizable to other aspect of the mass media, like radio, magazine, television, and social media.
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