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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM AS SOURCES OF OBTAINING NEWS UPDATE AMONG UNDERGRADUATES STUDENTS OF NOVENA UNIVERSITY

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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM AS SOURCES OF OBTAINING NEWS UPDATE AMONG UNDERGRADUATES STUDENTS OFNOVENA UNIVERSITY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background Of The Study

Nigeria has one of the highest rates of internet penetration in Africa, owing to its sizable and vibrant population, which has created a conducive environment for the expansion of social media usage. As per the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), the number of internet users in Nigeria has surpassed 150 million as of 2021, with a considerable proportion comprising young adults and adolescents (NCC, 2021). This demographic is especially drawn to social media platforms on account of their accessibility, convenience, and interactivity. 

The advent and pervasive integration of social media platforms have revolutionised the manner in which individuals around the world consume news. In Nigeria, a country where conventional media organisations have traditionally held a dominant position in the news industry, social media has experienced a substantial surge in prominence among the general public as a news source. Due to the challenges encountered by traditional media outlets in Nigeria, such as limited reach, among others, a significant number of Nigerians, particularly young people, have begun to consume news through social media. 

Nigerian undergraduates have increasingly integrated social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp) into their daily routines. These platforms provide immediate access to news content and enable interaction between students and news organisations. In addition to mainstream media outlets, citizen journalists, bloggers, and influencers, the platforms provide users with a variety of news sources that offer multiple perspectives on current events. 

Nevertheless, the proliferation of social media platforms has engendered apprehensions regarding the dependability, preciseness, and credibility of the information disseminated through them. Social media content, in contrast to traditional media, is frequently sensationalised, unverified, and susceptible to misinformation and false news. Nigerian undergraduates, despite the advantages of instantaneity and variety of news content available on social media, are concurrently susceptible to potential hazards including confirmation bias, echo chambers, and the dissemination of rumours and propaganda. 

Research on the manner in which Nigerian adolescents access news via social media platforms has provided significant contributions to our understanding of their news consumption patterns, inclinations, and perspectives. An illustration of this can be seen in the findings of Ogunbodede and Arogundade (2019), which revealed that Nigerian adolescents exert considerable reliance on social media platforms like Twitter and WhatsApp to obtain news updates. The primary determinants influencing their selection of news sources are convenience and real-time updates. In a similar vein, Nigerian adolescents consider social media to be more engaging, interactive, and user-friendly than traditional media when it comes to accessing news content, according to a study by Olakanmi and Oyeleye (2020). 

Furthermore, the ramifications of social media's influence on the information environment in Nigeria extend to governance, democracy, and social discourse. The capacity of social media to enable citizen journalism, magnify the voices of the marginalised, and galvanise collective action has fundamentally altered the landscape of political engagement and public discourse in Nigeria..  To this end, this study seek to examine the use of social media platform as sources of obtaining news update among undergraduates students of Novena University.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The prevalence of social media platforms as news sources among Nigerian undergraduates has increased. The advent of social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp) has significantly expanded the news content accessible to students. However, there are a number of concerns regarding the credibility, accuracy, and impact of the information disseminated that are raised by the reliance on social media for news consumption. 

Consistent with the aforementioned, social media platforms are rife with the problem of misinformation and false news. Consequently, the rapid dissemination of inaccurate information on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook frequently causes users to develop erroneous beliefs and misunderstandings (Allcott & Gentzkow, 2017). Undergraduates, who may be deficient in the capacity for critical analysis required to differentiate trustworthy sources from untrustworthy ones, are especially susceptible to the sway of misinformation. Their access to credible and accurate information, which is vital for their academic and personal development, is significantly hindered as a result.

1.3   Objectives Of The Study

The overall aim of this study is to examine the use of social media platform as sources of obtaining news update among undergraduates students of Novena University. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;

Determine the level of social media news consumption among undergraduates in Novena University.

Identify the major social media platforms undergraduates of Novena University depends on for news updates.

Ascertain the reasons for preferring social media as a source for news updates among undergraduates in Novena University.

Investigate the challenges associated with news sourcing on social media among undergraduates in Novena University.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions;

What is the level of social media news consumption among undergraduates in Novena University?

What are the major social media platforms undergraduates of Novena University depends on for news updates?

What are the reasons for preferring social media as a source for news updates among undergraduates in Novena University?

What are the challenges associated with news sourcing on social media among undergraduates in Novena University?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho: The level of social media news consumption among undergraduates in Novena University is low.

Ha: The level of social media news consumption among undergraduates in Novena University is high.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

The findings will help media organizations and policymakers understand the preferences and habits of young audiences towards news consumption, enabling them to tailor content and policies to better meet their needs. The study will also contribute to efforts to improve media literacy among young people, helping them critically evaluate the credibility and reliability of online news sources.

The study will contribute to the body of academic literature on media consumption patterns among young people, serving as a basis for further research and exploration in the field of media studies and communication.

1.7 Scope of the Study.

The focus of this study is on the use of social media platform as sources of obtaining news update among undergraduates students of Novena University. The study will be delimited to Mass communication students in Novena University.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Social Media: Social networking sites are ‘web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system; articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection; and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

News: This refers to information about recent events or developments, including but not limited to politics, economics, sports, entertainment, health, and technology. It may encompass both local and international news stories.

Sources of news: This refers to the specific social media platforms, websites, or applications from which undergraduates in Nigeria obtain information about current events, developments, and news stories. This may include posts from friends, news organizations, blogs, or other online sources.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Methodology: Yes available


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