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AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF THE ROLES OF SPORT JOURNALISM IN SPORT DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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AUDIENCE PERCEPTION OF THE ROLE OF SPORT JOURNALISM IN SPORT DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Mass media messages are often referred to those directed at a large group of person by means of an electronic medium involving the dissemination of information, knowledge and entertainment to a large diverse, sometimes homogenous but mostly heterogeneous audience. For any human society, the successful conduct of its internal and external affairs depends largely on the extent to which information is disperse and shared, the need for information is such that man can hardly function or determine the course of their life without communication (Dickson, 2005). It is in the light of this that the critical role of the media is captured in its impulsive tendency to direct and redirect the course of altitudinal change and building public perception towards societal affairs. This is a clear indication of how much the media are drench in the society. A good deal of support in common sense and evidence establishes a relationship of interdependence between the media and the society within which it operates and whose characteristics it often assumes, this relationship assumes two perspectives. Firstly, that the mass media are aspect of the society and as such as McQuail (2006) opines, are dependent on economic and power structure of the society and can be controlled or limited by those who own them. Secondly by their content, media are assumed to have potentials for significant influence and that the particular ideas and values conveyed by the media can exert significant social change regardless of the nature of ownership. Going by the position of the second perspectives of the media, a clear indication suggest great emphasis on the influence of media production and reception on social factors, suggesting that media messages function to influence its immediate physical environment. According to Rodney (2009), the media in performance of their traditional function of editorializing, information, correlation and socialization, participates in the social life of the society. Now let?s take a closer look at some of the key concepts around which this study is built, one of which is journalism which may well not be an alien term for many, especially those within the spectra of media, but for the purpose of scholarship, it is worthwhile to provide a workable definition for journalism that is in alignment with the topic of the this research study. According to Sambe (2005:230) journalism is a report of things as they appear at the moment of writing, not a definitive study of situation. Journalism has also been regarded as the activity or product of journalist or others engaged in the presentation of written, visual or audio materials intended for dissemination through public media with reference to factual, ongoing events of public concern, it is intended to inform the society about occurrences and to uncover that which would otherwise be unknown (i.e investigative journalism). It is the views of Harcup (2004), that Journalism entails creating and directing messages at consumers of the media who may comprise non-specific general audience or narrower market segment. Drawing similarities from the earlier concepts elucidated above, Sport journalism therefore can be viewed from Steve’s (2001) perspective, which he opines, is a form of writing that reports on sporting topics, events and games, often regarded as an unserious genre of journalism because the journalist within this concern are considered to be concerned with less serious topics covered by the news desk. However, sport journalism has grown in significance as sport itself as grown in wealth, power and influence. Sport journalism in the views of Steen (2007) covers writings and reports about amateur and professional sports, sport journalism in print medium provide detailed previews of upcoming events and post-game analysis in addition to extensive updates of game scores, player statistics and team standings. In the same vein, broadcast sport journalism provides real-time reporting and commentary of sporting events for television and radio broadcast. Sports are said to deal with physical activities with well set rules and regulations. From the set of rules, winners emerge and such winners attract reward from both the private sectors and public sector. This is a clear indication of the increased value of sport (Nwanne, 2010). Sports is an organized physical and recreational activities which is geared at facilitating human and material resources for intrinsic and extrinsic values, sports has become globally acknowledged as a potential tool for national and economic development. Nations of the world therefore endeavor to utilize their potentials in sports to enhance the attainment of their respective development objectives.

The most important change that has taken place in the sport industry is the significant role the media are playing in the development of sports all over the world. Apart from the fact that the media has increased sports awareness and spectatorship among peoples of the world, it has also increased revenue generation which has enriched the various sports stakeholders. The media have been playing a catalyst role for the identification and the promotion of knowledge, information and understanding about various sports and sporting talent in various nations (Alimi, 2003). Acosta (2002) pointed out those competitive sports would only survive and develop with the cooperation of the media. It is for this reason that sports must enjoy good relationship with the press, radio, and television. In the light of the above, this study seek to assess audience perception of the role of sport journalism in sport development in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Sports journalists, according to Alimi (2003) have crucial roles to play in the ongoing efforts to use sports as a vehicle for social mobilization geared towards building a prosperous country. It is the duty of the sports journalist to provide the audience with knowledge, information and understanding. Effective broadcasters and announcers attract spectators and sports enthusiasts to sports happenings. However, although the role of sports journalism in sports development is well established, it is not uncommon to find that some very cynical critics still exist within the profession. If sport is to be improved and more acceptable to the people, the relationship between sports journalism and the press needs to be synchronized.

In addition, the media in carrying out their social responsibility and development role in sport development in Nigeria have been criticized for placing too much emphasis on European sporting promotion and culture to the detriment of indigenous games and talents, calling for a serious re-evaluation of the roles and obligations of sport journalist and media through self-regulation. However, looking at the nature of media ownership and the high cost of media production, industry watchers agree that practitioners have taken to profit maximization which finds a fertile ground in foreign sport portrayal on Nigerian media and the huge advert revenue it attracts for the media than in the local sporting events and activities, which is under-funded, ill equipped and lacks proper promotion, administration, management, branding and packaging. Meanwhile, there also exists the problem of Nigerian high taste for foreign input in the media, particularly sports; Nigerians prefer staying at their places of work with company of friends and families discussing the outcome of foreign sporting activities or even watching, rather than to pay or tune in to see their local athletes or sporting activities. Therefore it is upon this backdrop that this study tends to determine audience perception of the role of sport journalism in sport development in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The overall aim of this study is to critically examine audience perception of the role of sport journalism in sport development in Nigeria. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;

i.                   Determine the extent to which the media promote sports events in Nigeria.

ii.                 Determine whether sport journalism has any effect on sport development in Nigeria.

iii.              Determine whether sport journalism has increased sports awareness in Nigeria.

iv.              Determine whether sport journalism has increased sports spectatorship in Nigeria.

v.                 Determine whether sport journalism has helped to increase revenue generation in the sports industry of Nigeria.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions

i.         What is the extent to which the media promote sports events in Nigeria?

ii.       Does sport journalism have any effect on sport development in Nigeria?

iii.    Has sport journalism increased sports awareness in Nigeria?

iv.    Has sport journalism increased sports spectatorship in Nigeria?

v.       Has sport journalism helped to increase revenue generation in the sports industry of Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Sport journalism is relatively a new and experimental genre of journalism for most developing countries like Nigeria, and may not have all the necessary condition for success. And so this research study will be of great importance to the generality of Nigerians who will want to venture into the practice of sport journalism or own and operate media houses that are purely to develop the nations sportings

Similarly, this research study will also serve to find out the responsibilities of sport writers to the development of sports in Nigeria, with a view to establish sport journalism as an important genre of journalism giving the increasing value of sport in our society. Thus, helping to make it an attractive career option for journalist. Furthermore, the study will also be relevant to other researchers as it will be providing the opportunity to know more on the benefit or otherwise of sport journalism and media coverage of sporting event as well as local talent promotion and exposure through sport in Nigeria.

It will also serve as a guide to our national sport policy makers and future policy inquiry into the field of sport journalism and sport development, the possible recommendations made will be very useful to sport administrators and management of the various sporting associations or bodies in the country as will be highlighted in some of their operation.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is structured to generally examine audience perception of the role of sport journalism in sport development in Nigeria. However, the study will further determine the extent to which the media promote sports events in Nigeria, determine whether sport journalism has any effect on sport development in Nigeria, determine whether sport journalism has increased sports awareness in Nigeria, determine whether sport journalism has increased sports spectatorship in Nigeria, and determine whether sport journalism has helped to increase revenue generation in the sports industry of Nigeria. Hence, this study will be delimited to Lagos State.

1.7 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.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Journalism:

This is the act of gathering, processing and preparation of written, visual and audio material intended for dissemination by means of a public media.

Mass Media:

Communication media that reaches a large audience especially television, radio, newspaper and magazine.

Spectatorship:

The act of watching or viewing an event, especially sporting events.

Sport:

A game or physical activity that you do for enjoyment or in order to compete against other people

Sportscaster:

A broadcaster who specializes in reporting sporting activities or games.

Sport Development:

All efforts geared towards the upliftment and improvement of sport and other sport related activity or institutions.

Sport Journalism:

The activity of gathering and disseminating to a large audience through the mass media reports of sporting activities like, players statistics, live score etc.


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



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