This study was carried out to examine the influence of news blogging on journalism: an assessment of student perception. the study specifically was aimed to find out whether news blogging has shaped journalism in Nigeria, find out how blogging has influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria, and determine whether blogging has affected the credibility of journalism practice in Nigeria. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprised of Mass communication student of Imo State University. In determining the sample size, the researcher purposefully selected 160 respondents and 141 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables, and mean scores. While the hypotheses was tested Chi-square statistical tool. The result of the findings reveals that blogging has influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria in the following ways: interactivity with audience, high feedback, multimedia contents development, live reporting, social sharing of content, and breaking the government monopoly and hegemony as citizens are no longer consumers of information. Furthermore, the study revealed that blogging has affected the credibility of journalism practice in Nigeria. Therefore, it is recommended that blogging, online journalism, and multimedia journalism should as a matter of urgency be added to the curriculum of polytechnics, universities, and other related schools to enable graduates familiar with the neatly gritty of the new media. To mention but a few.
1.1 Background to the Study
The advancement of information and communication technology has revolutionized all facts of human activities including communication, interaction, and politics among others. Kur (2014) cited in Fenton (2002) posits that the dynamic nature of the 21st century and more centuries to come rest on technological revolution.
Chachage(2001) further posits that the world has been condensed into a single electronic room where people can share information, ideas, and concept anywhere and anytime with just a click of a mouse or a torch of a screen/pad. According to Statista Research Department (2022), in this century, it is impossible to imagine the world without the Internet. Adding that as of April 2022, there were more than five billion internet users worldwide, which is 63.1 percent of the global population. Of this total, 4.7 billion, or 59 percent of the world’s population were social media users.
Similarly, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) puts Internet users in Nigeria at 151.4 million. Between 2019 and July 2022, the GSM operators added some 26 million new Internet users to the network. This is even as broadband phone traction surged, hitting 44.5 percent with some 84.9 million Nigerians enjoying the service (Anderson, 2001).
Without a doubt, Internet penetration is the main reason for the increasing rise of bloggers particularly news bloggers in Nigeria and the world all over (Anderson, 2001). Hence, in recent years, the rise of digital media and the growth of the Internet has led to increased competition between professional journalists and amateur news bloggers.
Traditional news organizations are facing new challenges as they compete with a growing number of citizen journalists, who are often able to publish their work more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional journalists (Al-Busaidi, and Al-Shihi, 2010). Thus, bloggers and other citizen journalists take advantage of the global reach and low barriers to entry provided by the internet, allowing them to reach large audiences with their work.
They also tend to be able to respond more quickly to breaking news events than traditional news organizations. However, this fast pace and relatively low threshold for entry have led to some concerns about the quality and accuracy of the information being disseminated (Al-Busaidi, and Al-Shihi, 2010).
In contrast, professional journalists tend to have more training and experience in journalism or related fields and are held to higher ethical standards. They often work for established news organizations that have the resources to fact-check and verify the information they publish (Adedoja and Abimbade, 2013).
Overall, the increased competition between news bloggers and journalists has led to a more diverse news landscape, with a wider range of voices and perspectives. Bloggers and journalists both produce content, but there are key differences between the two in terms of their training, experience, and professional standards (Adedoja and Abimbade, 2013).
It should be noted that bloggers are typically individuals who write and publish content on their own personal websites or online platforms. They can be hobbyists, experts in a particular field, or even professionals in other industries who have a passion for writing and sharing their thoughts and ideas online. They typically do not have professional training in journalism and may not be held to the same standards of accuracy and fact-checking as journalists (Adedoja and Abimbade, 2013).
Journalists, on the other hand, are professionals who are trained in the craft of journalism and are usually employed by news organizations. They are expected to adhere to a set of ethical standards and guidelines, such as accuracy, fairness, and impartiality in their reporting. They often have years of experience in the field and are experts in their field of coverage. They can be reporters, editors, photographers, and more. That being said, as the line between amateurs and professionals is becoming blurrier in the age of digital media, the distinctions are not always that clear-cut. Many bloggers have gone on to become journalists and many journalists now maintain a blog (Adedoja and Abimbade, 2013).
According to Ajewole and Fasola (2012), there were no blogs or bloggers in Nigeria until about 2 decades ago, and more proliferation in a decade. The major source of information for the public than was the mainstream media i.e. radio, television, newspaper, etc. But after blogs sprouted about twenty (20) years ago, the media landscape has greatly changed and redefined because people can now access information on the go, either in their home or office, in fact, practically everywhere and anytime information from far and near can be accessed, uploaded and shared with a click of the mouse and a touch of the screen (Ajewole and Fasola, 2012).
Today, there are lots of blogs and bloggers offering varieties of information to the public that include news, other blogs focus on recipes, gossip, real estate, technology, fashion, politics, education, children, beauty, sport, and humor. The bloggers have become a permanent fixture in the media scene in Nigeria. In terms of information sources, blogs have undoubtedly displaced some of the space previously held by newspapers, television, and radio.
In today’s ‘newssphere, what the mainstream media/journalists will be covering are already in the public domain offered by the bloggers. Even election results report that used to be the sole role of the traditional mass media are now in the hand of bloggers and citizen writers who use social media to share the election result batch by batch as the ballot count progresses.
In Nigeria today, there are thousands of blogs that cut across, news, entertainment, gist, fashion, and lots more, some of them are Linda Ikeji’s Blog, BellaNaija, SisiYemmie, OgbongeBlog, 9jafoodie, Naija News, Bukas Blog, Naijabulletin, Jadore Fashion, Nigerian Wedding Blog, Wothappen, MPmania, TheNewsGuru, Wothappen, HiTNG Online (Feedspos 2023).
1.2 Statement of the problem
Bloggers have become a key feature in today’s media environment, growing in number and influence in communication and (mass) media discourse (Hamilton, 2012). Audiences are increasingly turning to blogs for news and information, with some bloggers outshining established media houses in breaking stories and allowing users to interact with them freely. This is because most blogs represent a collaborative news product that hosts both the journalist and her audience in a sharing platform for deliberation (Dimitrakopoulou, 2010). The bloggers rising influence has made them be acknowledged as key participants in providing news and information in the changing media environment, where the internet is becoming the main tool of communication.
Bloggers and blogs are a still a new phenomena but their rising popularity cannot be gainsaid. The bloggers run gossip, general news and investigative sites, which have become great sources of information, including for print and electronic media journalists. But as their influence spreads, there is growing concern on the role of the bloggers in dissemination of information. This is particularly because most of them are not trained journalists, they operate outside many laws that govern journalistic practice, for instance, the one’s covering right to privacy and defamation and most of the time they offer information that is not verified.
However, while a number of studies have investigated how established journalists are dealing with and using new technologies in a number of countries (Fenton, 2010), very little attention has been paid to student perception of influence of news blogging on journalism.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The general aim of this study is to assess student perception of influence of news blogging on journalism. To achieve this, the study will specifically:
Find out whether news blogging has shaped journalism in Nigeria.
Find out how blogging has influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria
Determine whether blogging has affected the credibility of journalism practice in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Question
The study will be guided by the following questions:
Has news blogging shaped journalism in Nigeria?
How has blogging influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria?
Has blogging affected the credibility of journalism practice in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: Blogging has not influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria.
Ha: Blogging has influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study provides information that would help to understand the relationship between bloggers and journalists. It sheds light on the perceptions of journalists towards bloggers, who are seemingly taking over their work. It will help to know what motivates Nigerian bloggers, their role in the changing media environment, how they perceive their roles, and their views about mainstream journalists.
The study affords newspaper organizations the opportunity to work out modalities with a view to knowing what type of information people are seeking online and how to meet this gratification. It exposes more people to the existence of online news especially how to determine credible sources. This will turn to boost awareness and facilitate the patronage of online news especially among people.
The government through its various agencies such as NBC, and BON among others see more reasons and techniques on how to regulate online bloggers to prevent hate words and the spreading of propaganda that can mislead people.
Future researchers and students will find the material relevant as it will form bulk literature that exists in the field of mass communication, journalism, digital communication, etc that they can lay hands on when carrying out research related or similar to this.
Its findings generate debate on the work of bloggers and journalists in this era of rising internet use and stimulate further research on the subject. More importantly, the research provides and adds knowledge to the area under study.
1.7 Scope Of The Study
The study generally focuses on student perception of influence of news blogging on journalism. By extension the study tends to find out whether news blogging has shaped journalism in Nigeria, find out how blogging has influenced the practice of journalism in Nigeria, and determine whether blogging has affected the credibility of journalism practice in Nigeria. Hence the study will be delimited to Imo State University.
1.8 Limitation Of The Study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other local governments, states, and other countries in the world.
1.9 Definition Of Term
Blogger: A blogger is considered a person who runs a blog where anyone can post information e.g. lindaikejiblog.com, factualnews.com.ng, nairaland.com, eyewitnessng.com, etc.
Blogs:Blogs in this study meant online sites that allow individuals to regularly share ideas, news, commentaries, gossip, and analyses on various topics. The study did not narrow down on any types of blogs specifically, but looked at them in general.
Journalist –A journalist in the study refers to a trained news worker who works independently or is employed by newspapers to gather and compile material for news stories. Columnists were not regarded as journalists.
Journalism: This is the act of gathering news and dissemination of news to the general public through a channel of mass communication.
1.10 Organization of the Study
The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, abnd selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.