The study examines undergraduate students’ readership of online newspapers in the department of Business Administration and Mass Communication. The study was anchored on the theory of perception theory which concern with the attitudes of individuals towards online newspaper. The research work was carried out using the survey design method with the population size 222 drawn, and 140 of the administered questionnaire were returned by the respondents, the simple random techniques which gives the sample equal chances of being selected was employed and the data from the questionnaire was selected, collated and analyzed. The study showed that students admitted that they often read online newspaper and Vanguard and the Guardian newspaper were frequently read by these students, students spend average of two hours reading the news stories of their choice and they often read the online newspaper in the morning and this does not conflict with their lecture time and motives why students read online newspaper are because of quick updates of events and happenings and undergraduate students affirmed that news from the online version is factual as they trust in the news. Consequently, the study recommends that students should be encouraged to read newspapers online especially mass communication students, students should be educated about the academic benefits of reading the online newspapers, online newspaper should increase the run rate of updates on recent and interesting issues of the society and students should ensure that they read all types of news on online newspaper.
1.1 Background to the Study
Newspaper has been the anchor medium for information dissemination from inception it was introduced. Every person has shown reasonable consideration to the importance of newspaper to satisfaction of information need of man. According to Bresinger, Gullan and Chakar (2014), newspaper has long been a critical point of connection within one community to another or a person to another.
At the wake of technological advancement, newspaper industry lost its glory in mass media environment. The introduction of Radio and Television saw a great migration of reader’s capacity from newspaper to the two electronic devices. The broadcast media were effective and superior to the newspaper in terms of timely reporting and audience interest and attention were activated. During this period, newspaper was relegated to only old citizen, (Matthew, Ogedebe and Adenji, 2013).
This trend continued all through to 1980s when the internet was invented. At the dawn of the internet, many synergies were dawn; partnership was established as well as merger of institutions. For the newspaper, a paradigm shift was opened and the opportunity to regain the lost glory became evident. According to Fox (2001) internet has become major source of communication in the present world and reading news is the fourth popular internet activity among the people in USA. Tewari (2015) state that internet has become an important source of information and provide knowledge of different segments of the society. According to Matthew, Ogedebe and Adeniji (2013) state that the introduction of the internet has brought a lot of changes in the way people communicate around the world. News is now available 24/7 with the help of computers connected to one another through the internet.
According to Tewari (2015) all the major newspapers have started their e-papers and news website. Round the clock news has been achieved because of the internet enablement of newspaper into online. The consequence of the internet on print media is the revamp of the industry into relevancy. It has stirred up good competition and with internet, the newspaper industry can hold on to its own in a competitive industry. Next to the internet is the advancement of telecommunication and smartphones. According to Veglis (2015) the importance of online has grown rapid by over the last decade. Nowadays, leading of the world moving to 100% digital page assembly and distribution streaming workflow process. The essential attribute of online newspaper is the provision of information timely to wide range of people. Cherian and Jacob (2017) state that infrastructure for governance and a well operating can be provided to the targets. In accordance to Pew Research Center (2009), providing information to the citizens so as to make them to play their role in the society is the major purpose of journalism.
Apart from being an agent of information generation and dissemination, newspaper must achieve this timely and to a large population so that an average population is inform of expected news or outcome of unexpected news. The possible way which newspaper can do this effectively is using the internet to publish news strong. The shift is influence by two factors which are technology and age. Technology is about news and is about present. Hence young people are conscience of new technological advancement that helps life easy and fast.
The areas that technology has influenced journalism are telecommunication, mobile phone, website, social media, and social need. The need knowledge influence the type of change to be use. Since television and Radio are not technological fancy by young people, the internet has made newspaper to be attractive to young people, especially students. The basic truth is that virtually internet activities are embedded in the smartphone.
Reporting and conveying information to the audience are major duties of newspaper as they not only convey the information to the views but also influence the behavior of the readers, (George and Waldfogel, 2006).
According to Tewari (2015), online readers of newspaper will grow very fast as per latest research by the internet and mobile Association of India. The internet usage in India has gone up by 32% from October 2013 to October 2014, 278 million people were using internet in India till 2014. According to US based research from e-Marketer says India would overtake the US as the second-largest marketing for smartphone by 2016. Although this is not Nigeria but there is synergy between Nigeria population and India.
The high rate or increase in internet usage in developing countries like Nigeria. According to Cherian and Jacob (2013), they could find out the factors motivating the user to choose online news resources and the way through which the online resource fulfill the expectations of the readers. According to Pew Research (2010), in this modern age, people obtain information by means of internet. In a recent research, it is identified that next to television, people use internet to get to know the daily events and newspaper is ranked as the third news platform. In this research, it is also identified that the link between citizens and news has become portable and participatory.
The introduction of the Internet has brought a lot of changes in the way people communicate around the world. News is now available everyday with the help of computers connected to one another. The coming of the internet brought two major challenges to the traditional mass media, especially magazine and newspaper. Firstly, advertisement which was a means of generating revenue was going down steadily and secondly, the industry was experiencing low patronage from readers.
According to a report by Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in journalism and quoted by Reuters (2012) “On line advertising revenue in the United States is projected to takeover print newspaper and revenue in 2010… 46 percent of Americans said they get their news online at least three times a week, versus 40 percent who said they got their news from newspapers and their companion websites.”
To overcome the challenges posed by the internet, many newspaper organizations had to create their websites and also charge fees for access to these websites. According to Wikipedia (2012) “Declining profit margins and declining circulation in daily newspapers have forced executives to contemplate new methods of obtaining revenue from websites…” The Internet as a new mass communication medium aided by network of computers has become a channel where companies all over the world could advertise their products to a global audience. “Going online created more opportunities for newspapers, such as competing with broadcast journalism in presenting breaking news in a timelier manner.
The credibility and strong brand recognition of well- established newspapers, and the close relationship they have with advertisers are also seen by many in the newspaper industry as strengthening their chances of survival. Wikipedia,(2011). In 2009, many Nigeria newspapers started producing their online editions apart from their hard copies. This is the trend all over the world. The Nigeria newspaper industry is therefore toeing the path other newspaper industries around the world have taken. On line newspaper is a new phenomenon in Nigeria.
In 2001, the Federal Government granted license to MTN and other companies to provide GSM services to Nigerians. These network providers also provide Internet services in addition to the mobile telecommunication services. Internet services provided by GSM network operators have made both foreign and local online newspapers available to Nigerians. The Nigerian Guardian and other
Newspapers produce thousands of copies daily, yet their copies never get to some cities in the Northern part of the country, especially the North East, until after a day or two. However, with The Guardian and other newspapers now having their websites, this problem and many more confronting readers is now a thing of the past.
Today there are 25 Nigerian newspapers online. They are; Arewa online, Business Day, Champion, Daily Times, Desert Herald, Financial Standard, Guardian, Independent, Inquirer, Leadership, Nation, National Daily, National Mirror, New Age, New Nigerian, Niger-delta Standard, Observer, Punch Sun, Thisday, The Tide, Tribune, Triumph, Vanguard and Weekly insight. (Nigerian newspaper online .MHT)
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Newspapers have started to search for online delivery channels so as to retain the young readers. As a result, they have transferred a considerable amount of their channels from print format to online formats. Most newspapers have started to implement a 360 degree strategy that integrate contents decision shaped by the potential to generate consumer value and returns through multiple platform of expression of that contents and via a number of distributive outlet, (Doyle, 2010). The intent is to capture a good number of readers, who have jettison the print media for a long time. Newspaper in a way to return back to favourable patronage introduced online version to interest students who are technological oriented; in getting information. According to Zickuhr (2011) youngsters are interested to own a laptop and access internet via mobile phones as they believe that these devices would differentiate them from other age group.
The issue there is whether these usages of these devices promote consumption of online newspaper or not and to justify why undergraduate students read newspaper. Also, to find out the frequency at which students read online newspaper and the contents students read.
1.2 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this study is to examine the readership of online newspapers by Delta State University students. In addition, the study shall be guided by the following objectives.
- To find out whether Delta State University student read online newspapers.
- To find out the frequency at which Delta State University students read online newspapers.
- To find out why Delta State University students read online newspapers.
- To determine the factors that discourages Delta State University students from reading online newspaper.
1.4 Research Questions
- Do Delta State University students’ read online newspapers?
- What is the frequency at which Delta State University students read online newspaper?
- Why do Delta State University students read online newspapers?
- What are the factors that discourage Delta State University students from reading online newspaper?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The research is centered on the readership of undergraduate students in Delta State University, Abraka of online newspapers. The on the concept of the study, the findings shall ultimately provide answers to the issues raise in the objectives of the study as such provide workable knowledge to both students and newspaper house for understanding the driving forces to readers’ accessibility and acceptability of online news content and other contents publish on the internet. The recommendations will be a guide as well.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study is on the undergraduate students of Delta State University. It shall focus on two departments in the faculty of Social Sciences; which are: Departments of business Administration and Mass communication. The period of this study is for one year, which is from January to December 2017.
1.7 Definition of Terms.
Internet: the word internet means the connectivity of different computers with a wireless link sharing information from distance. It is the recent technological advancement that have improve newspaper industry.
Newspaper: This is a periodic news publication that appears in tabloid or Broadsheet format for citizen to be abreast with the happenings in the society. According to Nwosu (2003), newspaper is a package of timely records of event and person for public consumption.
Online Newspaper: This is the version of newspaper publication that appears on the internet. According to Wikipedia (2011), online newspaper is a web newspaper that exists on the World Wide Web.