This study investigated the communication effectiveness of cartoon in vanguard newspaper with a survey from Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Four research questions were raised and followings were the research objectives: to investigate the importance of cartoons in Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria, to establish the effectiveness of the message passed by the cartoons section in the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria, to determine the reasons for the use of cartoons in the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria and to examine the moral lessons that are always learnt on the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria. 150 samples were selected from the residents of Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, 100 were subjected to statistical analysis.
1.1 Background to the Study
Cartoons have over the years become a major feature of newspaper and magazine content in Nigeria. A panoramic observation would reveal that most daily newspapers and weekly magazines publish various cartoons and comic strips. The Guardian publishes cartoons and comic strips on trending issues on social, political and economic affairs of the country or as illustrations of some editorial matter. Some of these cartoons have become so popular that some newspapers and magazines are sought by some readers because of their cartoons. Children especially find delight in reading cartoons in the newspapers. It has been observed in Nigeria that children when given any kind of newspapers the first they do is flip straight to the cartoons pages.
The pattern of the cartoon makes it unique and different from other comic strips; a cartoonist tracks the stories of the day and makes his cartoon accordingly. Cartoons are often slapstick and exaggerated, yet aim at making a realistic appeal. Some see cartoons as being and being comical and silly but not realizing that it is a comical and humorous representation of a story. Cartoons have been around much even before the advent of newspapers themselves. Caricatures have been an art representation used as a comic from the times of Leonardo Da Vinci. Recently, cartoons have become an issue of controversy and this is because their issue has become more wide spread, cartoons such as the Jyllands Posten cartoon of The Prophet, cartoons of Osama Bin Laden have made headlines. Since there is no law to limit the comical representation of the cartoonists for their expression of ideas, they have the power of censorship vested within them. In other news, the Common Man, a symbol of all this the Indian common man goes through has created a cult following for the man and his maker. R K Laxman, a political/social cartoonist has brought in the woes of the common man to the readers through The Times of India and has brought politicians, bureaucrats and just about everyone to the front page. Visual image is a medium of communication used in passing message quicker and clearer to a critical component of the development of political processes. It is said to be a visual metaphor or metaphorical codification through which an artist (a functional member of the polity and keen societal gauge trained in close observation), informs, educates or entertains his viewers. Furthermore, it has been grouped as a form of cool media. Nelson in his own view argued that cartoons are a screaming medium that its attention is undeniable. The pedagogical importance of the cartoon has proven a valuable instrument and avenue to educate the readers in any publication where it appears.
The importance of cartoons in Nigeria will be highly appreciated considering the fact that not many Nigerians know how to read and write (Medubi, 63). Cartoons help to break the barrier of literacy, because it employs stereotypes cartoonists to bring the familiarity to their viewers. This helps everyone to appreciate and evaluate the trending social, political and religious issues, no matter their level of education. It is fundamental to carry everyone along in the governance process in a democratic setting. Sani et al. (2012b) offer that cartoons in Nigeria are specifically aimed at setting social agenda. In furtherance to the overall view of the mass media in Nigeria as given above, newspaper cartoons are aimed at complementing the task of other journalists. Cartoons, in this regard, serve as watchdogs to the government in power.
Apart from the humour, exaggeration and metaphor in a cartoon there appear to be more important messages is a widely acknowledged fact (Adejuwon and Alimi, 2011; Sani et al., 2012; and Kondowe, Ngwira, and Madula, 2014). Apart from its applicability to learning, cartoons bring much to bear on the social existence of people. They are means of projecting ideas, thoughts and desires. Most will consider the humour, exaggeration and comic relief cartoons bring, but attention needs to be paid on the moral lessons they teach. This will provide adequate explanation on the communication effectiveness of cartoon in vanguard newspaper with a survey from Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
One of the problems of cartoons drawing in the newspapers in Nigeria is that most people fail to understand the message usually passed across by cartoonists and those who understand it sometimes think that the humours are too expensive to play with. In fact, they believe that they directed towards some sets of people in the government. Whatever the case may be, they are used for passing messages across to the people in a humorous way. Newspaper cartoons are rich sources of information. Being a strong and effective communication tools, newspaper cartoons are essential to the total education of every subject of the society they portray. There is, therefore, the need to situate newspaper cartoons within the larger domain of social discourse. Newspaper cartoons are usually seen as political commentary; giving political cue on good governance. But if political cartoons can easily draw attention there seems an urgent need to consider their poignant treatment of social issues, so that they can be engaged for the social education of the citizenry. It is often expressed that there is more to life than meets the eye, and this is a basic feature of the cartoon. The ingenuity of cartoons in presenting and satirising social ills thus demands careful scrutiny, for, perhaps, in the scrutiny lies the means of solving societal problems.
1.3 Research Questions
This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:
i) What are the importance of cartoons in Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria?
ii) What are the effectiveness of the message passed by the cartoons section in the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria?
iii) What are the reasons for the use of cartoons in the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria?
iv) What are the moral lessons that are always learnt on the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the communication effectiveness of cartoon in vanguard newspaper with a survey from Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The specific objectives include:
i) To investigate the importance of cartoons in Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria.
ii) To establish the effectiveness of the message passed by the cartoons section in the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria.
iii) To determine the reasons for the use of cartoons in the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria.
iv) To examine the moral lessons that are always learnt on the Vanguard newspapers in Nigeria.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study investigates the communication effectiveness of cartoon in vanguard newspaper with a survey from Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. It will show the important roles cartoons play in passing information in a comical or humorous ways to the people in the society. Findings from this study will be useful for students in the area of journalism and mass communication. It will also serve as a foundation upon which other research works will be made in the area of journalism and mass communication.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study investigates the communication effectiveness of cartoon in vanguard newspaper with a survey from Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Samples for this study shall be taken from residents from Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
The researcher was faced with the constraint of getting adequate information from students in the local government area due to the fact that most of them were not willing to reveal adequate information about their perception of the topics in the subject as some of them thought that the researcher might be seeing them as unserious students.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Cartoons: a simple drawing showing the features of its subjects in a humorously exaggerated way, especially a satirical one in a newspaper or magazine.
Communication: the imparting or exchanging of information or news.
Effectiveness: the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success.
Newspapers: a printed publication (usually issued daily or weekly) consisting of folded unstapled sheets and containing news, feature articles, advertisements, and correspondence.