The study examines the attitude of readers towards online publications. Online publications have increased since the advent of the internet. It is the new way of newspaper and broadcast media use their online version to disseminate information. The study was anchored on the perception media theory. The survey design was employed in carrying out this research. For the purpose of the population targeted, the researcher limits the research sample to a manageable size of one hundred and forty (150) which were drawn from students of Delta State University, Abraka. The method used to take the sample is the systematic simple random sampling to select the respondents due to the large population of the students. The study concluded that students are in the habit of checking and reading the online publications for updates of events and people and they usually do that in the mornings and evenings as they daily access these contents through their smartphones and political and entertainment news are most read by students. The study recommended that students should cultivate good attitude about reading online publication as regards to newspaper online than blogs and always verify information read from untrusted online publications by reading mainstream newspaper that have online version and online newspapers organizations should enable their platform on mobile app, since students prefer smartphones to access information daily.
1.1 Background to the Study
Online publication is becoming popular in the advent of internet and smartphones. It is the recent way people get information about events, people and places. Olley and Chile (2015) stated that internet continues to evolve into a major news source. The internet which is the world-wide system in interconnected computers makes use of telecommunication resources. The internet with all its capacities has changed the way human live, learn and work. It allows people to communicate more with people around the world, regardless of location and distance, thus making it a global village.
The online publication of niche news and the quick adoption of online news platform by people through the large amount available internet enabled computers and smartphone. This has increased the patronage of online publication as well as encouraging people to read details of niche news they see on the internet.
As a result of the increase of people on the internet and their quest for information, many, if not all the newspapers have online publication version. This is done to cover many audience or readers as possible. The newspaper in Nigeria does this through the publication of niche on these platforms and as soon as they are interested. The online contents are not exhaustive; they are bait to buy the hard copy print.
According to Lapointe (2009), online news is actually complementing the newspaper instead of replacing it, and can be an opportunity to flourish instead of a threat to survival for newspaper companies. Readership of the print version of newspapers in Canada remained steady from 2007 to 2008, with over 14 million people (73 percent of the adult population) saying they read a newspaper at least once a week. When you aggregate the print format with the web, newspapers are actually reaching more people than ever before, (Akin, 2009).
According to Tewari (2015) all the major newspapers have started their online version of newspaper and news website. 24/7 news delivery has been achieved because of the internet enablement of newspaper into online. The contribution 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.
Most online publications come inform newspaper and blog. The advent of internet in the activities of human introduced a sophisticated way of doing things and the newspaper industry is favoured. This is because newspaper which is the oldest means of mass communication was losing its value when radio and television were invented. Internet provides opportunity for information disseminated.
Meyer (2004), notes that online newspapers, because of their editorial content and not in spite of it, are positioned to yield more information than any of the substitutes” and that an internet-based medium can’t easily duplicate their influence.
One purpose of online publication of news is to catch the interest of online readers or visitors to news stories. The readers frequent the site of these newspapers with the aim of satisfying their curiosity for news. According to Ijeh (2008), readership of online newspaper is purposed to have greatly enhanced information sourcing and sharing activities in several ways. A number of gains accrued to online newspaper in the information sharing efforts. It is easy to access, store. Share and retrieve valuable information quickly, enough than the tabloid.
According to Metzger and Stanner (2003) study on students’ perception towards the information credibility of the web use shows that students tend to depend on the web for information rather than seeking information from the library. The perception is as a result of the credibility they have for online newspaper which is transferred from the traditional newspaper.
Donald & Michelle (2008), the term “blogs” is an abbreviation of “weblogs” that Edelman and Intellissek (2005) say are easily published, personal web sites that serve as sources of commentary, opinion and uncensored, unfiltered sources of information on a variety of topics). According to Robert (2005), many weblogs began sporadically as vanity publishing because anyone with an opinion about anything could create, in a matter of minutes, his or her own web site for publishing news, opinion, commentary and links to other sites.
Weber (2007) claims there were 100 million blogs by 2007. Technorati, a search tool that tracks blogging topics, links and trends, claims the number of blogs doubled from about 30 million to about 60 million between 2003 and 2006. Weber (2007) says more than 100,000 new blogs are created every day.
Although blogging most definitely is a global phenomenon, Scoble and Israel (2006) point out some companies are actively involved in blogging while others are not. They also indicate a variety of factors, including the availability of technology and reasons of culture, have encouraged blogging in some countries while inhibiting it in others.
The nature of the audiences has been changed with new communications technologies, and what is currently seen is an overload in their ability to receive and consider so many messages (Meyer, 2004). Shafer (2007) writes that, even as “the complete gestalt of local, state, national and international news plus sports, comics, classified, opinion and hints on fashion, home, entertainment. Online offered by a print newspaper remains attractive, many buyers are taking advantage of the web capabilities of “unbundling” the news they want from the news they don’t want.
According to Lucena (2011) significant differences in the quality of the experience provided by the print and online news have also been examined. Meyer (2004) defends that the “catalog function” has been one of newspapers’ strengths in competing with television, that turning the pages to find specific product information, a reader makes the newspaper a good information retrieval machine because you can interact with it. The Internet was able to combine the added appeal of images with this ability to get detailed information.
The way news is sourced and disseminated is not the same in the last two decades. Many newspapers organizations are taking advantage of internet and computers especially the internet enabled smartphones. Olley and Chile (2015) stated that anyone who has followed the internet industry and the newspaper industry will discover the synergy between the two. The internet has completely changed the face of the printing industry and newspapers have taken the lead. In recent times, people do not wait 24 hours again to get updates from newspaper pages, rather at the opening of internet-enable computers or smartphone updates drops frequently at an amazing rate.
According to Okocha (2016), the Creative and analytical ability of students is also stimulated by the use of blogs. Blogs enable students to think deeply on concepts learnt and relate these concepts to real-life issues. Blogs can be used as a platform for reflecting deeply on concepts learnt. Deng (2009), blogs are used for collaborative learning, peers prefer to read other peoples entries than write their own. Kim (2008) also found that students preferred blogging in personal blogs than group blogs. It was also noted that peer feedback affected the reflective thinking benefits of blogs.
Examples of newspapers in Nigeria that have online versions include, The Guardian, the Sun, The Vanguard, The Daily Trust, This day, The Nation, The leadership among others. Apart from these mentioned newspapers, there are other online newspapers that do not have traditional newspaper or print versions. These newspapers spring up specifically for online version as such, perception of people is that there are faceless. They are Sahara Reporters, Scannews, Naija news. Some of the state owned newspapers also have joined the online versions.
The revolution in the online publication industry by the internet has brought misleading online contents. Since the online newspaper and blog website are the prototype of the tabloid version of which the contents of both are the same. Unfortunately, many online newspapers in Nigeria have no hard copy version. All they do is to publish contents online and allow the readers to feed from the contents. Some of these contents cannot be easily verified from hard copy. The hard copy version is presented legally while the online is viewed as porous because of the inability of legal entity to censor the internet and its abundant windows of information sharing.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The internet is one of the greatest communication inventions of man in modern times. This is mostly as a result of the convergence of power which has also been used to bring other traditional media to a common place,(Olley and Chile, 2015). In Nigeria, online publication has increase because of the increase of internet users. This has also increased the number of newspapers that have upgraded to the internet. The online publication industry has been affected by the internet through the gathering, processing and dissemination of news, ideas and other contents and the reading pattern of newspaper online and other online publication. Things have amazingly changed from reader’s perspective and producer’s perspective.
Despite this tremendous revolution in online publication and newspaper operations, the cost of purchasing internet accessing device is relatively high. According to Ijeh (2015), the high cost of procuring gadgets, poor internet connectivity, and airtime, absence of internet literacy and poor electricity supply discouraged readership to the point that many students in selected universities in Nigeria spend less than 40 % of the time browsing the internet to read online news.
Apart from accessibility to internet online publication and internet newspaper, another serious issue among the readers still does not fancy the reading of online publications and online newspaper as a result of their bias notion of the internet as a place where any faceless individual can post whatever he likes for public consumption, (Olley and chile, 2015). Online information is rated to be high because of the high level of amount of bias, propaganda, character assassination to mention but a few.
This study will close the gap with regard to the frequency of students’ readership of online newspaper, the contents that students frequently read on online newspaper, the perception of undergraduate students towards online newspaper and the factors that encouraged undergraduate students’ readership of online newspaper.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this study is to examine the attitude of readers towards online publication. In addition, the study shall be guided by the following objectives.
- To find out whether the people read online newspapers.
- To ascertain the factors that encourage of readership of online newspapers.
- To gauge the attitude of readers towards online publication.
- To determine the factors that discourages people from reading online newspaper.
1.4 Research Questions
- Do people read online newspapers?
- What are the factors that encourage the readership of online newspapers?
- What is the attitude of readers towards online publication?
- What are the factors that discourage people from reading online newspaper?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The research is centered on the readership attitude of readers towards online publications. The findings shall ultimately provide answers to the issues raise in the objectives of the study. The study will benefit media organizations because the findins will provide them with attitude of readers of online publication with understanding of how to serve the oublic interest with quality contents. Also, the study shall help readers of online publications with the best knowledge of online media that provide credible contents for their consumptions.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study is on the online readers of online publication in Abraka Community. It shall focus on the various clusters that made up Abraka community and these are Urhuoka, Ekrejeta, Police Station road, Abraka PO and campus 2 road. The period of this study is for one year, which is from January to December 2018.
1.4 Operational 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 has improved 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 Publication: This is contents that are published by media house or individual blog.
Blog: This is a webpage or site that appears as the online media. A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.
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.