The study examines the influence of social media on citizen journalism in Nigeria. The study was anchored on the theory of Democratic participatory Theory which concern on how communication of information be extended to the citizen. The research work was carried out using the survey design method with the population size 46,000 drawn from the Abraka community, and the sample size of 380. The same administered questionnaire was 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 results from the study showed that respondent’s affirmed that social media influence citizen journalism as they participation in news sourcing, gathering and dissemination. Respondents in Abraka believed that social media platform for journalism is good to check happenings in the society as they report them on the social media on people’s opinion. The respondents accepted the fact that social media have contributed to citizen journalism and it is a way to know happenings in the environment. The rate at which the people participate in citizen journalism is high. Social media citizen journalism encourages the people to participate in democracy. The study recommended that people should always post factual contents on social media for citizen journalism. Citizens should get facts before reporting or posting news stories on the social media.
1.1 Background to the Study
Journalism is the business of generating information from the people to the people. This is done with the aim to serve the information inquisitive of the people. The flow of information has been from the location of happenings to the distance location or to those who were not aware of the happenings. According to Thorsen (2013) since the invention of printed press till the early years of internet; news was done by professionals and journalists and it was unthinkable to share news before being disseminated by news organizations.
Citizen journalism is defined as the media role for which people play actively participate in the generation of news content, processing and disseminating same through the social media platforms. According to Bowman and Willis (2003) citizen journalism is the act of a citizen or a group of citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.
Banda (2011) pointed that this brand of journalism has been variously called “public journalism”, “participatory journalism”, “democratic journalism”, “guerrilla journalism” and “street journalism.” In all, it is a rapidly evolving form of journalism where common citizens take the initiative to report news or express views about happenings within their community. It is news of the people by the people and for the people. Citizen journalism came as a result of new development in communication technologies especially in telecommunications. This situation gave people almost equal opportunities to report events.
According to Ekwueme, Obayi and Nwachukwu (2013) the explosion in digital communication technologies has had far-reaching implications for the journalism profession. This deregulation of gathering, writing and distribution of news has in reality put journalism practice into the hands of any literate in possession of a tool as small as a cell-phone and as big as a desktop computer and thus tremendously expanded the scope of the public sphere. With the preponderance of social media, anyone with an opinion, a smart phone and a Facebook account can present their views to an audience potentially as large as any major political campaign can attract. This has raised citizen journalism to a level of influence unknown previously (BBC, Focus on Africa, Oct-Dec, 2011).
Chaker (2016) stated that in today’s globalized world of the information revolution, the rapid pace of new-media technology an increasing number of internet users, and the context of news creation, means media dissemination and consumption has radically changed. Today, anyone can connect to the internet and access a global platform where news is freely available and easily-accessed. Not only has access to news become quicker and easier, but the interactive nature of media and, specifically social media, means that news creation is also possible. An individual with a smart communication device, a camera, or a mobile phone can easily produce instant news and share it with local and global audience.
This development has effectively removed the monopoly of determining what, who, where, when and how news was dished out to the world from the stranglehold of just few powerful media moguls. Chaker (2016) avers that social media are increasingly a forum for information and debate with anon-linear flow of information and open-sourced journalism. With the interactive aspect of social media, posting a comment, sharing a photo or a video is no longer a mere personal act of entertainment. Interaction has become a source of news that can be shared and disseminated instantly.
Ekwueme, et al (2013) the venerable profession of journalism finds itself at a rare moment in history where, for the first time, its hegemony as gatekeeper of the news is threatened by not just new technology and competitors but, potentially, by the audience it serves.
Chaker (2016) social media are heavily influencing the established norms of journalism. News media is increasingly a forum for information and debate with a non-linear flow of information and open-sourced journalism. With the interactive aspect of social media, posting a comment, sharing a photo or a video is no longer a mere personal act of entertainment. Interactivity has become a source of news that can be shared and disseminated instantly.
There has been an understanding of the people that citizen journalism has contributed to the practice of journalism in Nigeria just like other developed countries like China, USA, UK. According to Xin (2011) citizen journalism is helping citizen receiving information they cannot get though mainstream media because of government has control on the media. Moreover this type of journalism has also an impact in offline activism. The increased role of digital news from citizen journalists has led to a growing incorporation of user generated content (UGC) into professional news feeds. Media scholars have pointed to the importance of this trend in mainstream media to open pathways that enrich their engagement with audiences and fill gaps in coverage.
Moreover mainstream media nowadays is making serious efforts to adapt. Consequently, TV channels and many newspapers have their own online platforms where audience can read and comment over the news. These online platforms are also attracting advertisement and bringing revenues to mainstream media. The stand point is the there is a synergy between social media use in journalism by the people and traditional media. In recent times, conventional media relied on eye witness accounts to get information about event especially during election period. The contributions imbedded on the social media are replicated on the journalism.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Journalism is functionally for news sourcing and disseminating from the locations of happenings to people from distance location. One of the most attributes of journalism is timeliness of news. Outside this, news cannot have value. Besides this, the delivery of news is for the people to actively participate or as in the case of eye witness accounts. The introduction of social media into the mainstream of the journalism has witnessed a paradigm shift in the way news is source, from which it is generate and in what devices to disseminate it to the public.
According to Ekwueme, et al. (2013) the changing world of the online medium has been buffeting the traditional media with the force of a tornado; it may have dealt fatal blows to journalistic ethics and professionalism. It is also worthy to note that journalism practice wields such enormous powers and calls for the highest standards of ethics and commitment to truth. Ekwueme (2011), laments that the process of news gathering and reporting has taken an unorthodox dimension with the infiltration of citizen journalists. The attendant implication of this development on quality of news, professionalism and ethics of the profession is obvious. Marshall (2005) insists that news reported by citizen journalist does not go through any editorial process that validates the information and this is not true journalism.
It is against this background that this study seeks to examine the influence of social media on citizen journalism.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following objectives guide the study.
- Determine the extent which social media are adopted for citizen journalism in Abraka.
- Determine how the people of Abraka use social media for citizen journalism.
- Ascentain how social media have contributed towards citizen journalism in Abraka.
- Determine the influence of social on citizen journalism in Abraka.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study.
- To what extent which social media are adopted for citizen journalism in Abraka?
- How do the people of Abraka use social media for citizen journalism?
- How has social media have contributed towards citizen journalism in Abraka?
- What is the influence of social on citizen journalism in Abraka?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study will contribute to existing knowledge, theories, concepts on social media and citizen journalism. It will also help the researcher to understand many concepts in social media and citizen’s journalism. The study will also be a lift to future researchers.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is limited to social media users in Abraka, especially students of Delta State University, Abraka. The period for the study is within a period of six months which is from July to December 2018. The choice for this period is that it is predominantly election preparatory time in Nigeria.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Citizen Journalism: Citizen Journalism is media role for which citizen participate in the generating of news content, processing and disseminating same through the social media platforms
Ethics: This is the standard set by an organization for check the excessiveness its members and it goes with sanctions.
Influence: This is the impact of independent variables on dependent variables under a subject of study.
Journalism: This is the act of gathering news and dissemination of news to the general public through a channel of mass communication.
Participatory Democracy: This is the activities of citizens in engaging in democracy by making suggestions, opinions and criticism.
Social Media: This are new media platforms or sites use by people for social networking and social interaction.
Technologic Devices: These are mobile devices like smartphones and cameras which have reporting capacity.