THE EFFECTS OF COMMERCIALIZATION ON THE CONTENTS OF PRIVATE MEDIA
Commercialization of news began in Nigerian media houses as a result of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced in 1986 and the eventual withdrawal of subsidies from government owned media houses see Ekwo (1996) and Ogbuoshi (2005). With the increasing rise in production cost and dwindling circulation, the media houses resort to all kinds of tricks including commercialization of the news to make money (Oso, 2000). Majority of the respondent admitted that media houses kills hard news to accommodate commercial stories. The situation has led to a lot of compromise, with sensationalisation of news stories and half-truths reaching alarming stage. Citing an instance with the Daily Times, a one time leading newspaper in Nigeria, Idowu (2001:15) noted the situation became so bad that: This commercialization at the institutional level is thriving because editors, publishers and owners of the broadcast stations/ print media see the organizations, or their investment, as a profit making venture that should yield the required financial return. Increasingly, commercial-oriented news stories are taking the place of hard news reports. Hanson (2005: 140) is right when he notes that: "reporters and editors are supposed to be concerned not with profits but rather with reporting the news as best they can. But that barrier is coming down, and editors are increasingly looking at their newspaper as a product that should appeal to advertisers as well as readers. Therefore, this work focuses on the effects of news commercialization on the contents of private media with Africa Independent Television (AIT), Lagos and Nigeria Tribune as case study.