Monthly Archives: December 2012

CHALLENGES OF CITIZEN JOURNALISM IN KADUNA STATE

The media and communications landscape has been transformed in ways that make it possible for envisioning a more engaged citizen participation in journalism. The spread of Internet and mobile telephony has also led to participation in citizen journalism in Africa. Citizen Journalism 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.

In Nigeria, citizen journalism is on the increase. More Nigerians are now blogging on the internet, Nigerian bloggers, blog on different areas of interests. Their sites offer alternative source of news and information to citizens. However, the practices of blogging are not without challenges. To determine the challenges confronting internet bloggers in Nigeria, this researcher undertook a convenience sampling of opinions from fifteen bloggers on challenges confronting bloggers in their practice in Kaduna state, which is a region in Nigeria. Analyses of respondents’ responses on the issue revealed the following as some of the challenges they face:

(i) Internet Access:
All respondents identified this to be a great challenge to them. They indicated that acquiring data subscription for use on personal internet wireless modems to enable them go on line cost much. Some indicated that because they sometimes need to leave town for other personal issues and not all areas of the state have access to internet connection offered by telecommunication companies servicing the state, they cannot conveniently update their web pages on the go. Close to that is the poor internet connection. Some stated that poor service delivery by telecommunication companies they depend on for internet connection affects their blogging activities as they are often faced with constant internet connection disruptions. Most of the respondents stated that these problems affected their ability to be on line often.

(ii) Time to update content:
All the respondents stated that they struggle to devout time to blogging activities due to other personal activities that also need to give time to. Some indicated that they have go to work so as to earn a living. Many of them do not manage their blogs with other persons, so bear the sole responsibility of updating their blogs alone. The respondents indicated that due to the time management challenge, their blogs suffer as sometimes the blogs are not updated with contents for days and even weeks. The respondents stated that this affected their ability to be dependable as sources of information to their audiences.

(iii) Creating content:
Most respondents stated that generating content and finding new contents for their blogs is a constant challenge. Some respondents stated due to this, they many times, re-blog contents from other news blogs or other news websites. Due to many of the respondents are not journalists by profession, they barely find time to go after news stories. A study of some of the news blogs showed that many of them had more of news commentaries and feature articles. The respondents stated that as a result of this, members of their audiences are forced to find alternative other sources of information.

(iv) Problem of power supply:
All respondents identified this as the greatest challenge they had to contend with as citizen journalists in the state. They stated that the problem of constant power disruptions is was de-incentive to the practice of Citizen Journalism in the state. Some respondents stated that sometimes due to power disruptions, they were not able to go on-line on their personal computers for days. This also hindered their ability to continually update contents on their blogs as often as they would have wished.

(v) Access to information:
Many of the bloggers especially those that were not journalists by profession stated that getting first hand access to information on news stories or events that occur outside their immediate environment was difficult for them as they did not have the financial resource or time to cover such news event or get more information on such news event or other public issues. As a result of this they resort to monitoring coverage of such issues from major national on line news out lets and other blogs that have the resources and access to such information. Many of the respondents indicated that issues, they at times reported, lacked depth and freshness because the information they were reporting had already been made available by other major news outlets, especially on events out the immediate locality of the respondents.

(vi) Verifying information:
Some of the respondents stated that apart from news events that occur within their immediate environment whose information they can easily verify before publishing them on line; they at times find it very difficult to thoroughly verify information on news events outside their immediate environment before publishing due to constraint of distance and resources. The best they could was to monitor other on line news websites that they considered as reputable sources of information and re-blogged news contents from them. The respondents also sated that it was also difficult for them to cross check facts from these major news sources and they might likely to end up publishing wrong or incorrect information.

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