Background of the study
The internet has revolutionized and reshaped our society by altering current cultures and introducing new trends and practices to Nigeria. The advancement of internet and other new technology gadgets has resulted in a new path where individuals cover events and disseminate material simply and directly. Thus, the emergence of new media has brought the notion of citizen journalism, which is the act of allowing regular people to have an active role in the process of gathering, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information to the public (Paulussen & Ugille, 2008).
This offers journalism in which everyone is both the source and the receiver; both the encoder and the decoder at the same time (Salawu, 2011). It’s no surprise that Bowman and Willis (2003) dubbed it the “We Media.” Apuke (2016) expands on this concept by defining a “citizen journalist” as a someone who is not a disciplined professional but may report about his or her neighborhood or home zone. As a result, the development of mobile devices, social networks, micro-blogging, and other digital tools has enabled people to publish their own stories and cover their own communities, thereby reducing the monopoly of information gathering and dissemination from traditional media to a more interactive media environment (Tsegyu, 2016). This suggests that consumers may now consume media as wanted and needed, rather than enabling media providers to arrange consuming time and content. This advantage has allowed amateur journalism to acquire some traction in Nigeria. There is evidence that a significant number of people in Nigeria are now actively engaged in citizen journalism, building various websites and blogs to disseminate information.
Village Square (NVS) built in 2003 and the Nairaland, named after the Nigerian currency, launched in 2004. Other online media websites include Africa.net, Sahara Reporters, Naija Community, and Naijapals.com, among others, indicating the advancement of citizen journalism in Nigeria. The usefulness of citizen journalism has been studied. For example, the influence of citizen journalism in the Arab upheaval known as the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement in the United States of America is unavoidable. In Nigeria, for example, citizen journalism played a significant part in the statewide protest over the elimination of gasoline subsidies in 2012. (Odii, 2013). This demonstrates the significance of citizen journalism in our modern times (Noor, 2017), implying that anybody may be a citizen journalist because the Internet and new media technologies provide limitless options to publish and distribute material for public consumption.
Statement of the problem
Journalism has been handled by professionals for years, but improvements in digital technology have given rise to something new in the field, known as citizen journalism. According to Ugwuorah (2019), the participatory aspect of citizen journalism has contributed to eliminating the censoring nature of professional journalistic practice, which determines who should and should not engage in journalism. It has practically turned anybody with a smartphone into a journalist. As a result, it has transformed news consumers into news creators (prosumers), a term popularized by futurologist Alvin Toffler in 1980. While this has been lauded since topics that would not have seen the light of day in traditional media in certain regions of the world are given room on social media. It also raises serious concerns about journalism and ethics. Worse, there is a significant incidence of bogus news on social media, which is largely posted by these citizen journalists.
Students in academic institutions, on the other hand, are referred to as “digital natives” due to their addiction to social media. Their daily access to and time spent on social media make them an important aspect in our study (Apuke & Ayih, 2020).. Though there have been various studies on citizen journalism, this study wants to focus on students’ perceptions of citizen journalism, which is a significant component. ssThis study therefore, aims to fill this gap in literature by examining undergraduates’ perception of citizen journalism as practised today by examining their level of exposure, awareness, their attitude towards the practice and their perception of citizen journalism using University of Ibadan as case study
Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to the perception of citizen journalism and the challenges they face in practicing citizen journalism. Specifically the study seeks to:
1. Ascertain University of Ibadan undergraduates level of exposure to citizen journalism
2. Ascertain University of Ibadan undergraduates level of awareness of citizen journalism practice in Nigeria
3. Find out University of Ibadan undergraduates’ attitude towards citizen journalism practice in Nigeria; ‘
4. To ascertain if University of Ibadan undergraduates have positive perception towards citizen journalism.
HO1: University of Ibadan undergraduates level of awareness of citizen journalism practice in Nigeria is Low.
HO2: University of Ibadan undergraduates have no positive perception towards citizen journalism..
Significance of the study
Findings from this study are expected to bring to knowledge the perception of undergraduates on citizen journalism practice. The study is expected to be of immense help to the various sectors and groups in Nigeria, which includes the government, professional and amateur journalists, mass communication students, media scholars, media organizations and the citizens at large.From the academic angle, this study will provide additional knowledge to existing literature on citizen journalism and its dominance in the society which is the” information society”. The study is expected to provide awareness on some issues that will boost the zeal of media scholars, mass communication researchers, political researchers and the law enforcement to embark on further research on this topic or related topics.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study borders on the perception of citizen journalism and the challenges they face in practicing citizen journalism. The study will examine undergraduates level of exposure, awareness, their attitude towards and their perception of citizen journalism. The study is however delimited University of Ibadan in Oyo State.
Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited as few undergraduates of University of Ibadan were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other Universities. However, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
Definition of Terms
Journalism: Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on current events based on facts and supported with proof or evidence.
Citizen Journalism: Citizen journalism, also known as collaborative media, participatory journalism or street journalism, is based upon public citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.
Perception : Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information.