THE EFFECT OF MEDIA OWNERSHIP IN GATE KEEPING(A CASE STUDY OF FEDERAL RADIOCORPORATION OF NIGERIA (FRCN), ENUGU)
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This study of Gate-Keeping and How Media Ownership affects it Follows The Tradition of lewin (1947), white (1950) and swider (1967). It will reveal that as a concept, gate-keeping hold great promise in African mass communication research. Survey research method will be used to collect data from 25 senior reporters and editors at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Enugu. The research will reveal that corporate philosophies and policies of media organizations affect gatekeeping operations without distinction as to whether the media organization will privately owned or government owned. Also, journalists working in governor owned media organizations considered ownership factors to some extent in their reporting. And that prejudice and personal preferences were played down considerably by the journalists.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
1.3 Objective of the Study
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Research Hypothesis
1.7 Scope/Limitation of the Study
1.8 Conceptual and Operational Definition
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 What is Gakekeeping
2.3 Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Enugu
3.0 Research Methodology
3.1 Secondary Sources
3.2 Population of the Study
3.3 Sample Size and Techniques
3.4 Data Analysis / Statistical Technique
4.0 Data Presentation and Analysis of Data
4.1 Data Analysis
4.2 Test of Hypothesis
4.3 Summary of Findings
5.1 Recommendations and Conclusions
5.3 Recommendation for Further Study
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
A large proportion of mass communication research is concerned with the contents of the media and the characteristics structure of media institutions. Such research concerns have found eloquent expression in dominant and popular mass communication theories such as agenda setting (mcComb and Shaw 1972), uses and gratifications (Blumler and Katz 1974) media imperialism (Fejes 1981) and knowledge –gap (Tichenor et al 1970, and Garziano 1983). A growing research concern among communication scholars is not so much about content and structure, as about the journalists who determine the content, in the context of the structure. This concern has found expression in the theory of gatekeepintg which deals with individual journalist decisions rather than with the news stories, groups of people within media institutions, or news organizations.
The term gatekeeping was first used in a research context by the Austrian Psychologist kurt Lewin (1947) who was primarily concerned with producing desirable social changes in food habits by controlling the type of food that passed through the various gates or portals existing between the farm and the family table. Lewin aptly noted that the gates were governed either by impartial rules or by gatekeepers, who are individuals or groups charged with the responsibility of deciding what passes, and what is denied entry. He extraplated the metaphor of the food gates to news gathering and dissemination. In essence, a news gatekeeper is whoever governs the journey of news items in the communication channel.
In a typical broadcast organization, gatekeepers wopuld comprise of the reporter, the chief editor, conctroller of news, manager news and the production editor. These group of persons carefully screen news items in order to arrive at a news item that is of high quality and desirable to the public. The Federal Radio Corporation, Enugu (FRCN)( has the above mentioned gatekeepers, even though the positions might assume different names in other media organizations. These group of people will have to work with other gatekeepers such as the typist and proof readers to determine what is publishable as news.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The mass media is a medium for shaping the thinking, ideology and idiosyncrasy of the people. It serves as a means of educating and enlightening the people, influencing their decisions and choices. Hence, the need to modify the programmes and news that are air in the mass media.
The gatekeepers of news not only tries to identify but also keep the public informed by sieving the news from non-news and selecting major events in the interest of his audience. The need for gatekeepers to always have the interest of their audience in mind in the process of selecting news or programme was emphasized by Douglas (1985). He stated that “the visual compositions which pleases the makers may not be as acceptable to view as it is commonly assumed”. Thus, the audience or end users needs to make their choice of what they expose themselves to through selective exposure.
The media in modern times have turned into a means for personal interest and political propaganda. It also served as a potential tool in the hands of the government for promoting the ideologies of those individuals in power and a medium for fighting political enemies. This is not good for the audience, and shows the need for gatekeepers who determine what the audience saw and heard from the media. That was why White (1964) remarked that “the editor in his position as a gatekeeper sees to it that the community shall hear as fact only those events which the newsman believes to be true”.
As journalism began to expand its scope, they (media) began to engage more hands in the processing and governing of news travel. The audience was also given what they had selected in the midst of so many news which the media considered news-worthy based on certain criteria’s.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to determine the effect of media ownership in gatekeeping. The following minor objectives will help in achieving the main objective:
1) To determine the effect of pattern of media ownership on gatekeeping functions.
2) To determine why media organizations engage in gatekeeping.
3) To make recommendations on ways to enhance the gatekeeping process in media houses.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The process of gatekeeping differs based on the type of ownership of mass media. This implies that there is disparity between gatekeeping in privately owned media and those owned and managed by the public. The difference is based on power structure and control in the area of decision making in media organizations.
This study seeks to examine the effect of media ownership in gatekeeping with specific reference to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Enugu which is a public media organization. Determining such effect will help in bridging the gap between gatekeeping in publicly owned media and privately owned media. It will also show the type of effect media ownership has on gatekeeping, and make appropriate recommendations to address any negative effect.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The objectives of this study will lead to the following questions which this research will answer:
- Does the pattern of ownership affect gatekeeping functions?
- Why do media organizations engage in gate keeping?
- What measures can be taken to enhance gate keeping processes in media organizations?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following null and alternate hypothesis were developed for this study:
H0: Media ownership has no significant effect on gate keeping.
H1: Media ownership has a significant effect on gate keeping.
1.8 CONCEPTUAL AND OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
Conceptual definition: change caused by something or somebody.
Operational definition: Change caused by media ownership on gatekeeping.
Conceptual definition: Means of getting information or entertainment.
Operational definition: The main ways that large number of people receive information like television, radio, newspaper, bill board etc.
Conceptual definition: To have or be in possession of something.
Operational definition: To have custody over or own a media organization.
Conceptual definition: To take charge of monitoring what or who comes in and goes out.
Operational definition: To sieve news or information coming into a media before it gets to the public.