Table of Contents
HISTORY OF NEWSPAPER IN GHANA
INTERNET IN GHANA
INTERNET PROVIDERS IN GHANA
DIGITAL MEDIA IN GHANA AND NEWSPAPERS
HOW INTRODUCTION OF ONLINE NEWS PORTALS AFFECT NEWSPAPERS
USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY
CATEGORIES OF USES AND GRATIFICATIONS
RESEARCH APPROACH AND DESIGN
POPULATION AND SAMPLE SIZE
QUESTIONNAIRE CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN
METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS
DATA PRESESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS
DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The invention of the World Wide Web in the last decade has facilitated variety of communication and information sharing across the globe. Information can now be easily accessed wherever there is internet connection. This invention has made information sharing very personal, convenient and easy. The growing trend of this new communication has facilitated the establishment of a medium through which news can be accessed without the purchase of a hardcopy newspaper or radio or television. As a result of this medium, almost all television and radio stations as well as hardcopy newspapers have an online platform to publish the same content in their medium. Could the introduction of the internet and online news portals be complimenting the traditional media or the portals are making these traditional media unpopular? That is exactly what the study sought to find: Impact of online news portals on the patronage of newspapers in Ghana.
Data was collected in a survey using self-administered questionnaire with 80 respondents (students) from the African University College of Communication (AUCC) in Accra. Respondents from AUCC were used for the study because communication students are active users of news contents from different media and future would - be content media creators. All levels and sexes of students were considered without priority to a specific sex or level to allow diversity of responses. The use of content by respondents is dependent on the interests and needs respondents seek to satisfy. This was the reason why Harold Laswell’s Uses and Gratification theory was used as used as the main theoretical framework for the study.
The findings of the study indicated that online news portals directly have an impact on the patronage of newspapers in Ghana but have not totally displaced newspapers. This is because while most respondents heavily depended on online news portals for information and majority felt satisfied, few others relied on newspapers for specific information such as job advertisements.
The findings also indicated that online news portals have become a major news medium among communication students from AUCC with myjoyonline.com being the most accessed portal. This finding also revealed that online news portals will replace hardcopy newspaper in the future only if specific information found in newspapers today are found on the news portals in the future.
IMPACT OF ONLINE NEWS PORTALS ON THE PATRONAGE OF NEWSPAPERS IN GHANA
Governments, business organisations and people around the world have over the years depended mostly on newspapers for information, education and entertainment to inform their thoughts and decision-making process. But this 21st century is characterised with a new way of information circulation. The invention of online news portals, popularly called news websites have changed the traditional trend of information circulation. This study seeks to find out how the newspaper industry in Ghana has been faring in terms of patronage since the introduction of online news portals.
Newspapers currently coexist with a variety of equally educative and informative media platforms like radio, television, magazines and the internet. While each of these media serves basically the same purpose, newspapers and magazines provide information in hardcopy which can be kept for future reference. Newspapers are portable and makes it easier to read at one’s own pace and time as compared to radio and television. Could these advantages be the reason why Ghanaians patronise newspapers irrespective of the advent of online news portals, or Ghanaians are oblivious of the convenience of newspaper usage and have relied solely on the internet for information.
HISTORY OF NEWSPAPER IN GHANA
Newspapers in Ghana have played key roles in political discourse, national identity, and culture. Emerging in the nineteenth century, the news media have given voice to popular campaigns for independence, national unity, development, and democracy throughout the twentieth century, establishing a distinguished history of political activism for Ghanaian media.
The first newspaper, The Gold Coast Gazette and Commercial Intelligencer, was published from 1822-25 by Sir Charles MacCarthy, governor of the British Gold Coast settlement. As a semi-official organ of the colonial government, the central goal of this Cape Coast newspaper was to provide information to European merchants and civil servants in the colony. With the growing number of mission-educated Africans in the Gold Coast, the newspaper also aimed at promoting literacy, encouraging rural development, and suppressing the political aspirations of this class of native elites by securing their loyalty and conformity with the colonial system. The appropriation of print media by local African elites began in mid-century with the publication of The Accra Herald by Charles Bannerman. Though handwritten newspaper, Accra Herald endured for 16 years. The success of Bannerman's newspaper stimulated the proliferation of African-owned newspapers in the late nineteenth century, among them were the Gold Coast Times, Western Echo, Gold Coast Assize, Gold Coast News, Gold Coast Aborigines, Gold Coast Chronicle, Gold Coast People, Gold Coast Independent, and Gold Coast Express.
Historians of the Gold Coast press explain that indigenous enthusiasm for newspapers in terms of an overall strategy by native elites was on the rise to gain political power. The early Gold Coast weeklies were critical of the colonial government, denouncing specific officials and opposing policies. While the editorial positions of these papers expressed an adversarial stance, the erudite English and ostentatious vocabulary so common to journalism in this period indicates a more complex and decreased political desire to establish an exclusive class identity as African elites while striking up a gentlemanly conversation with British officials over conditions in the colony. With occasional exceptions, the British adopted a comparatively tolerant approach to the local press in the Gold Coast, as in other non-settler colonies, colonial territories that had no substantial population of European settlers. Discussing British policy in non-settler colonies, author Gunilla Faringer points out in Press Freedom in Africa that "the colonizers were more concerned with establishing trade bases and making a profit than with exercising political domination."
In 1948, a political activist Dr. Kwame Nkrumah started The Accra Evening News, a publication stating the views of the Convention People's Party (CPP). Largely written by party officials, this inflammatory newspaper incessantly repeated the popular demand for "Self-government Now!" while launching angry attacks against the colonial government. In contrast, the London Daily Mirror Group, headed by British newspaper magnate Cecil King, established The Daily Graphic in 1950. The Graphic sought to maintain a policy of political neutrality, emphasizing objective reporting by local African reporters. With its Western origin, the Daily Graphic sought to position itself as the most professional newspaper in the Gold Coast at the time.
Lead by the anticolonial press and Nkrumah's CPP, Ghana achieved independence in 1957, becoming the first colony in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from the British and win political autonomy. As the leader of independent Ghana, Nkrumah became president in 1960 when a new constitution established the nation as a republic. At independence, four newspapers were circulating in Ghana; within a few years Nkrumah had come to dominate them all. Crafting an African form of socialism, Nkrumah saw media as an instrument of state authority, using newspapers as propaganda tools to build national unity and popular support for the ambitious development projects of the new government. Influenced by Lenin, Nkrumah orchestrated a state information apparatus through a hierarchical network of institutions, including the Ministry of Information, Ghana News Agency, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, and his own press, Guinea Press Ltd. that published two daily newspapers, one free weekly, and several specialized publications.
In 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown by a military coup lead by the National Liberation Council (NLC). In contrast to state domination under Nkrumah, the NLC took a more libertarian approach to the news media: releasing independent journalists from prison, closing down the more blatant instruments of state propaganda, and lifting forms of censorship and bans on foreign journalists. However, most media were then owned by the state and therefore obliged to change their editorial positions overnight, extolling the virtues of Nkrumah and African socialism one day, then lambasting the violence and corruption of his regime the next. While the president of the NLC publicly encouraged "constructive" criticism and the free flow of information, the main newspapers continued to experience indirect forms of state patronage and influence.
In 1992, Ghana returned to democratic rule with the ratification of a new constitution. Rawlings was twice elected President, first in 1992 and then again in 1996. In the democratic dispensation, Rawlings lifted the newspaper licensing law, allowing for the reemergence of the private press in the early 1990s. Newspapers such as The Independent, the Ghanaian Chronicle, The Free Press, and The Statesman gave voice to the angry opposition silenced in years of repression, prompting Rawlings to repeatedly denounce the private media as politically irresponsible and selfishly motivated by profit. Throughout the 1990s, the two state dailies, Ghanaian Times and Daily Graphic, continued to represent the interests of the ruling-party NDC government. In the 1996 presidential campaign, the premier state paper, the Daily Graphic, regularly featured a front-page story celebrating the popu-list agenda of the state, accompanied by a large color photograph depicting the stately figure of Rawlings wielding a pickaxe or driving a bulldozer to launch a development project. These flattering portrayals were often countered in the private press by accusations of drug abuse and violent authoritarianism, featuring older photographs of a militant young Rawlings dressed in fatigues and mirrored sunglasses.
The state currently funds two daily newspapers and two weekly entertainment papers: Daily Graphic, Mirror, Ghanaian Times and Weekly Spectator. As a major communication tool in political discourses and national unity in the pre – colonial and post-colonial eras, newspapers have been very useful, popular and well patronized. Do newspapers today have the same patronage and popularity as before? Or have been taken over by the new trend of medium, news websites.
INTERNET IN GHANA
Ghana was the first African country to be connected to the internet in 1994 according to Ghana Guide. Nowadays, the internet is quickly spreading around the country. In 2010, about 5% of the population had internet, which increased to 10% in 2011. These figures are growing rapidly, with the introduction of new technology, and government support. There were nearly 1 million internet users in Ghana in 2009. Ghana is expanding its wireless network which is now an important market segment, as the internet spreads throughout the Ghanaian population and culture. Ghana offers a fairly limited access to 3G networks in the main cities such as Accra, Cape Coast and Kumasi and recently introduction of 4G, but for basic internet connections, there are more than 140 ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in Ghana. Even as the market develops rapidly, internet access remains quite limited in some communities. As a result, internet cannot be accessed in all communities in Ghana. Such communities depend on newspaper, radio or television as sources of information.
INTERNET PROVIDERS IN GHANA
There are several main internet providers in Ghana. The largest is NCS (Network Computer Systems), founded in 1988, it was the first one to provide internet in Ghana. There is also Internet Ghana and Africa Online (the largest ISP in Africa). One has to ensure that internet access is available in the area or building in which the service request is being. As internet access is still quite rare, it can appear quite expensive. The monthly fee can vary between US$85 and US$490 (€65 - €370).You may be able to subscribe to an internet service directly through a local agency, especially if you are moving to one of the main cities. Internet is not available in all of the countryside and is of varying quality, but is in general accessible. It is therefore advised to research information about the availability of internet before you move to a new location. To gain internet access, there are also internet cafes. Some provide access with a higher quality than normal, and so this visiting these cafes may be a good option if you are not willing to sign a contract. Vodafone and other service providers even have their own internet cafés, located mainly in Accra, but also in other Ghanaian cities.
DIGITAL MEDIA IN GHANA AND NEWSPAPERS
The Internet first opened to commercial interests in 1988, but it took a few years for the network to gain public recognition and it was only in the late 1990’s when the Internet began to take shape as the ‘World Wide Web’ we know it to be. The Internet has increased competition with the newspaper and revised the way news is distributed. As a result, newspapers have been forced to integrate with the Web and now approximately 80% of newspaper publishers in Ghana have integrated web and print operations as well as radio and television stations.
The advent and development of the radio in the 1920s and television in 1940s have all threatened the dominance of newspapers, Papst (2007). Regardless of the influx of these broadcast media, the newspaper has managed to remain the major source of well detailed information from politics to health, education, sanitation, etc. However, Papst (2007) has indicated that the invasion of the internet as a multi-purpose source of information has become the greatest challenge and threat to newspapers.
The introduction of television in the twentieth century 1920s was warmly embraced by the youth. This is no different from online news portals. What is so powerful about the online media is the multi-functional tasks they serve. It is with this diverse roles performed by online news portals that the Ghana Online News Agencies (GhONAS 2015) conducted a survey to find out the impact the introduction of this new media has on traditional media. The report, compiled by Africa’s premier branding and rating agency, Centre for Brand Development (CbD) indicates that a lot of Ghanaians are embracing news content from the internet at the neglect of the traditional media. The data gathered suggests that the online news media has taken over traditional media in Ghana, as most respondents (69%) indicated they heavily rely on news websites for their daily news and information than radio (17%), television (4%) and newspaper (2%). According to report, Ghanaians are gradually abandoning the patronage of newspapers and shifted their attention to news content on the internet
The trend is still ongoing and the likelihood of the online news portals collapsing the print media is not yet certain. This is the reason the study seeks to find out the impact online news portals have on newspaper patronage in Ghana.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The introduction of internet and news websites in Ghana have been embraced by many who spend a lot of time online. This new technology in the media landscape has compelled many newspapers to have similar content online to meet the demands of readers who appreciate the use of internet. The dissemination of news content through newspapers and similar content displayed on news websites have become very common among most newspaper industries. Aside this inclusion, there are also many independent news websites which serve basically the same function as newspapers, and even with that, readers have options to choose what to read.
News websites and newspapers currently coexist in the media fraternity providing information to the public. Has the existence of these two-media threatened each other? Has the introduction of news websites and the inclusion of these websites in the dissemination of news of newspapers complemented the newspaper activities? Or news websites are making newspapers unpopular since these two media are competing for audience. Is the content read online from the audience perspective affecting the reading patterns of printed newspapers? In other words, do news websites have any impact on the patronage of newspapers in Ghana? This study therefore seeks to answer all these questions
1. Are students of AUCC abandoning newspapers for online news portals?
2. Which online news portals are mostly accessed by students of AUCC and why?
3. Does news accessed from these portals meet the needs of AUCC students?
4. Would students of AUCC prefer to read news from online news portals to newspapers or prefer to read news from newspapers to news from online news portals?
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Considering the fast pace at which technology, especially internet has become a core magnet around which human lives revolve, it is paramount to investigate not only the existing media pattern of patronage but also the new trend of media and information circulation. With the rise of internet usage and online news websites in today’s society in the midst of the traditional media, especially newspapers, it is important for not only journalists but also audience of news content to understand the impact this new technology has on the patronage of newspapers in Ghana.
Chapter one of my study covers the introduction, background of the study statement of problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of study and expectation. Chapter two (literature review stage) will comprise theoretical framework and review of literature. The third chapter will contain the research method and design; this will include population, sample and the sampling technique. Chapter four will capture data analysis and interpretation, the last chapter will focus on conclusion and recommendation.
- Quote paper
- Mavis Boamah (Author), 2015, Impact of online newsportals on the patronage of newspapers in Ghana, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/424099