Assessment of Newspaper Advocacy for Rural Development and Environmental Education in Nigeria
AbstractThis study investigated the extent to which the print media, and particularly the newspapers, faced the challenge of informing, educating and championing the rights of the people in rural development and environmental education in 2006. It analyzed five leading national newspapers for a period of twelve months to ascertain their level of coverage and reportage of environmental and rural development information and specialty events. Rural development news coverage was highest (31.48%) in the fourth quarter, and least in the third quarter (17.79%) of the year. Sixty nine percent of rural development information/news appeared as features, while others were presented as editorials (13.04%), advertorials (9.27%) and pictorials (8.38%). The Sun newspapers (23.65%) could easily pass as the best print medium in reporting environmental and rural development news, followed by The Punch (22.5%) and The Champion (21.3%) newspapers. The Sun newspapers also exhibited consistent leadership in promoting activities in the health and population / family planning sub-sectors, while The Champion disseminated more information on rural infrastructures and environmental matters. Viewed from the perspective of editor’s enhanced academic background, the rising educational profile of members of the public and the synergy between environment, health and rural development, newspapers need to improve on their advocacy role in order to enhance their credibility as promoters of issues of public interest. Key words: Print media, Content analysis, Advocacy journalism, Rural development, Environmental management
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