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Journalism and conventional journalism

11 September 2013, 10:33 Abdu Abdullahi

According to Oseni, development journalism posits that the relevance and usefulness of  media is a function of the extent to which they are able to contribute to the socio-economic development of the society in which they operate.                               

In contrast to development journalism is the conventional journalism which is currently the prevailing trend.Unlike development journalism  which focuses on development issues,the conventional style is about the service of power.It  also emphasises unusual occurences which mainly entertain and inform the public.              

Rural development should form a substancial portion of media coverage because majority of the people live and find their livelihood in the rural areas.Moreover,there is a cluster of new orthodox economic arguments for giving priority to rural and particularly agricultural development.In this case,conventional journalism is not reaching the rural areas with relevant and clear information.                        

Some members of the audience may find development news as not interesting and exciting as breaking news or sports news.The fact remains that development journalism should serve as a catalyst for Nigeria's development.Instead of writing about people as subjects,actors,agents as championed by conventional journalism,development journalism is concerned with people as objects or victims with needs deficits.Sadly,most media organs in Nigeria have political, economic, sports, entertainment desks but few have development desk,meaning that development issues are marginalised.                      

While the country degenerates into a theater of poverty,corruption,diseases,falling standard of education,etc.,most media houses are striving for the political dominance of their owners.These include Muktar's Freedom Radio,Kalu's the Sun,Ibori's the Independent,etc.These media channels try to project the interests of their owners leading to ethnic,religous,sectional polarization and political antagonism.Consequently,fundamental issues at stake boardering on health,teenage illegal pregnancies,poverty etc. are relegated to the background.                  

What should be of primary concern to the journalist is to unravel the threads of development drama.In essence, development journalism gives individuals a voice to articulate alternative visions of society. The development journalism tells more than just news.It relates to the primary,secondary and tertiary needs of a country's population.Instead of focussing on events,development journalists talk with the people in communities. They spend more time and efforts on covering process news.                     

Thus,the media ought to represent key tools for involving local communities and raising awareness at all levels.Media should be an open platform for debates,a voice for the voiceless and a watch dog in decision making.There is
 no denying the fact that media reportage in Nigeria is still limited in rural areas.                         

A critic of Nigeria's conventional journalism has this to say,"Instead of serving as an important processor and communicator of values,the media in Nigeria are predominantly agents of a one way ideological indoctrination meant to reinforce existing patterns of relations.On the other hand,Babatunde Folarin explains that investigative development journalism focuses on critical questioning and evaluation of the usefulness of development projects and the efficiency of control by the authorities concerned.       

Between development journalism and conventional journalism stands the concept of national interest.While the development journalist aspires for meeting the challenges of development,the conventional journalist strives for breaking news.

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