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Credibility within the media industry

19 April 2016, 13:39 Jamila Mohammed

The challenge of the news media even in the face of the relentless march of globalization is the same challenge that has always confronted them. This is the challenge of providing accurate and reliable information.

Mistakes are the enemy of credibility.

Good reporters spend a great deal of time and effort making sure the facts they report are correct, that the quotes they use are accurate and that the overall story is a reflection of "the truth" and is objective as possible. For a medium to become acceptable to its consumers credibility becomes a key factor.

This is given credence by Schweiger (2000) as he points out that credibility becomes “an important heuristic for content selection”. In addition to its influence on the journalistic success of a medium, credibility also contributes in no small measure to the commercial success of the media. In Nigeria for instance, there is stiff competition among the electronic media in the area of newscasts.

This competition can only be won by those stations who regard credibility as the first rule. In other words, it should serve a station in good stead if its listeners or viewers do not have to wait for another medium to make up their minds whether or not to believe a news items, which they have received through it.

Credibility is a major news value and various scholars and researchers have used a variety of measures and statistical procedures to foster an understanding of media credibility.

The idea of creating a set of credibility standards is gradually becoming a recurring decimal in the media world. In one instance, it grew out of a panel discussion at a 1998 conference sponsored by the project for Excellence in Journalism and Pew Charitable Trusts, though the major concern of the conference was on online news or news on the web the proceedings and the outcome reflect the fact that the postulations on the issue of credibility can be universally applied.

In a similar vein, a recent news media credibility assessment study conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in New Delhi showed that though viewer ship of television news channels has gone up “credibility of their hastily put together news bulletins has not”. Despite the diversity of scales, the various scale items in measuring news credibility developed by media researchers are highly similar and measure the same underlying dimensions.

These scale items generally point at trustworthiness, fairness, accuracy and believability as key elements in the process. There has been this debate about the perception of media credibility.

Concerns in the newspaper industry, about the rising number of people turning to radio for news, and then about the number relying on television made a rising studies of the credibility of a medium (Johnson and Kaye, 2004).

A study in America finds that Americans consider television and daily newspapers the most credible sources of news and information. Hopkins (2008).

It is therefore imperative to find the perception of news media credibility by students’ of mass Communication University of Maiduguri. The media has in recent times been battling with credibility problem which seems to have been caused by the perceive failure of media men to cross check their facts before going to press.

Such scenario has led to the presentation of reports which are later found to be false. A case in point was when Late Nnamdi Azikiwe had his obituary read on NTA network news even while he was still alive. Needless to say is also the one involving Channels television which presented a story on the planned resignation of Late President Yar Adua by relying on a press release from News Agency of Nigeria website. Such incident may have been responsible for public perception of the media negatively.

Such incidences no doubt undermines the perceive credibility of the media across Nigeria. This seems to have been captured by Oduyela (2005) when he said, there are editors who specialize in blackmailing, either subtle or direct.

How do you expect a Managing Editor of a magazine who goes begging for money from a State governor to complete the building of his house to report the corrupt practices of that State governor? There are cases of these high-ranking editors traveling from their stations to the east and returning to Lagos with Ghana-Must-Go bags full of Naira notes.

These submissions by Oduyela present a picture of editors who continue to demean the media by creating credibility problem for the media. This was further reinforce by Oduyela who said, we practice fairness in journalism, where you give other person write of reply to whatever you publish or write about them. This is a golden rule in journalism, it gives you as a journalist respect, integrity and credibility, but this is not the rule as far as Nigeria world publisher is concerned.

Olatunji Dare writing on 126 years of Nigerian press in Newswatch special edition of October, 1985 also reechoes this position when he noted that “between 1979 and 1983, many a journalist sold his souls and his craft to the highest political bidder or indeed to anyone who put up the bid”.

This implies that the media is a sell out Dennis (1989) maintains that three-fourths of all adults in America have some problem with the credibility of the media and they question newspapers as much as they question television. He also said, mention the news media to most members of the public and they talk about bias, sensationalism, invasion of privacy, and a preoccupation with bad news.

This implies that the media is a sell out this therefore informed the need to find out the perception of news media credibility of television and newspaper by mass communication students of University of Maiduguri.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has assured journalists that his administration would uphold the freedom of the press, in order to deepen the nation’s democracy. President Buhari made the promise through his Senior Special Adviser on Media, Mr Femi Adesina, at the triennial National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abuja. The President urged the media to partner with his administration for national development.

The conference was held to elect new leaders that will run the affairs of the union for the next three years but before the commencement of the election proper, dignitaries at the conference took turns to comment on the state of the Nigerian media.

The credibility ascribed to a message because of the perceived trustworthiness and expertise of the individual, group or organization communicating the message has been conceptualized as source credibility.

Source credibility studies seek to identify which information sources are believed and the characteristics of the sources that lead to greater believability Scholars have identified several dimensions of source credibility.

Hovland and his colleagues (1953) concluded that trustworthiness and expertise are the two dimensions of source credibility

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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