JOURNALISM IN THE PAST

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0      INTRODUCTION

1.0.1   HISTORY OF JOURNALISM

            The advent of journalism or the development of the gathering and transmitting of news started long ago. This advent has brought about steady increase of the scope of news available to us and the speed with which it is transmitted.

            Newspapers have always been the primary medium of journalism since 1700, with magazine added in the 18th century, radio and television in the 20th century and the internet in the 21st century.

            Journalism in the first half of the 18th century produced many great writers and editors such as Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, joseph Addison, Richard Steele, Henry Fielding and Samuel Johnson. They edited newspapers or wrote essays for the popular press on topical issues. Their materials were entertaining and informative and was met with an insatiable demand from ordinary citizens of the middle class, who were beginning to participate in the flow of ideas and news.

            The newspaper was becoming so popular that publishers began to print daily issues. The first daily newspaper in the world was the DAILY COURANT, established by Samuel Buckley in 1702 on the streets of London. The newspaper strictly restricted itself to the publication of news and facts without opinion pieces and was able to avoid political interference through raising revenue by selling advertising space in its columns.

1.0.2   CONCEPT OF JOURNALISM

            Journalism is gathering, processing and dissemination of news and information related to news, to an audience.

            The word applies to the method of inquiring for news the literacy style which is used to disseminate it. The media that journalism uses vary diversely and include: content published via newspapers and magazine (print), television and radio (broad cast), and their digital media version- news website and applications.

            In modern society, the news media is the chief purveyor of information and opinion about public affairs journalism, however, is not always confined to the news media or to news itself, as journalistic communication may find its way into broader forms of expression, including literature and cinema. In some nations, the news media is controlled by government intervention and is not a fully independent body.

            In a democratic society, however, access to free information plays a central role in creating a system of checks and balance, and in distributing power equally amongst government, businesses, individuals and other social entities. Access to verifiable information gathered by independent media sources which adhere to journalistic standards, can also be of service to ordinary citizens, by empowering them with the tools they need in order to participate in the political process.

            The role and status of journalism, along with that of the mass media has undergone profound changes over the last two decades with the advent of digital technology and publication of news on the internet. This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels as people increasingly consume news through e readers, smart phones and other electronics devices, challenging news organisations to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise on the content in which they publish news print.

1.1      OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

            This study is aimed at comparing the way journalism is being practised in the past and how journalists carry out their duties today. The objectives include:

  1. To view the impacts of the kind of journalism practised in the past
  2. To compare the means of gathering and processing news in the past and the means used in this present time
  3. To discover the hidden secrets of a successful journalism
  4. To broaden over knowledge on the power of information and the pen ( pen is mightier than the sword) especially its role in gaining our independence in Nigeria
  5. Also, to pin point the lapses and faults in our today’s journalism

1.2      PROBLEMS IDENTIFICATION

            It has been detected that journalism today has not been as effective as the time past where we had fearless reporters who were not afraid of death and not intimidated by circumstances and threat but delighted in giving the audience facts in its details.

            The study therefore pin points the problems observed in the nowadays practice of journalism.

  1. The vital ethics of journalism has been neglected
  2. Laziness of modern journalists in going far to gather their news stories.
  3. Lack of investigative journalists in our today society who are to serve as watch dog
  4. Insufficient funds and support from media organisation and the public.
  5. Bribery And corruption that has now penetrated into the field of journalism

1.3      HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY

            The following hypothesises are therefore put forward for test by in the cause of the study.

  1. The standard of the today journalism does not meet the standard of the time past journalism
  2. Changes in the way our present day of journalist think and reason.
  3. Knowing what makes up a time and unbiased journalism
  4. How investigative journalism and sanity return to the field.

1.4      SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY

            The focus of the research is centred on the practice of journalism in the ancient days compared to the one practised nowadays, especially journalism before independence using a pre- independence newspaper as a case study.

            The scope of the study further comprises the effectiveness of journalism in the development of the society. It continuous on the essential work of a journalist as a watch dog for the society and how respectable the profession. Journalism is this study uses the Nnamdi Azikwe’s West African pilot newspaper.

1.5      HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF WEST AFRICAN PILOT

            The West African pilot was a newspaper launched in Nigeria by Nnamdi Azikwe in 1937 dedicated to fighting for independence from British colonial rule.

            When the paper was launched its quality and professionalism launched it a top other newspaper of the period which generally pandered to colonial authorities or ethnocentric interests. The most prominent newspaper that lost circulation as a result was the Nigerian daily times originally owned by the mirror group of London. The newspaper’s lively mix of radical politics and gossip plus a woman’s page highly popular.

            The paper played a key role in the spread of racial consciousness and nationalistic ideas in the interior of Nigeria. Its motto was “SHOW THE LIGHT AND THE PEOPLE WILL FIND THE WAY”. Azikwe personally edited the West African pilot from 1937 to 1947. In the 1940s Anthony Enahoro was an associate editor of the paper including Abdul Karim Disu who became an associate editor in 1955.

            By the 1960s, although the paper was circulated throughout the country it was particularly strong in the east. In 1963, the major political parties proposed a “preventative detention act” which would have allowed indefinite detention without trial. The West African pilot led the outcry against this suggestion, which was dropped. However, the next year the newspaper amendment act was passed allowing punishment for reporting events that the authorities considered false.             The West African pilot folded up in 1967 following the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970). At the end of the war, there were two attempt to resuscitate the newspaper, both of which failed. The last attempt (1993) was promoted by a group or Azikwe political and professional allies, including Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, Chief Matthew T. Mbu and Chief Duro Dnabule who was then spokesman for military President, Ibrahim Babagida but could not survive the skyrocketing printing material costs after the country was embroiled in a violent election dispute over Chief Moshood Abiola’s victory on the presidential elections of that year.

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