1.1 Background of the Study
Social media is an important means of communication in the 21st century. It is a means that employs mobile and web based technology to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and community share, co-create, discuss and modify user generated content. Driving factors for its adoption include the progressively ubiquitous access, convenience, functionality, and flexibility of social technologies.
More than 50% of Nigerians now get their daily news from more than one source, using an average of four to six platforms (Balogun et al., 2010). Increasingly, those platforms are accessed through lightweight mobile devices such as tablet computers and cell phones, making the incorporation of digital news a pivotal component of today’s more successful news organizations. Many of those organizations have welcomed social media as portals of news gathering, processing, and distributing information, developing presences on Facebook and Twitter that allow them to stay plugged in to the changing needs of consumers—consumers who now demand around‐the‐clock access to news (Hermida, 2010). In thicontext, the emerging question is to what degree journalists alter traditional styles of newswork (or not) to meet the changing dynamics of technological platforms and user expectations associated with them (Lasorsa et al., 2011).
The recent explosive growth of social media service that allows for users to instantly share fragments of news and information with other users—has prompted a wealth of scholarly research, much of which has focused on the why of user engagement (Johnson, 2009). Research suggests that social media use is closely associated with a desire to connect with others, but as yet scholars have not thoroughly explored how key news producers might be altering their routines—which historically have emphasized dispassionate distance from the audience (Singer et al., 2011) to meet such needs.
Social media is a term in this present world which means the encompasses of the emergency of digital, computerized or networked interactive information channel. Social media is a form of electronic communication which facilitates interaction based on certain interests and characteristics. Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social dialogues, one of such are Facebook, Twitter, Eskimi, and 2go social networking.
Social media which are best understood as a group of new kinds of online media share most or all of the characteristics namely participation, openness, conversation community and connectedness with their ubiquitous and interactive nature , social media have become sources of information and interaction amongst Nigerians and other people of the globe.
In journalism reporters research and write stories for print and electronic distribution, often with the guidance of editors or producers. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience about topics ranging from government and business organizations to cultural aspects of the society such as arts and entertainment (Vance, 2009). Based on this fact, it has become expedient to find out how social media have affected the face of journalism in Nigeria.
According to Igwala (2012), the face of journalism is changing rapidly as new media technology increasingly lowers entry barriers and enable ordinary people to lend their voice and perspectives to day-to-day events, and this reality she calls “citizen journalism or citizen reporting” Newman is of the view that new media have keyed into the possibilities opened by social media by going on the internet through the process of convergence. Newman (2010) says that, many critics believe the interjection of audiences through comments, video link is a great way to enhance news coverage and offer an extra layer of details. To him, it is clear that the social media have changed the face of communication and that journalists are beginning to have a new way of packaging and disseminating news to the public.
The Barron’s article had noted that “print business model is imploding as younger readers turn toward free tabloids and electronic media to get news. For him it has become fashionable these days for many in the media to indulge in self-flagellation, hail the emergence of citizen journalists, and applaud the death of dinosaurs who don’t get it. In a rather supportive to, Newman 2010, also makes the point that whilst audience are undoubtedly interested in social media and contribution to news, they reveal in the fact that they can sort fact from fiction by taking their news from professional.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The cost of connecting to the internet is high in Nigeria as most telecommunication providers now see it as a new way of making more money, this has really posed a great challenge to internet journalism. What this means is that, only a selected few may have access to computers outside their offices, while those that don’t have access in the office may still not have access outside their working environment. Beyond that, those who could access it through their mobile phones are often handicapped by the monthly subscription to be paid to the service providers, and until the subscription rate is reduced internet journalism may be handicapped.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This objectives of the study are:
i. To examine the synergy between social media and journalism.
ii. To examine if social media promote information dissemination.
iii. To know the impact of social media on journalism.
iv. To examine the problem that social media pose to internet journalism.
1.4 Research of the Study
i. What is the relationship between social media and journalism.
ii. Do social media help to produce more timely and accurate report?
iii. What are the impact of social media on journalism
iv. What are the problems that social media pose to internet journalism.
1.5 Significance of the Study
There is no doubt about the fact that this research work will be beneficiary to some set of people and entity. Meanwhile, this work on social media as an alternative viable platform for journalistic information dissemination will benefit the following people, journalists, media owners, society, government and future researchers.
Ø Journalists: Journalist will at the end this work realize the importance of internet journalism in transmitting information to the people this will make them do more.
Ø Media Owners: The research findings will enables media owners to earmark reasonable amount of money, equipment and other logistics to support internet journalism.
Ø Government: government at all levels will see reasons for creating infrastructural development like effective power supply which will promote internet journalism in Nigeria. While government should make available some important gadget for internet journalism.
Ø Future Researcher: Researchers who will be exploring on this or related Research will find the work interesting and as a reference point.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is on social media as an alternative viable platform for journalistic information. The researcher cover the department of mass communication, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi because of proximity to place of study.