The Impact of Community Newspaper in Creating Political Awareness at the Local Level


The main objective of literature review is to enable a researcher embark on some intellectual cum consultation journey through “visiting” of some work prepare by past writer the researcher is working on or related topic(s).

In reviewing these literatures, the researcher deemed it very necessary to narrow her review to the following areas which are either directly or indirectly related to the topic of discourse.

  1. Meaning of community newspaper.
  2. Brief history of community newspaper.
  3. Rationale for community newspaper.
  4. The impact of community newspaper.
  5. Objective of community newspaper.
  6. Functions of community newspaper.
  7. The constraints of community newspaper.

2.1    Meaning Of Community Newspaper

As the name implies, community newspaper is a newspaper that circulates within a limited area.  It is small newspaper in terms of content and bulk.

According to Nwosu (2003, p.22)

A community newspaper might not be

sophisticated. It reflects the simple,

aspirations, whims and caprices of the

area of circulation. It’s bent is folky,

simple local and heavy. It holds no

pretension to bias hence it reflect views,

sorrow and joy triumphs and features

tragedies and comedies of it’s

environment of circulation.

Looking into the above extract, the statement that say a community newspaper reflects the simple aspiration, it means that it speaks for the people at the same time inform them on what is happening outside their area but has a sort of relationship to them. This type of newspaper has no bias to report and also represent the true image of it’s environment.

However, a community is a group of persons whose member live in the same place, share the same government and have a common cultural heritage and historical background (canfield and moore, 1973).  This means that a community newspaper is the one which operates within and target of that particular community.

The best way to cover rural issues is through community newspaper or media located in rural areas as well. Inspite of high literacy rates in rural area, the community newspaper can contribute a lot to rural development.

Referring to the role and nature of community newspapers, Akinfeleye (1987) explain that:

             A community newspaper is the type of

Newspaper that provides greatest services to

It’s immediate community… infact,     a

community newspaper is the newspaper for

the grass roots and it is so powerful in it’s

coverage and level of readership and

believability.  A community newspaper can

mould and shape the people’s opinion and

attitude much faster than the normal national

newspapers which are usually over stretched

in the coverage.

From the citation above, it is obvious that rural dwellers have that truth and believe in community newspaper than that of national newspaper. This maybe as a result of proximity. community newspaper can be published weekly, monthly or quarterly.

 2.2   Brief History of community newspaper

        The print journalism began in 1854 when Reverend Henry Townsend acquired a printing press and after five- years,    he established a Christian newspaper called “live Irohin”.

This was a community based newspaper which has particular audience at heart before it was established.

According to Offor (2004, p.17).

In 1852, an  Anglican    Reverenced     by

Name, Henry Townsend published the first

newspaper in Nigeria entitle;  “live

Ironhin”.  The newspaper original prints

were in Yoruba, but was later sub-titled in

English language.  The publication

appeared  every  fortnightly,  and   was

solely oriented towards Egba community

and its immediate environs

The above citation indicates that news papering started in

Nigeria as a community newspaper utilized to propagate Christian Religion to the people.

Moreover, the development of community newspaper started with the struggle for independence.  We had such papers like the spokesman in Onitsha, the sentinel, the comet etc.                           In the words of Azikiwe (1964, p.14) it was said that,“a newspaper is usually a reflection of the mood of the  time” .

To establish this point,  it means that the nature and contents of the victor age newspapers varied from what we had in Nigeria 1900 and 1925. The columns of newspaper at the later period were filled with social, economic and political issues which where , read and published vehemently.

The live Irohim published by Rev. Henry Townsend raised the general consciousness of the people ranging from politics in the Yoruba community to socio-economic life.  That is why  Ogunsuji (1989,p.64) in his book introduction to print journalism gave kudos to the print world, thus:

If as early as 1859 community newspaper

Could have come to limelight, there is the

Inevitable need of giving a pass mark to

The print media through newspaper.

He further stressed that if there was any other motive behind the establishment of any community based newspapers as at the time and even till the present time,

Political consciousness always remain at the top on agenda.

2.3   Rationale for Community Newspaper

            According to Njaka  (2005,p.720);

A Community needs news for the same

reason that a man needs eyes.  It has to

see where,  it is going…when society

cannot see where it is going, then that

society is blind and therefore in total


From the above statement, it is well known fact that a community is really in need of newspaper for them to see as well as participate in political programme. Community newspaper ensures adequate news and information coverage of the rural areas.  This is as a result of it’s  intermittent clamour for a deliberate, well designed, property,  articulated and targeted coverage of the rural news which has been neglected for long.  It was observed that other media do penetrate to rural areas but their responses are not effective.

And this makes rural newspaper to be inevitable community newspaper is also necessary to focus on development problems of the rural areas. It came up as a ventable tool and avenue for highlighting the neglect suffered by local areas.

Most successive government have not been decisive in developing local areas through provision of infrastructural facilities like

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