Magazine Reading Habits Of Students In Institution Of Higher Learning

Magazine Reading Habits Of Students In Institution Of Higher Learning (A Study Of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka)

It is common place to see a magazine these days in every part of the world. This is irrespective of the linguistic, political or environmental variation of the area. This is because a magazine is a veritable tool for social, political, cultural, religious or academic expressions of a people or group of people.

One would understand more about the magazine when one sees segments of society in a dynamic and perpetual struggle, using the magazine as a tool in the struggle among themselves.


Some Mass Communication theories have helped to guide the course o this work. So, it will be vital for us to examine some of them.

The uses of Gratification Theory, Lundberg and O. Hulten (1968) enumerated reasons media audiences exposed themselves more to one medium than the other and why they select a particular media message more than the other. The theory contents that people will appreciate and perceive the information that will satisfy their needs. This information may not be in consonance with our existing ideas but we tend to get it if we expect it to be useful or satisfying.

This is because people expose themselves to a particular medium based on the benefits of satisfaction they derive from such exposure, in that this theory will explain for example why a political science student is more likely to expose himself, to articles treating the political future of Nigeria than computer science student.

The Individual Difference Theory, Melvin I. Defleur (1966), is more important in this study because we are unique individuals with different characteristic which determine what we do, how we perceive things and reasoning and so on. That is why two person can never view one thing / phenomenon exactly the same way. To bring home this fact, there is a variation among N Nigeria under graduates, for example:

Individual differences perspective implies that media messages contain particular stimulus, attributes that have differential interaction with personality characteristics among such members.

A third theory which also serves as a source of knowledge in understanding the regularity with which individual expose themselves to those media idea which are in consonance with their existing conception and idea about issue of the day.

The Consistency Theory, William Stephenson (1967) postulates that: People sub-consciously or consciously select form the flow of communication. These ideas that are suitable with their existing ideas. And hey misunderstand or forget those communications that would be dissonant.

Perhaps, the above mentioned theories or concepts have been in many research works, have been done or readership generally while lots of these studies concentrated on newspapers. Just little were devoted to magazines readership. After a careful review of the literature, it was discovered that not much really has been done on magazine reading habits in the institutions of higher learning in Nigeria. Moreso, considering an educated sample like Nigeria undergraduate that it is assumed reads magazine and attaches much importance to them.

From all indication, newspaper and Magazine differ significantly in format, size and in coverage. What applies to newspaper readership could also apply to Magazine. However, this is not to say that this study will ignore these areas where they fall to agree either in part or as a whole.


One vital aspect of readership holds form the importance which people attach to private media to other media of communication. Joseph J. Klapper (1960:106) asserts that “the print media alone allows the readers to control the occasion and directions of this exposure and permits them easy re-exposure”. He further states that “more easily than media, print allows a topic to be developed to whatever length and with whatever complexity seems desirable”.

In print media communication is less structured and also not confront the readers with visible or audible speaker in film, radio and television. The print in its direction allows the readers a great percentage of freedom to assign meaning, make opinion and interpret phenomena by giving them a shade of nuance. This according to Klapper (1960) is because print is believed by some observers to demand a more active, creative participation on the part of the reader, than is demanded of audience of other media.

These are the properties which print media possess that enable them enjoy special class of audience form the broadcast media, but notwithstanding reading itself requires the audience lots of training and skill that are required by every media.

According to Kendall and Lazarsfield (1960:437):

Magazines and books require a special skill unlike radio or movie, which does not require any skill for one to expose himself, the absence of skill, accounts for the spectator’s media.

Some factors have been identified as playing significant roles in determining the readership of Magazine. Kendall and Lasarsfield (1960), identified education as one of the variables. In that study, using three categories of samples, college, high school and grade school to measure readership, Kendall and Lazarsfield (1960:25) found that readership increases with level of formal education and declines as level of education declines.

One study reported that adults read or look through an average of 10 (ten) Magazines a month. About 28 percent read a Magazine on an average day, and a typical adult spends about 25 minutes daily reading Magazines. As far as demographics are concerned, the typical Magazine reader is more educated and usually more affluent than non readers.

Magazine readers also tend to be travelers. On survey found them far more likely to belong to religious, science and professional organizations than non-readers.

Perhaps, examining the educational level of a reader in a media comparative study, “The opinion corporation of America” (1970:14) found that better educated people are suitable or apt appropriate to read Magazine than watch television.

In another research study conducted by Herber J. Gaus (1978:27) it was discovered that:

Romance Magazine have been created to provide interest materials for less educated women while urban are likely to contain fiction directed to the educated”.

All these points out the fact that education plays a vital role in readership. Schramn and White (1947:108) discovered that education seems to make a greater differences in women’s reading than in men’s.

Nigeria undergraduates and educated whether they exhibit a higher propensity for readership than people of lower educated class is yet to be discovered. Put poignantly, the synopsis, readership habits by education, Schramn and White (1949) mentioned that readers in the lower education curve readily for information and public affairs.

Other studies identified are the demographic variables such as age, sex and social economic status as strongly influential to the response to media contents.

Herbert Gans (1978) argues that, “Age, class and education are the main factors which determined a person’s choice among taste culture”.

The same research found adventure magazine contain fiction directed towards the high school “blue collar” workers while women interest magazine are directed to a readership of those within the age bracket of 18 and 34 years.

The findings of Westley and Senerin (1964) also lend support to the study of Schramn and White. Westley and Senerin discovered a linear relationship between age and reading newspapers.

These studies mirrored on age as a determinant of readership are relevant to the study because they help give an insight into the kind of relationship and information need of Nigeria undergraduates who constitute the major focus of this study.

Some studies also have identified sex as determining readership habits. The study of Burgoon Brothers in (1980:29) found that sex among other variables like income and class influences leadership.

This was conformed in a survey conducted in (1983), by some I.M.T. Mass communication Students. The study found that women (undergraduates) exhibit very poor readership behaviour on magazine and newspapers.

These research studies tend to give the cadences to the fact that one’s sex, significantly influence the readership habits of that person, for instance while women tend to read such stories that anchor on fashion, beauty, household maintenance etc. Men would tend to go for more serious stories such as politics, technology sports, economics etc. this seems to account for the reason why Schramn and White (1960), stated that, men’s reading of news seem to reach to peak earlier than that of women”. This is so because men start at earlier stage to consider serious issues.

Another factor which has been found to influence readership is level of income. There are the tendencies in people, with high income to read more of magazines than people in the low income bracket. In a study carried out in (19744) by the opinion research corporation of America, it was found that people with higher income tend to read magazines than watch television.

This study is supported by a survey carried out by John Davenport, who also found that level of income correlates with readership. According to them, “those with higher income read more often than those with lower income”.

Also, determining media content on a correlation of reading habits, Maxwell MC comb and John Nauro (1974:20) in theirs study”, predicting newspaper readership from content characteristics”, for that overall page location and account of space are the key variables in predicting readership for news item”.

However, under some circumstance, the study points that, other key content characteristics are geographical significance of the story, they form the source.

According to MC Comb and Nauro (1974, content attributes of newspaper as format, typography, headlines, page placement, topic and geographical significance … as well as response oriented perspective as psychographics attributes and uses and gratifications all help to sharpen reading pattern.

In other studies, Ronarld J. Compesi (1980:16) enumerated certain factors that can attract readership, listening and viewer ship of newspapers, radio and television respectively as entertainment habits, convenience and social utility. Others are escape from problems.

Oguntunase (1972:15) asserts that, “at other times you may read simply for pleasure, relaxation or recreations”. But, the over-riding consideration according to him is that there must be a definite purpose for reading.

Traditionally, researchers concerned with newspaper have focused on reader interest or demographic variables to explain why newspapers are read. But a study which delivered into community structure and mass media, made the observation about what readers do with newspapers. It is observed from the study what sense of community theme helps to shape uses that citizens make of newspaper and television and the one they are likely to give preference to.

Interestingly, various research studies were also conducted on non-readership. Paul Pound (1978:12) obtained the following, responses from the non-readers as reasons. Why they do not read newspapers include: lack of true, preference to other media, language, content lack of interest, cost of buying newspaper, health and unwillingness to read.

Lester Ashien (1978:1-6) found that non-reader exposure to one medium is likely to correlate non-exposure to other media. Non-readers of books are likely to be non-reader of newspapers and magazine.

J.M. Mchod (1980:10) in the study “an analysis of five factors effecting newspaper circulation”, he said that, “non-readers are found to be highest among those within sixteen or more years of education.

In other words, Mchood is trying to point out that non-readers of magazines are in the bulk of people that have not had up eighteen years of formal education.


This literature review helps to give this study its scientific  perspective. Perhaps demonstrating the influence of some of the variables of interest of the research topic in question, the review also helps in throwing more light on the view points that exist on the chosen research topic.

Hence, we need to know that most of the literature gathered in this study are foreign studies. Only on the few cases have Nigerian contribution featured.

However, each of the works is still relevant to this study, the literature enumerates factors that enhance readership such factors include, an individual level of education, age, sex and socio-economic status.

This research is aimed at studying the influence these variables in determing readership pattern of students in the institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.

It however compares women’s and men’s magazine reading habits and discovered that people read magazine according to how beneficial the contents are to them.

Conclusively, the literature review substantiates magazine readership by people who are affected by their coverage either in content or in locality.

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