Newspaper and Television as an Agent of Social Development

Newspaper and Television as an Agent of Social Development

c The cost and effort necessary to train sufficient members of local department workers for every village would be colossal.13.

Imagine the immense task of training and maintaining one village level worker for each of Nigeria’s 5,000 or more villages. Even if they could be provided in sufficient numbers, local change agents might not be judged credible by villagers who have a deep distrust of government officials. So the media are the prime sources of development information and not change agents.

Furthermore, Rogers model of the role of the media in creating awareness of possible innovations among the public, and the role of influential in developing adoption of innovations, is a model of the typical one-way flow of communication and influence from “opinion leaders” to their “followers” among the general public.14 Rogers’ Modal has greatly influenced diffusion research, which accounts for the great majority of the work that has been done in many pars of the world on this model.

It was around this paradigm that many third world policy makers tended to plan their strategies for using the media to develop their societies. Rogers recommendation, that officials should use the mass media to diffuse rapid development messages to the people, appears to have been very widely accepted.

In the present African traditional society, the rural dwellers embrace new worlds as a result of media advertisement messages, the illiterate adults unknowingly pronounce English words as if they had formal Education and all these attempts are the effect of media influence. Therefore, in International Co-operation and Communication in National Development leader confirms the primacy of the mass media when he says:

Increasingly, in the villages and hamlets of the world, the mass media are bringing strange new worlds into the traditional environment of rural people. And that specific measure of modernization consequence to be correlated with mass media exposure include empathy, innovativeness political knowledge, achievement motivation and aspirations including Education and occupational aspirations.

The mass media would appear to have been channels for “persuasion” in many circumstance in underdeveloped countries. With the relative novelty and scarcity of these channels of communication, and the relative absence of alternative sources of much of the kind of information-derived from the media (about life in distant parts of the world, for example), the media do have fertile ground for much influence on certain attitudes and opinions. Even though very few third world countries have reached Rostow’s point of “take of the increasing rush to the cities and consequent population explosions in major urban centres of the third world, and the “revolution of rising frustrations among the bulk of the peoples are apparent testimonies that the media might have succeeded to well in their Disson of “empathie transformation”. It would appear that the media have made the under privileged masses in underdeveloped countries increasingly aware of the world beyond their immediate neighbourhood showing than in the process that there are many people whose lives are not as nasty, brutish and short as their own, and it is through the deprivation of these masses that the rich in their societies continues to grow richer16.

In studying the role of the media in national development, schramm notes that to get the people to accept the new goals, new attitudes and customs necessary for development, the role of the media would require both information and persuasion. This appears to be the dynamics role in the press which defines as that of inspiring change and influencing the minds of transitional peoples to alter the peoples attitudes.

Also learner in his own contribution maintains that “something” which persuades the farmer’s daughter to wear a dress and do her hair is embodied in the power of the media to raise and spread empathy among their audiences.

Implicit in this paradigm of communication is the one-way linear model of the mass communication process which also forms a parth of the conventional theories of media role in development. In the diffusion approach, the path to be followed by the “ pro- development “ ideas from the developed countries is clearly defined.

The diffusion is seen to spread from the metropolis of the advanced capitalist countries out to the national capitals of the undeveloped ones, and from these in turn out to their provincial capitals and finally to the peripheral hinterland’s

Once these cultural values arrive at the capitals of undeveloped countries, the role of the change agent becomes paramount. The passivity of Rogers peasant recipient of media messages stand out in sharp contrast to the active role of the agent who often has to battle with his clients, characteristic, “social- psychological barriers to change” to make them aware of their development needs.

In this decisive battle, the change agents greatest weapon is the mass media which are expected to convey information and persuasive message from the government to people in downward hierarchical manner.

Katz and wedel writing on broadcasting, maintains that:

Social and educational planners, as well as academics in the 1950s and 1960s, regarded broadcasting as a possible panacea for the third world.20

It is precisely because these media characters provide peasant masses with “clues of what the better things of life might be” that empathy is regarded as such a central concept in the field of mass communication in development. After all, these better things of life make what America and the developed nations of western Europe are and what the modernization middle East (an other under developed societies of the third world) seeks to become.

Wilbur Schramm in this book, conception and change in the developing countries refers that in the oral traditional society, the provisions for wide horizon communication are inefficient: the traveler and ballod singer come too seldom and know too little. Therefore, “modernizing of society requires mass media.21.

With regard to the above statement exposure to the mass media can undoubtedly be an important variable in bringing about large-scale directed social change and modernization in rural towns.

Moreover, UNESCO presently estimates, that more of the less developed nation have come to minimum standard of mass media availability of 10 copies of daily newspapers, 5 radio receivers, 2 movie seats and 2 television receivers per 100 inhabitants.22

Though all mass media are important, but because of barriers of illiteracy, television and radio are more effective media of communication in rural town than such other media as newspapers. In the book, media and mass communication in Nigeria. Duyile observed that educational status contributes a lot to newspaper readership of individuals in Nigeria. Majority of Nigerian citizens are uneducated and as a result cannot read or write. This creates communication gap between the elites and the village people.

Moreover, the tradition of the people of Nigerian is yet another factor which puts a wedge in the communication system of the people. “There are some die-hard traditionalists, who inspite of modern means of communication, refuse to use the mass media. They rather prefer the tom-tom drum, the flute and the bronze going to summon their meetings rather than using the newspaper or other mass communication systems.” 23 In fact. Nigerian communication system is fraught with many problems; Chief among these problems are those of education, social status, cosmopoliteness and others.

In a report by the international commission for the study of communication problems, sean MacBride emphasizes:

To achieve group cohesion, to mobilize local resources and to solve problems effecting smaller or larger groups, communication is assisted by the mass media, which use the flexibility of modern technology to give small remote communities new facilities, such as radio station, and television which are financed by the central organization and managed locally. 24

With particular emphasis to the above statement by sean MacBride, it can be asserted that broadcast media (Radio and Television) exert much influence on the people, especially in crisis periods. Several times, one hears people saying, emphatically: the television has said if “or the radio has said it”

This power of the broadcast media was used in educating the masses in 1972 by the Nigerian Federal government in its campaign to popularize the nation’s shift from left to right hand-driving. The mass adherence to the instruction of this change-over was due to the effect of mass communication. Thus Wilbur schramme notes that, “modernization of society requires mass media”25


The Adaba community cannot effectively make do with only interpersonal communication to achieve its social development projects. In other words, the town-criev cannot sufficiently influence all members of the community to participate in development projects. Some members of the community live or reside outside the community, therefore, it is largely the mass media that could bring to their notice government development efforts.

As Evevett Rogers Maintains:

Interpersonal communication channels are inadequate for reaching the high peasant audiences of the less developed countries even when these channels are provided at the village level by government change agents.26

Moreover, the Adaba community is a typical traditional community in which development has progressed very little from one generations to another. In the light of this, Wilbur Schramm’s mass media”. Will actually provides an effective background for this study. Therefore, the community has exceeded mainly fore television receivers per 50 inhabitants.

In the usual village life, children and adult visit the homes of these television owners to watch the latest in the days programes. This help them to relax their nerves after the days work. On the other hand, Newspaper rarely finds its way into this community. Even though newspaper is found in Adaba, high illiterate rate effects seen in the community through these who visit the township or the local government headquarters of this community. The question that might then arise are as follows:

  1. Are newspaper and television message agent of social development for the rural dweller?
  2. Are the audiences for television larger than those or newspaper in rural communities?

—This article is not complete———–This article is not complete————
This article was extracted from a Project Research Work/Material Topic


2 Comments on “Newspaper and Television as an Agent of Social Development”

  1. paul adeoye says:

    please i need your assistance

  2. please sir,i need up to 3 project topics that relates to public relations and advertisement.would be so glad if you can help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *