Faculty: Social Sciences
Department: Mass Communication
The study: An Assessment of Nigerian Newspapers’ Coverage of the Niger Delta investigated how the Niger Delta region of Nigeria was reported. The method adopted was a combination of Content Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Focus Group Discussion (FGD). Findings of the study are: (1) There is high visibility of the Niger Delta region in Nigerian newspapers, with the publications based in the southern part of the country giving more coverage to the region. (2) The stories on Niger Delta in Nigerian newspapers are predominantly negative. (3) The hegemonic images of the Niger Delta emerging from this portrayal are those of a crisis-torn, heavily militarized and underdeveloped area, inhabited by criminally-minded and restive people who feel grossly marginalized. (4) The audience “readings” of these constructed images of the region equally suggest it as crisis-torn, heavily militarized and underdeveloped, with very restive people who feel neglected. (5) The focus group, however, sees the people’s restiveness as agitation for or assertion of rights. (6) Nigerian newspapers do not appear to exhibit regional and ethnic biases in their representations of the Niger Delta, considering the uniformity in their use of language in the news discourse. This is surprising as this finding challenges the findings of previous similar studies. (7) There are ideological undertones behind Nigerian newspapers’ representation of the Niger Delta. The study concluded that the Nigerian newspapers emphasized negativity in their reportage of the Niger Delta. On the basis of this it recommended, among other things, the framing of newspaper reports on the region in the discourse that would reverse these negative images, considering the country’s current efforts to attract more foreign investors to the oil sector of her economy.