A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF RURAL/URBAN PROBLEMS IN IMO STATE A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF DAILY CHAMPION, THE SUN AND VANGUARD NEWSPAPERS.
Over the years, successive governments in the underdeveloped countries have regrettably adopted a lackadaisical, impractical, apathetic and lip service attitude towards the transformation of their rural communities whose inhabitants constitute in some places more than 70% of their respective populations.
In Nigeria for instance, the situation has reached an alarming stage, more so when one considers the outright abandonment of the rural populations to their fate, as manifested in the various indices of under development that prevail across the length and breath of the country, despite the vast human and natural resources it is endowed with. Granted that some administrations in the past, had one time or another annunciated policies and programme seemingly aimed at rural development but has any of such projects ever been successfully executed in any of such rural communities? The fact remains obvious that such projects only serve as a conduit pipe to siphon funds into private pockets.
Zeroing in on the situation in Imo state which incidentally is the subject of this study, the situation there is quite akin to what obtains elsewhere in the country, as most developmental projects are concentrated in the city, to the exclusion of the rural areas. It is against the backdrop of the obvious disregard of the rural communities in the scheme of development projects in Imo state that this research work has embarked upon to among others, highlight the role of the media (in the context of newspapers in the coverage of rural and urban problems in Imo state. The choice of the newspaper in this enterprise is informed by the fact that the mass media as vehicle for information, agenda setting and mass mobilization, possess a unique potential in reversing this unpleasant status quo The Daily Champion, The Sun and Vanguard were thus chosen to reflect this in balance in the coverage or rural/urban problems in Imo state.