NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF AGRICULTURAL TRANSFORMATION AGENDA IN RICE PRODUCTION A STUDY OF DAILY SUN, VANGUARD, THE GUARDIAN AND DAILY TRUST NEWSPAPERS
Rice is a leading staple crop in Nigeria; it is cultivated and consumed in all parts of the country. Over the years, Nigeria has been producing the crop below its potentials. This has given rise to importation in order to fill the wide demand and supply gap with resultant effects on the nation’s foreign exchange. Hence, this study examined newspaper coverage of agricultural transformation agenda in rice production. The study adopted content analysis as its research design. The population of study is all editions of four purposively selected newspapers- The Guardian, Daily Sun, Vanguard and Daily Trust published between 1st of January 2014 and 31st December 2014. Using constructed week sampling technique, the study arrived at 336 as sample size. The Holsti’s inter-coder reliability check was used. The data were analyzed using code sheets and descriptive statistics. The result of the study showed that although 92.8% of the newspapers reports were positive, they were not in depth enough to adequately address the burning issues surrounding the initiative. The study also revealed that 98.3% of stories were published on inside pages of the newspapers, indicating lack of prominence. The study therefore concludes that newspapers’ coverage of rice transformation agenda has not been impressive. Based on these findings, this study recommends among other things, that the Nigerian press should endeavour to give adequate attention to issues concerning agriculture just as attention is given to other sectors.