THE INFLUENCE OF MULTICULTURAL DIVERSITIES IN JOURNALISM PRACTICE A STUDY OF SOME SELECTED STATES IN NIGERIA

THE INFLUENCE OF MULTICULTURAL DIVERSITIES IN JOURNALISM PRACTICE A STUDY OF SOME SELECTED STATES IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The study was motivated from the backdrop that Nigeria is a dysfunctional multicultural society. The main objective of the study was to determine the influence of multicultural diversity on the practice of journalism in Nigeria. The study adopted a dual-method approach comprising survey and content analysis. For survey, a sample of 492 journalists was drawn from the population of journalists registered with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in six states, each from a geopolitical zone and the Federal Capital territory. The sample was drawn through proportionate stratified random sampling. A 29-item questionnaire was used to obtain data for the survey aspect of the study. For the content analysis design, four newspapers (Daily Trust, Leadership, The Guardian and Thisday) were purposively sampled for study. The analysis focused on two national events sensitive to multicultural diversity – the 2011 post-presidential election violence and the Boko Haram insurgency. The period of study covered April 19, 2011 – October 18, 2012. Units of analysis were straight news reports, feature articles, letters-to-the-editor, and editorial comments about the two events. Content categories included views of parties in a story, attribution, region, religion, ethnic group, and tone of a story. Data obtained were manually analysed using frequencies and percentages. Findings revealed that the journalists studied were not adequately guided by the sensitivity of multicultural diversities in reporting national issues, the journalists were not as objective as they should be in reporting multicultural diversity, and even though the journalists expressed knowledge of ethical and professional norms in reporting multicultural diversity, this knowledge did not translate to actual practice. It was also found that challenges bordering on economic and organizational constraints militate against journalists in effectively reporting issues of multicultural diversity. The conclusion arrived at was that journalists in Nigeria are yet to embrace the practice of multicultural journalism. It was recommended that journalism training institutions should review their training curriculum to accommodate multicultural journalism, recruitment policies in media organizations especially in news rooms should encourage diversity and pluralism, media organizations and regulatory and professional bodies in the country should develop specific guidelines for journalists covering issues sensitive to multicultural diversity, and all stakeholders in the practice of journalism should champion the cause of a functional multicultural Nigerian society.