Perspectives for Utilization of Newspapers and the Development Media Theory in a Developing Society

Download paper
Alex E. Umuerri

PhD in Mass Communication, Acting Head of the Department Of Mass Communication, Senior Lecturer, Benson Idahosa University, Benin, Nigeria

Josephine O. Adeyeye

Lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Benson Idahosa University, Benin, Nigeria


Section: Theory of Journalism and Media

While developing societies embrace the concept of development communication as a viable way of attracting development to their societies, it has become necessary to ask how newspapers (as part of the mass media) can be utilized in a developing African country such as Nigeria. This use of newspapers is viewed vis-a-vis the tenet of Development media theory. In fact, over the years theory building and application have become part of the press and society. Invariably, when theories are propounded, their use and adaptability become issues for discussion by owners, operators of media institutions, scholars and society. It is for this reason that the utilization of newspapers and Development media theory in Nigeria are examined. The paper therefore contains an overview of the Nigerian mass media landscape and print media in particular; considers development communication; evaluates the important nature of newspapers as a development communication channel; discusses the tenet of Development media theory; examines the use of development journalism as a concept which evolved from Development media theory and is useful for the developing Nigerian society; and investigates the place of two Nigerian national newspapers, Vanguard and Guardian, in development journalism in terms of stories on politics, culture and language as development paradigms within the Nigerian state. One of the conclusions is that the newspapers are not development-oriented in their coverage. The paper recommends that journalists in media institutions should pay more attention in their reports to these development areas in their future published works.

Keywords: development communication, newspapers, development media theory, development journalism
DOI: 10.30547/vestnik.journ.2.2019.2951 Introduction


Akinfeleye R. A., Okoye I. F. (eds.) (2003) Issues in Nigerian Mass Media History: 1900—2000 AD. Lagos: Malthhouse Press Limited.

Anaeto S. G., Solo Anaeto M., Tejumaiye J. A. (2009) Newspaper and Magazine Management, Production, Marketing. Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers Ltd.

Anaeto S. G., Solo-Anaeto M. (2010) Development Communication: Principles and Practice. Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers Ltd.

Baker R. J. (1968) Newspaper Publishing. In Encyclopedia American, International Edition. Vol. 20. U.S.A.

Bittner J. (1989) Introduction to Mass Communication. Englewood Cliffs New Jersey: Prentice Hill Inc.

Daramola I. (2003) Introduction to Mass Communication. Lagos: Rothan Press.

Duyile D. (1987) Makers of Nigerian Press. Lagos: Gong Communications.

Folarin B. (2005) Theories of Mass Communication: an Introductory Text (ThirdEdition). Ibadan: Bakifol Publications.

Habte A. M. (1983) Mass Media Role in the Third World. In J. Martin, A. G. Chandhary (eds.) World Mass Media System. New York: Longmans.

John H. (1995) Rethinking Civil Society (Crossroads, USIS Newsletter). Lagos: February.

McQuail D. (1987) Mass Communication Theory: an Introduction. California: SAGE Publications.

McQuail D. (2010) Mass Communication Theory (6th Edition). California: SAGE Publications.

Newson D., Wollert A. J. (1988) Media Writing. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Ogai J. O. (2003) An Analysis of the Concepts of Development and Underdevelopment. In Uwakwe (eds.) Communication and National Development. Onitsha: Africa-Link Books. Pp. 13—43.

Olukotun A. (ed.) (2018) Watchdogs or Captured Media? A Study of the Role of the Media in Nigeria’s Emergent Democracy. Lagos: Diamond publications.

Pool I. D. (1963) Mass Media and Policies in the Modernization Process. In L. Pye (ed.) Communication and Political Development. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Schramm W. (1964) Mass Media and National Development. Sandford: Standford University Press.

Siebert F. S., Peterson T., Schramm W. (1956) Four Theories of the Press. University of Illinois Press, Urbana III.

Soola E. O. (ed.) (2003) Communicating for Development Purposes. Ibadan: Kraft Books Limited.

Sparks C. (2000) From Dead Trees to Live Wires. The Internet’s Challenge to the Traditional Newspaper. In J. Curran, M. Gurevitch (eds.) Mass Media and Society. London: Oxford University Press. Pp. 269—292.

Umuerri A. E., Shoki G. O. (2011) Trends in Research Methods on Press and Government Relations. Journal of Communication and Media Research (3) 1: 25–39.

Umuerri A. E. (2014) Readers’ Attitude Towards Development Messages in Community Newspapers of Delta State. Journal Of Communication and Media Research 6: 143–162.

Wimmer R. D., Dominick J. R. (2010) Mass Media Research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.