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The Role of Information Communications Technology (ICT) in Mass Media Organizations

The Role of Information Communications Technology (ICTs) in Mass Media Organizations

 Information communication technologies (ICTs) have become omnipresent in all spheres of life especially in the mass media organizations where its role has an astronomical transformation of the face of doing business in the field of journalism. The study is an attempt to find out how the use of ICTs has impacted media organizations using The Leadership Newspaper as a case study. There are five hypotheses in this test process. 50 members of the media organization made up of 27 (54%) males and 23 (46%) females were administered with a questionnaire and a quantitative research method was employed. The study found out that the use of ICTs in the initiation, among others led to improved job performance, gave rise to a high level of application and use of ICTs in the company, and as well led to an improved and quicker production process. It did not lead to downsizing of the work force but to the retraining of staff in other fields. The study approved among other things regular training and retraining of staff on ICTs use, provision of internet-connected laptops to staff, sufficient funding of research and development as well as for the government to provide an enabling environment for the prospering of the ICT revolution. These include but not limited to improvement in underpinning facilities especially power supply, improvement of general literacy level, enhancing domestic teledensity, and entrenching proper maintenance culture.

Introduction

A rudimentaryl and intense change is taking place in this new millennium and the role of Information Communication Technologies (ICTS) in it cannot be lost. It is a change that is considerably awaring the existing business norms and paradigms of the world, bringing about basically  way of looking at,and doing things, especially in the mass media. The change is organized through information communications technology.Salawu (2007:19), citing Tiamiyu (2003), defines information communications technology (ICTS) as “an electronic technology for creating, acquiring, storing, processing, communicating and using information.” For Kartel (2008), Information Technology (IT), is the use of computers, the internet and telecommunication tools such as mobile phones, etc for storing, analyzing and distributing information of all kinds, including text (words), numbers, and pictures. No doubt is has become the hallmark of modern civilization and an essential tool to economic advancement. No wonder too, every human endeavour relies on its transformation and success. The World Encyclopaedia (1993:83) refers to technology as “all ways people use their inventions and discoveries to satisfy their needs and desires.”From the foregoing definitions, it is evident that ICTs have one thing in common: the use of electronic device to store, retrieve and communicate information. ICTs have become so powerful and omipresent instruments not only in the economic, political, medical, academic and scientific spheres, but also in the media as it has permeated and alterd virtually the world almost overnight.

Statement of Problem

While the media addicts are excited about the prospects and opportunities thrown up by the new technologies, there has to be caution and care in the categorization of these tools. The research examined the positive and negative consequences of the new technologies to the overall process of gathering, assembling, editing and production in the mass media organizations.The problem of the research was therefore to find out the things that needed to be done to make the Third world countries and Nigeria in particular, keep up pace with the rapid development and applications taking place in global ICTs, especially in the art of newspaper production.

Objective of the study

The objectives of the study will include the following:

(a) Examination of application level and using  Information Communication Technologies

 (ICTS) in the mass media.

(b) Either introduction of ICTs have sped up the overall production process in the

mass media or not.

(c) To find  if the advent of ICTs in the mass media led to loss of jobs.

(d) To check if the introduction of ICTs in the mass media led to improvement in job

performance in the mass media.

(e) To find out what certain things can be done to make staff of media organizations keep pace with the development and application of ICTs.

(f) To make recommendations on how to optimally utilize these novel technologies in maximizing performance.

Significance of the study

The following stand to gain from the result of this study:

1. The media practitioners who will now know what is really at stake in their jobs as a result of the introduction of ICTs;

2. The consumers of media products stand to gain as they will have improved delivery of goods and services;

3. Researchers and students of mass communication will benefit as they will now have readily available materials to draw from;

4. Teachers of mass communication will equally gain from the study as there will be ready materials to utilize in the preparation and delivery of their lectures.

5. In addition, the study will add to the existing body of knowledge and existing literature in the area.

Research Questions

The research questions centred on the following:

i. What is the level of application and use of ICTs in The Leadership Newspaper

ii. Has the introduction of ICTs sped up the overall production process in The Leadership Newspaper

iii. Has the advent of ICTs in The Leadership Newspaper led to loss of jobs in the organization?

iv. Has the introduction of ICTs in The Leadership Newspaper led to improvement in job performance?

v. What are the things that could be done to make staff of The Leadership Newspaper keep pace with the development and application of ICTs?

Research Hypotheses

The research hypotheses revolved round the following assumptions.

H0 There is no high level of application and use of information communication technologies (ICTs) in The Leadership Newspaper

H1 There is high level of application and use of information communications technology (ICTs) in The Leadership Newspaper

H0 Introduction of ICTs have not sped up overall production process in The Leadership Newspaper

H2 Introduction of ICTs have sped up overall production process in The Leadership Newspaper

H0 The advent of ICTs have not led to loss of jobs in The Leadership Newspaper

H3 The advent of ICTs have not led to loss of jobs in The Leadership Newspaper

H0 The introduction of ICTs in The Leadership Newspaper have not led to improvement in job performance

H4 The introduction of ICTs in The Leadership Newspaper have led to improvement in job performance

Scope of the Study

There are several areas of application of ICTs in human development. They include un limited to economy, education, politics, science and technology, mass communication among others.This study is however narrowed down to The Leadership Newspaper.

Limitations of Study

The study is limited by finance and time on the part of the researcher to carry out elaborate research this study entails. There was no sponsorship funding for the research and the research could not sustain himself longer than necessary in Abuja as a result of high cost of living.

Theoretical Framework

The study is harboured on the Diffusion theory propounded in 1962 by Everett M. Rogers who combined the information-flow research findings on the flow of information and personally determine a number of fields such as anthropology, sociology, and rural agricultural extension work. The theory is in itself a vital expansion of Lazarfeld’s original idea of two-step-flow.

Rogers started his research in the 1950s at the University of Chicago with funding from television producers who sought a way to measure the effectiveness of broadcast advertising. It soon became apparent that the advertised products or services were “innovations” in the culture. The general result of the study was that the influential channel of influence was not from some broadcast medium, but down an echelon of levels, from a small number of “early adopters” to a larger number of “secondary adopters”, and from the “tertiary adopters”, then to “quaternary adopters”, etc.

His theory is related to the subject matter of the study in the sense that most technological innovations applied in the mass media industry were picked up by the Nigeria mass media by way of diffusion of the communication technologies from the more advanced European, American and Asian countries to Africa vis-à-vis Nigeria.

ICTs as Product of Innovations

Information Communications Technology (ICTs) is an umbrella term that includes all technologies for the manipulation and communication of information. It encompasses any medium to record information (magnetic disk/tape, optical diskettes – CD/DVD – flash memory and also paper records; technology for broadcasting information, radio, television, and technology for communication through voice and sound or images – microphone, camera, loudspeaker, telephone to cellular phones. It includes the wide variety of computing hardware (personal computers, savers, mainframes, and networked storage), the rapidly developing hardware market comprising mobile phones, personal devices, MP3 players, etc.ICTS came about as a result of innovations in science and technology. According to Rogers (1986:139), innovation is a “new way of doing something; incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking.”During the first several decades of research on the diffusion of innovations, attention was directed at individuals as the unit of adoption. Then it was realized that many innovations are adopted not by individuals, but by organizations. This shift in the unit of adoption is particularly important in the case of new technologies, which frequently are adopted by organizations, example, micro computers in schools and electronic mail and teleconferencing in business firms.Innovation is the engine that drives technological and communication change.

Digital printing

Digital printing is a method of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media.[1] It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression.[2] The savings in labor and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can match or supersede offset printing technology’s ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.The greatest difference between digital printing and traditional methods such as lithography, flexography, gravure, or letterpress is that there is no need to replace printing plates in digital printing, whereas in analog printing the plates are repeatedly replaced. This results in quicker turnaround time and lower cost when using digital printing, but typically a loss of some fine-image detail by most commercial digital printing processes. The most popular methods include inkjet or laser printers that deposit pigment or toner onto a wide variety of substrates including paper, photo paper, canvas, glass, metal, marble, and other substances.

In many of the processes, the ink or toner does not permeate the substrate, as does conventional ink, but forms a thin layer on the surface that may be additionally adhered to the substrate by using a fuser fluid with heat process (toner) or UV curing process (ink).

The Global System of Mobile Communication

Another far-reaching consequence of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) is the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM).

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to describe the protocols for second-generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It was first deployed in Finland in December 1991. By the mid-2010s, it became a global standard for mobile communications achieving over 90% market share, and operating in over 193 countries and territories.

2G networks developed as a replacement for first generation (1G) analog cellular networks. The GSM standard originally described a digital, circuit-switched network optimized for full duplex voice telephony. This expanded over time to include data communications, first by circuit-switched transport, then by packet data transport via General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE).Subsequently, the 3GPP developed third-generation (3G) UMTS standards, followed by fourth-generation (4G) LTE Advanced standards, which do not form part of the ETSI GSM standard.

“GSM” is a trade mark owned by the GSM Association. It may also refer to the (initially) most common voice codec used, Full Rate.GSM was intended to be a secure wireless system. It has considered the user authentication using a pre-shared key and challenge-response, and over-the-air encryption. However, GSM is vulnerable to different types of attack, each of them aimed at a different part of the network.[21]

The development of UMTS introduced an optional Universal Subscriber Identity Module (USIM), that uses a longer authentication key to give greater security, as well as mutually authenticating the network and the user, whereas GSM only authenticates the user to the network (and not vice versa). The security model therefore offers confidentiality and authentication, but limited authorization capabilities, and no non-repudiation.

The GSM systems and services are described in a set of standards governed by ETSI, where a full list is maintained.

Globalization

Globalization is the spread of products, technology, information, and jobs across national borders and cultures. In economic terms, it describes an interdependence of nations around the globe fostered through free trade.

Understanding Globalization Corporations gain a competitive advantage on multiple fronts through globalization. They can reduce operating costs by manufacturing abroad, buy raw materials more cheaply because of the reduction or removal of tariffs, and most of all, they gain access to millions of new consumers.

Globalization is a social, cultural, political, and legal phenomenon. Socially, it leads to greater interaction among various populations.

Culturally, globalization represents the exchange of ideas, values, and artistic expression among cultures.

Globalization also represents a trend toward the development of a single world culture.

Politically, globalization has shifted attention to intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Legally, globalization has altered how international law is created and enforced.

On one hand, globalization has created new jobs and economic growth through the cross-border flow of goods, capital, and labor. On the other hand, this growth and job creation are not distributed evenly across industries or countries.

The internet

The Internet is a global wide area network that connects computer systems across the world. It includes several high-bandwidth data lines that comprise the Internet “backbone.” These lines are connected to major Internet hubs that distribute data to other locations, such as web servers and ISPs.

The first recorded description of the social interactions that could be enabled through networking was a series of memos written by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT in August 1962 discussing his “Galactic Network” concept. He envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers through which everyone could quickly access data and programs from any site. In spirit, the concept was very much like the Internet of today. Licklider was the first head of the computer research program at DARPA,4 starting in October 1962. While at DARPA he convinced his successors at DARPA, Ivan Sutherland, Bob Taylor, and MIT researcher Lawrence G. Roberts, of the importance of this networking concept.

Audience Quality

The concept of media audiences has since changed as a result of global structuring. Most Nigerian newspapers, magazines, radio and television operations were hitherto programming for local audience. But now, the new global environment has changed all as according to Okigbo,2000:45, Internet and other facilities of global communication increasingly strive to bring about one world community. Today, not only are the Nigerian newspapers available in the internet and thus accessible to the global audience, more importantly, anybody who has access to computer modem, a serviceable telephone line, and an internet service provider, can instantly share in the magic of instantaneous global communication with all its full potentials and limitless intercourse.

The Role of Information and Communication Technology (Icts) in the Operations of the Mass

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) play pronounced role in the operations of the Nigerian mass media. Many media organizations in Nigeria can compete with media organizations outside the country as a result of embracing ICTs. Going down memory lane, the first newspaper and by implication, the first media institution in Nigeria, Iwe Irohin, published by Reverend Henry Townsend in 1859, was produced with crude printing machine. Other newspapers preceding it followed a similar pattern of cumbersome production. Even in 1959 when the first broadcast media, the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV), was established, its operations juxtaposed with today’s reality, was relatively crude. Until the 1990s many media houses in the country were still engaged in manual and analogue operations and production.

But the ICTs have changed the situation positively in all aspects of the mass media operation globally. The invention of digital cameras, digital printing, satellite newsgathering, electronic satellites, have made news become very instant. Ufuohu-Biri (2007:237) celebrates it this way:

Research Methodology

This is a quantitative research survey method and the questionnaire formed the instrument of data collection. The population here is the entire staff of The Leadership Newspaper but 150 staff were randomly selected to form the sample size. Through the random selection, 50 staff were selected and administered questionnaire. A total of 50 questionnaires were administered to the sample population drawn from the five departments of the organization. They include Editorial, Computer, Administration/Finance, Production/Advert departments. The entire 50 questionnaire were returned representing 100%. The research hypotheses were analysed using the Chi-square formula technique.

Analyses of Findings

The result of the findings suggests that the introduction of ICTs improved the level of application and use of the product in The Leadership Newspaper. This is supported by a cumulative response of 73.3% in conformity with Hypothesis H1. Also, 63% of the respondents agree that there has been improvement in the production process as a result of the introduction of ICTs in the establishment. This is in consonant with the motive of every innovation which aims at improvement and in further support of Hypothesis H2. On the question as to whether the introduction of ICTs have led to loss of jobs in the establishment, 55.1% did not agree with the statement. There have been retraining and redeployment of staff whose jobs were taken over by machines as a result of the use of better technology. In the era of industrial revolution most organizations laid off their workers when machines were invented because they were not prepared to incur extra expenses in retraining those whose jobs were taken over by machines.Even though The Leadership Newspaper is a private enterprise, the bulk of staff, like it happens in most private businesses will be relatives and dependants of the owner so that laying them off for any reason is tantamount to increasing one’s burden as there would be more mouths to feed. The owner, may out of other reasons but profit, retain them, preferring to retrain them for other skills they can fit into.

SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

Owing to the prevalence of information communications technology in our lives, the researcher set out to find its place in the media and selected The Leadership Newspaper based in the Federal in the Federal Capital of Nigeria, Abuja. The Leadership Newspaper group which is a privately owned enterprise has five publications on its stable. They are Leadership Daily, Leadership Weekend, Leadership Sunday, Leadership Hausa, Leadership Confidential, and Leadershipnigeria.com, the online edition. It circulates to all parts of the country, particularly in the northern part of Nigeria. It commenced publication on June 4, 2003 with Leadership Confidential followed by Leadership Weekly on October 1, 2004, which went daily on February 1, 2006.

The study discovers that:

1. The newspaper has 67% of its work force in the young, active and vibrant age bracket of between 20 to 30 years;

2. It has a preponderance of male workers who account for 53.1% of its total workforce;

3. Majority of the staff are single and constitute 69.4% of the total workers;

4. Most of the staff have spent between 10 and 24 years in the establishment;

5. Most importantly, it was discovered that the introduction of ICTs in the establishment

(i) Has led to improved job performance in the establishment;

(ii) Has not given rise to down-sizing or reduction of the work force; and

(iii) Has given rise to high level of application and use of ICT in the company;

The recommendations arising from this research is made up of specific and general. The specific or particular recommendations affect the institution where the research was conducted while the general refers to the ones affecting government.

Conclusion

It is vital to point out that we are already entering another technological era, the nanotechnology age and unfortunately some countries are yet to embrace the ICTs age which will be the driving belt of nanotechnology. In the emerging nanotechnology, “the genetic code will be used to transform pharmaceuticals, medicine, agriculture and environment”, Okongwu (2007:40).Every industrialized nation always strives to be in the forefront to secure major foothold on the global economy. This equally applies to companies and organizations. Technology acquisition must therefore, take into cognizance the emerging innovations, the shortening of innovation cycles and the potential impact of new innovations to ensure that innovations are integrated into the transfer framework.There is therefore need for government, private organizations and the media to solidify their hold on ICTs and improve on it by monitoring and following innovation trends which move at a very fast rate. Analysis has predicted that that ICTs are set to rule the world and that only those who understand its grammar will reap from it.

References:

1.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM

2.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_printing

3.https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/globalization.asp

4.https://techterms.com/definition/internet

5.Adamu, L.S. (2007). Infrastructure and communication technologies (ICTs) and broadcasting: The case of digital editing in community radio. In I. E. Nwosu and E. O. Soola (eds.) Communication in global, ICTs and ecosystem perspectives – insight from Nigeria. Enugu: Precision Publishing Limited.

6.Bozzkowski, P.J. (2004). Digitalizing the news: Innovation in online newspapers. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

7.Burnett, R., Brunstrom, A.K., and Anders, G.N. (2003). Perspectives on multimedia: Communication, media and information technology. New York: John Wiley and sons.

8.Egwu, E.U. (2003). Science, democracy and development: the challenges of university autonomy in Nigeria. A paper presented at a seminar organised by Research, Seminar and Publication Committee, Faculty of Management and Social Science, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.

9.Idemili, S.O. and Sambe, S.A. (2007). The Nigerian media and ICT: Implications and challenges. In I. E. Nwosu and E. O. Soola (eds.) Communication in global, ICTs and ecosystem perspectives –insight from Nigeria. Enugu: Precision Publishing Limited.

10.Kartel, O.C. (2008). How information communication technology (ICT) has transformed the operations of the Nigerian stock exchange.

11.http://www.gather.com/viewArticlePF.jsp?=281474977454218. 12.September 20.Okigbo, C. (2000). Broadcasting in the age of global communication: Challenges of programming and audience segmentation in the context of strategies for making African broadcasting self sustaining. A paper presented at the Third International Conference of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, Abuja. October 26-28.

13.Okongwu, D.A. (2007). Fifty years of technological transfer in Nigeria: 1956-2006; the quest for technological capacity and economic transformation. Abuja: Ucheakonam Foundation Nigeria Limited.

14.Rogers, E.M. (1986). Communication technology: The new media in society. New York, NY: Free Press.

15., E.M. (2007). Diffusion of innovations (5th Edition). New York, NY: Free Press.

16.Salau, S., Adama, A., and Suleman, O. (2007). An explanatory survey of the extent of application of ICT in two selected newspapers: The Daily Trust and The New Nigerian. In I. E. Nwosu and E. O. Soola (eds.) Communication in global, ICTs and ecosystem perspectives – insight from Nigeria. Enugu: Precision Publishing Limited.Salawu, A. (2007). ICT and development: A paradigm somersault. In I. E. Nwosu and E. O. Soola (eds.) Communication in global, ICTs and ecosystem perspectives – insight from Nigeria. Enugu: Precision Publishing Limited.

17.Ufuohu-Biri, E. (2007). Influence of globalization and the ICTs on the Nigerian mass media. In I. E. Nwosu and E. O. Soola (eds.) Communication in global, ICTs and ecosystem perspectives –insight from Nigeria. Enugu: Precision Publishing Limited.

18.Ward, D. (2003). The impact of technology on the traditional media. Frankfurt: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

19.Wogu, J.O. (2008). Introduction to mass communication theories. Nsukka: University of Nigeria Press Limited.

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