READERS PERCEPTION OF THE ROLE OF PRINT MEDIA IN SPORTS DEVELOPMENT IN…
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Sports was originally a recreational activity, but with the introduction of financial and material benefits and an attendant honour to it, the number of participants, the number of events and the struggle for victory have introduced high level politics into it. Consequent upon the expected rewards, fraud, irregularities and injustices have overshadowed the system. However, a lot of people and groups are now interested in knowing about sporting events. Fixtures, dates, time and place of such events become matters of interest. They equally raise a question about past ones and even the plans for the future.
Thus, information and mass awareness become primary in solving this quest for information and knowledge. A special unit or field in the world of journalism takes it upon itself to report sporting events to the public. The effects of these reports both in shaping the behaviour of the public and management of sports in general demand specialization and skills in sports reporting.
This research in acknowledging these facts, examines the impact of print media in sport development in Nigeria. Sports were a recreational phenomenon till the early 1930’s when the first world sports fiesta was held. The processes of selection among different nations led to stronger and more competitive sports among nations and continents. Thus, competitive sports serve as an integrating force, and source of socio-political relationships. As an incentive and motivation to individuals and nations contending to the throne, financial benefits, international honours, merit awards were introduced. Sports bodies such as Federation International de Football Association (FIFA), Confederation of African Football (CAF) and National Food Authority (NFA) were established and employment opportunities created.
Consequently, various sporting activities, medals, pressure groups and interests emerged. Every day, these groups and interests press or seek to know about the processes and dynamics of these sporting activities, ostensibly with a view to preserve and/or influence certain phenomena.
The print media fill this responsibility gap as they report these activities and provide the necessary information needed to all interested parties far and wide. Beazell W.P. observed this when he wrote, “sports news comes nearer than anything else I know of, to the common denominator of news. There is probably more universal reader interest in the sports pages than in any of the other parts of the modem Newspaper.”
This duty has great influence on the entire socio-cultural, political, and economic structure of nations. Sport commentaries originated nationalistic activities/pressures, fanaticism, and hooliganism in sports. Because of its wider reach, it has become the surest, though the costliest, means of advertising products, services and programmes. It has yielded millions for their organizers and made many analysts, and commentators international personalities/heroes. The struggle for heteronomy among nations has equally been extended to sports. Considering the influence of sports reporting, necessary reporting materials and Concrete facts are needed for quality and objective reporting. They are interested in the means and methods of data gathering. Generally, they obtain the data through personal observation, press association, publications and mass media.
With the introduction of financial and material benefits and an attendant honour to sport, the number of participants, the number of events and the struggle for victory has introduced high level politics into it. Consequent upon the expected rewards, fraud, irregularities and injustices have overshadowed the system. However, a lot of people and groups are now interested in knowing about sporting events. Fixtures, dates, time and place of such events become matters of interest. They equally raise a question about past ones and even the plans for the future.
The sports reporters gather, process, interpret and publish relevant news items needed by interested parties. This responsibility puts them on the move all the time, hunting for facts that will be of immense value to the public. This paper, therefore, x-rays organization Structures of sports reporting, responsibility of sports reporters and technical for effective sports reporting.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The media in carry out their social responsibility and development role in sport development in Nigeria have been criticised for placing too much emphasis on European sporting promotion and culture to the detriment of indigenous games and talents, calling for a serious re-evaluation of the roles and obligations of sport journalist and media through self-regulation. However, looking at the nature of media ownership and the high cost of media production, industry watchers agree that practitioners have taken to profit maximization which finds a fertile ground in foreign sport portrayal on Nigerian media and the huge advert revenue it attracts for the media than in the local sporting events and activities, which is under-funded, ill equipped and lacks proper promotion, administration, management, branding and packaging.
Meanwhile, there also exists the problem of Nigerian high taste for foreign input in the media, particularly sports, Nigerians prefer staying at their places of work with company of friends and families discussing the outcome of foreign sporting activities or even watching, rather than to pay or tune in to see their local athletes or sporting activities. Trends among scores of Nigerian media organisation equally indicate the little concern and coverage allocated to sporting issues and events and even where such was the case, greater proportion of the stories are about global sporting stars and talents at the expense of our own home-bred professional.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To know the contribution of print media to sport development
2. To examine the challenges facing print media in reporting sport activities
3. To study the aspect of sport which print media give priority?
4. To know why sport activities are usually placed at the back cover of both the newspaper and magazine.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Do print media contribute to sport development in Nigeria?
2. What are the challenges facing sport reporters and sport desk in reporting sport activities?
3. Why do Nigeria Sport reporters pay more attention to foreign sport activities than local sport?
4. Why are sports activities usually placed at the back cover of both the newspaper and magazine?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There is no doubt about the fact that work like this will be beneficiary to some set of people and entity. Meanwhile, this work on the role of print media in sport development will benefit the following people, journalists, media owners, sport fans, government and future researchers.
Journalists: Sport writers and sport editors will at the end of this work realize the importance of their work in entertaining the people this will make them do more.
Media Owners: The research findings will enables media owners to earmark reasonable amount of money, equipment and other logistics to support their sport desk.
Government: government at all levels will see reasons for developing local sport so that local sport will be given more priority than the foreign ones. While government should make available some important gadget for sport reporting.
Future Researcher: Researchers who will be exploring on this or related Research will find the work interesting and as a reference point.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is limited to the role of the print media in sports development in Nigeria within the context of complete sport newspaper. Although, the basic objective of the project is to examine the impact of print media in sport development in Nigeria, this can not be effectively studied without considering the contribution complete sport newspaper has made to the development of sport in Nigeria.