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NEWSPAPER READERSHIP PATTERN AMONG TRADERS IN MAJOR MARKETS IN UYO METROPOLIS
1.1 Background of the Study
Newspapers are known for the provision of up-to-date information meant for the reading pleasure of the vast majority of readers of all ages and walks of life. As an important print medium of mass communication, newspapers provide the most current analysis, debate and criticisms of socio- political, economic, health and a host of other issues as information, education and entertainment to the readers. The newspaper is no doubt, one of the most widely-read periodicals available and accessible to all, on daily basis, in print and electronic versions. As a mass medium, newspapers are useful for education, information, recreation, relaxation and entertainment. This explains why Ola and Ojo (2007) opine that newspapers are important because they carry current information and they keep the readers informed of events and happenings within and outside their immediate environments. A newspaper is important in that it serves as a corner of current information or news. The newspaper, according to Ate, and Ikerodah, (2012) is a periodic publication that can be daily, biweekly, weekly, fortnightly, etc and it is not normally bound. Newspapers are different from book and magazines because you only fold them. The newspaper is a periodic publication that reflects the events happening in the society. It is described as folded sheet of paper that is produced periodically. The Nigerian Newspaper Act (NNA) defines newspaper as any paper containing public news, intelligence or the occurrence of any remarks, observation or comment, printed for sale and published in Nigeria periodically (Asemah, 2009 and Ikechukwu, (2015).
Newspapers serves various purposes for different categories of users, Ogbiten, (2007) described five ways of what newspaper reading means to different people; respite or recreation ( using it to unwind from stress or tension reliever), public affairs ( using it to develop public opinions), for information ( using it for pleasure or to find about pleasurable activities), and for socialization ( using it to feel joined to others beyond the family block in a broader society). It can also be seen as the textbooks that provide up to date information on local, state, national and world affairs, the most current analysis and criticism on executive and legislative decisions, the latest in music, theatre, fine art and columns on comics that makes the reader laugh. Obaid,(2013), opined that newspapers are the most accessible written documents to the largest proportion of people of all categories, young and old, literate and illiterate, traders and workers, elite and peasants. Due to the way people or readers gather to discuss newspaper contents, it inevitably promotes critical thinking, retention of information, problem solving and the querying of the information source.
Reading is the springboard of any literacy program. It is one of the oldest habits of human civilization. Reading has been the passion of the greatest personalities of all times. African society has been labeled with phrases such as; an oral society or one that lacks a reading culture (Mulinda, 2001). While presenting a paper on reading habits promotion in the Association of South- East Asian Nations (ASEAN) libraries, noted that; Africans are not a reading society but a chatting society. He explained that traditional educators were great narrators of stories which they said out loud and accompanied with dramatization and demonstrations. Babbie, (2013), states that reading literally refers to the ability to recognize and understand characters which may be printed, or written on a paper. Reading, therefore, is the ability to obtain meaning from word s that is written on a paper. Agba, (2002) affirms that through reading, humans have the tools to transmit knowledge to each succeeding generation. It has been pointed that most people in sub-Saharan Africa have little access to books and other learning resources and without proper access, it is hard to establish a reading culture. (Makenzi (2004), Reading makes way for a better understanding of one’s own experiences and it can be an exciting voyage to self- discovery. Anaeto, and Aneato, (2010). Reading adds quality to life and provides access to culture and cultural heritage. This concern about the lack of a reading culture is felt by many other scholars in many African countries, Nigeria inclusive. Against this backdrop, the study sought to investigate the newspaper readership pattern among traders in major markets in Uyo metropolis.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As a business person, one needs to know about the nature of fluctuating prices, new policies surrounding one's line of business, the investment opportunities which often take vital columns in the newspapers.
However, it appears due to the preponderance of activities and business transactions that traders encounter on a daily basis, they seem to pay little or no attention at all to reading of newspapers, even though information plays a major role in helping business thrive.
One then wonders what the trend of newspaper readership among traders in markets in Uyo metropolis is. In other words, what is the pattern of newspaper readership among business people in Uyo metropolis?
1.3. Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study were to:
i. to find the frequency of newspaper readership among traders in Uyo markets;
ii. to ascertain the extent to which traders engage in newspaper readership in Uyo metropolis;
iii. to examine what is of interest in newspapers to traders in Uyo metropolis;
iv. to find out the influence of newspaper readership on the successes of business men and women
v. ascertain the uses and gratification of newspaper among traders in Uyo markets.
1.4. Research Questions
The following were the research question set to guide the research:
1. What is the frequency of newspaper readership among traders in Uyo markets?
2. To what extent do traders in Uyo metropolis engage in newspaper readership?
3. What is of interest in newspaper to traders in Uyo metropolis?
4. What is the influence of newspaper readership on the successes of businessmen and women?
5. What are the uses and gratification of newspaper among traders in Uyo metropolis?
1.5. Significance of the Study
Newspaper as a medium of communication had thrived in the face of competition such as radio, televiaon, and the internet service since it was first printed in 1605.
The significance of the study will be beneficial to newspaper publishers on the importance of Newspaper readership among traders in Uyo metropolis.
Secondly, the findings of this study will help publishers in evaluating how user friendly their medium is in carrying out the traditional roles of the mass media which includes entertaining, educating, and informing.
Thirdly, students and lecturers of Mass communication will also find this research work helpful in their newspaper production classes and also expand their knowledge on the need for them to participate in assisting the newspaper medium.
Finally, the findings of this research work will add to the body of knowledge in the field of mass communication.
1.6. Delimitation of the Study
The study was delimited to only the major markets in Uyo metropolis. However, the study did not cover other markets in Akwa Ibom state, the study did not also consider the pattern of newspaper readership among other members of the society, such as students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, civil servants e.t.c. The study only considered local publications because traders in the markets are mostly concerned with happenings within the state