MAINSTREAM NEWSPAPERS COVERAGE OF AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY ISSUES: A STUDY OF DAILY TRUST AND THE NATION NEWSPAPERS

Faruk Nanoh Bello, Ogwuche Pius Owoicho

Abstract


Mainstream newspapers’ coverage of biotechnology issues has overtime attracted the attention of media scholars. This study examined select newspaper’s coverage of Agricultural Biotechnology issues in Nigeria. The study relied on quantitative content analysis of the news stories of 2 Nigerian newspapers (Daily Trust and The Nation newspapers). The study analysed contents of the select newspapers between the periods of September 2018 to March 2019. The study is anchored on the Agenda setting theory. Findings from the study showed that the two newspapers (Daily Trust and The Nation) have not given adequate coverage to the issues of Agricultural Biotechnology as they were episodic in their reportage of the issue. The newspapers were unable to do this because most of the reports on Agricultural Biotechnology are in the form of news writing, paying little attention to the analysis of risks or benefits that lies therein. It was also found that the selected newspapers accorded low prominence to the issues on Agricultural Biotechnology with the placement of a majority of such stories on the inside pages and far less on the front and back pages. In a nutshell, the study found out that the Newspapers studied have been unsuccessful in their role to communicate to the public on the benefits or otherwise of Agricultural Biotechnology. Thus, it was concluded that Daily Trust and The Nation newspapers adopted a similar pattern in the reportage of Agricultural Biotechnology issues during this period with the way they reported these issues in their respective pages. The study recommends that media; both print and broadcast, which have the capacity of shaping public debate and discourse among citizens should be analytic and should dedicate more space and time when reporting core issues on Agricultural Biotechnology in Nigeria.


Keywords


Biotechnology; Agriculture; Newspapers; Coverage; Nigeria; Daily Trust newspaper; The Nation newspaper;

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.47851/naujocommed.v2i1.114

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Department of Mass Communication. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka.

ISSN:2756-486X (Online)