1.1 Background of the Study
Information and Communication Technology is perceived to be a force to be reckoned with in the 21st century because it has caused and continues to cause major changes in the way we live.
The advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has brought tremendous innovations in all spheres of human endeavours. The media of mass communication – radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc, have definitely not been spared from the great revolution. The satellite in particular has made news most instantaneous and simultaneous, especially for the broadcast media. The new technologies have therefore made the job of media practitioners very effective, interesting, easy, cheaper, faster, more reliable and perhaps most profitable.
In the electronic media, ICT has ignited and provoked radical and drastic changes that has affected and revolutionized the broadcast industry, most especially in immediacy and timeliness of news. Information and Communication Technology not only facilitate and enhance the creation, processing, sharing and dissemination of information in the broadcast industry but the immediacy and timeliness of news is of a high priority.
Notwithstanding, with ICT, information spread, infinitely becomes faster and cheaper and readily available. Before now, there was a significant time lag separating the point when an event took place, and the time when the news may be publicly made available. But, ICT, has helped bridge the time lag between when an event took place and the time it is made available to the public. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a generic term used to express the convergence of telecommunications, information, broadcasting and communications. According to Rodriguez and Wilson (2000) ICT is seen as a set of activities which facilitate and enhance the processing, transmission and dissemination of information by electronic means. ESCAP (2000) also perceived ICT as techniques people use in order to share, distribute, and gather information for communicating through computers and computer networks. Promoting Information and
Communication Technology as an integral part for enhancing timely news delivery in the broadcast industry was articulated by Samadar (1995) he submitted that ICT is a tool for facilitating the creation, storage, management and dissemination of information by electronic means. Meanwhile, Marcelle (2000) did not only see ICT as a complex entity but an application and services used for the production, distribution, processing, transformation of information with the aid of ICT tools. Nevertheless, Ogunsola and Aboyade (2005) are of the opinion that
ICT came into being as a result of related technologies clearly stated by their functional usage in information access and communication is centralized through the Internet. As far as the digital age is concerned, the benefits accrue from ICT is enormous. One of the sectors that has benefited immensely from the use of ICT is the broadcast industry. With the use of ICT, news processing and news reporting is immediate, timely, and helps reduce the space constraints ‘the death of distance’. The use of ICT has revolutionized news processing, news packaging, and news reporting through the use of ICTs. There is no doubt that the employment of ICT in the broadcast industry is to enhance and improve news delivery as timely as possible. To buttress this, Adigwe (2010) cited Soforowa (2009) when he noted that ICT is seen as the integration and utilization of computer technologies for the purpose of disseminating information to a target destination or consumer without the constraint of time and space. Information and Communication Technology in broadcast news gathering is on the increase by reporters and editors because of its benefits being recognized at every point of the entire supply chain of news. Technology development and the use of ICTs in broadcast industry have improved news reportage. According to Wikipedia encyclopedia “Information technology (IT) or Information and communication(s) technology
(ICT) is a broad subject concerned with technology and other aspects of managing and processing information, especially in large or enterprise organizations.” This gave rise to the fact that ICT can be used not only to communicate but also to convey messages. To this end, ICT refers to as mechanisms or tools that are used to convey, distribute and manipulate information in order to improve it value.
The radio too, is not left out in the revolution. The radio industry is introducing High Definition radios. The HD radio in the words of Akpan (2009) is “a digital service that greatly improves signals/sounds quality of terrestrial local stations. With HD radio, an FM station now sounds as good as a compact disc, while an AM station sounds as good as a current FM station, aesthetic free and without atmospheric interference”.
We are all living in a changing world, and over the past many ears we have been conditioned to accept changes in the way we think and relate. Thus, communication between the peoples of the world which sounded utopist before is now becoming a reality in or very eyes giving practical meaning to Marshall Mollohan’s view of the world ad a global village interlinked by communication technologies, (Mc Lucan, 1964. P47) Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are electronic machines and devices. Their application have both computing and communication capabilities. They range from physical devices like digital cameras, tape recorders, computers, sensing devices, scanners, mobile phone, etc to cyberspace-the internet, software, teleconferencing, satellite etc. Their application is broad and cuts across all interpersonal and mass communication media, giving more power, robustness and veracity to their operations and performance. More than ninety years after the world’s first broadcasting station were pounded, radio is still the most persuasive, accessible, affordable and flexible mass medium available in cities, urban towns and rural areas. It is often the only mass medium available to majority of the people.
The application of information and communication technologies into broadcasting especially radio broadcasting is therefore designed to boost and enhance qualities of broadcast programmes. Most importantly has been the digitization of radio signal, innovation programming and live reporting from any corner of the world.
It is also believed that the business of radio broadcasting has been elevated with information and communication technologies application. This informs why this project is undertaken with a view of finding out what information and communication technologies have on broadcasting, taking the Atlantic FM, Uyo, as a reference point.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has brought a tremendous change in the media industry all over the world. The media in various countries especially in the Western World are seriously adopting and utilizing the numerous opportunities provided by the new ICTs for greater efficiency, better quality, faster production, and delivery of more reliable and cost effective service. Numerous researches on radio reporting have their focus on coverage of particular events of general interest and critique of programmes. This is so because it permits a close scrutiny of the output of radio stations. Today, with the addition of the profit making bias to the business of radio broadcasting, news and other programmes are seen as products which have to be packaged well.
However, Atlantic FM, Uyo, is a newly established radio station in Akwa-ibom State. However, it is certain that it applies information and communication technologies in broadcasting functions. Thus, this research seeks to find out the Impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) on Radio News Reporting.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the Impact Of Information And Communication Technology (Ict) On Radio News Reporting (A Study Of Atlantic Fm Uyo). The specific objectives are:
- To ascertain the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on news reporting in Atlantic FM Uyo
- To investigate the constraints to the use of Information and Communication Technology on news reporting in Atlantic FM Uyo
- To identify the various ways of Information and Communication Technology enhances news reporting in Atlantic FM Uyo
- To assess the implication of the present level of Information and Communication Technology application in Atlantic FM Uyo
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated;
- What is the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on news reporting in Atlantic FM Uyo?
- What are the constraints to the use of Information and Communication Technology on news reporting in Atlantic FM Uyo?
- In what ways can Information and Communication Technology enhances news reporting in Atlantic FM Uyo?
- What implication does the present level of ICTs application have on Atlantic FM Uyo?
1.5 Scope of Study
The general concern of this study is to evaluate the application of ICTs in the entire Nigerian mass media. However, as a result of insufficient time, money and materials and in order to remain realistic and avoid ambiguity, the researcher decided to limit the scope to Impact of Information and Communication Technology (Ict) On Radio News Reporting (A Study of Atlantic Fm Uyo). It is however believed that the findings and recommendations of the work would be beneficial to both those within and outside the scope of the study.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The following are the contributions of this study in terms of knowledge and benefits to the readers.
- The study reveals the actual level of application of ICTs in Atlantic FM Uyo
- It highlights the problems and prospects of ICTs use in Atlantic FM Uyo
- It will be instrumental to prospective researchers who may wish to go into this or similar areas of study.
- It will have far-reaching significance to media organizations, media practitioners, media educators, media students, policy makers and indeed, the general public.
- Finally, the study serves as a dream come true, as the researcher had always desired to add to the existing literatures on ICTs and effective media practice in Nigeria.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The definitions of terms were operationally defined
Alantic Fm Uyo: Radio Nigeria Atlantic 104.5 FM, Uyo Radio Nigeria Atlantic 104.5FM Uyo is one of the 32 FM projects conceived by the Federal Government to disseminate information to the grassroots.
Communication: This is the process of transmitting information, ideas and attitudes from one person to another.
Broadcast Reporting: This is the journalistic act of sourcing, covering, working, editing and presenting news on the radio.
FM (Frequency Modulation): It is the type of radio broadcast service in which the frequency varies in a manner corresponding to the sound of the voice/music transmitted which is one hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second. It was found in the 1930s by Edwin Armstrong and is allocated in the very high frequency (VHF) – the part of the radio spectrum from thirty to three hundred megahertz.
Radio: It is a telecommunication system by modulation and radiation of electromagnetic waves.
ICTs: Are those electronic gadgets, equipment or technologies for creating, acquiring, storing, processing, communicating and using information”.