Uyo Residents’ Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items on Newspapers

Uyo Residents’ Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items on Newspapers
Uyo Residents’ Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items on Newspapers

Abstract: This study evaluated Uyo Residents’ Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items on Newspapers. The design for the study is a survey research design. Four research questions were answered using mean and standard deviation. Samples of 360 persons (both male and female) were selected out of a total of 305, 961 people in Uyo using random sampling technique. The test items (PIPCNNQ) were face and content validated by experts in the field of mass communication. Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News items on Newspapers Questionnaire (PIPCNNQ) was the instrument used for data collection. The result of analysis showed that pictures have great Impact on the credibility of news items on newspaper.

The findings concluded that using pictures on news items in newspapers have positive impact on the perception of Uyo residents’ on the use of pictures for news credibility. This is because pictures in newspapers enhance the credibility of the stories. As they depict reality, the also furnish evidence to show the authenticity of a news story or give proof of an event that occurred. It was recommended that photojournalists should use original source of photographs from an event to ensure the improvement in the value of news content and news worthiness.

Uyo Residents’ Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items on Newspapers



1.1       Background to the Study

Pictures is one of the popular medium in use by the mass media either electronic or print media in any news delivery. In winning the heart of readers, journalists use photographic images as main communication strategies in delivering their messages, agendas and also to catch the readers’ attention, this has equipped journalists with competent skills needed to disseminate quality photographs that report news worthy events. As for readers, they need the required information as their reference before making any decisions.

Pictures are meant to express a message and not just function as aesthetics. It is a powerful medium of expression and visual communication that involves the process by which events are mirrored in pictures, which reveal something too brief for the eyes alone to define. Pictures serve as an instrumental view of reality by disseminating information that enables viewers make an accurate response to whatever is going on.

For the past two decades, the public’s overall trust in the press has declined (Project For Excellence in Journalism, 2006). The Pew Research Center (2005) reports that60% of the Masses think the media are politically biased in their reporting. Similarly, the percentage of those who believe most of what they read in their daily newspaper dropped from 84% to 59% in 2006 (Pew Research Center, 2006). In 2002, only 35% said media reporting is generally accurate, down from 55%  (Pew Research Center, 2002). The believability of several major news organizations has also declined since the 21st century. For example, in 2007, only 65% of masses surveyed rated ABC news as highly believable, while 83% did so in 2002.

The results were similar for NBC news and CBS news. In addition, believability for daily newspapers declined from 80% in 2002 to 59% in 2006. Nonetheless, a February 2006 study suggests that the public’s trust in the print media may be on the rise. Fifty-nine percent of the masses reported having a favorable view of the press, up from 43% in December 2004 (Pew Research Center, 2006)

The idea of telling news in picture dates back to the wall carving of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamian. Even the Japanese and Chinese alphabet of today are traced to the combination and manipulation of the mental image eminent in picture concepts). These findings broaden the horizon and potentialities of communication with picture, (NnayeLugo Okorie, Historical perspective of photojournalism, 2002).

Back home in Nigeria, using picture in telling news has its root in the colonial period. It followed advent of news preparing in Nigeria, newspaper led to improved pays use of catchy illustration. The socio-political environment of Nigeria help to spear head the development of photojournalism (use of pictures to tell a news story) . The inseparability of polities and photography is a factor that goes far back in line. The nationalist who were fighting for independence found newspaper a read weapon for castigating the colonial administration. The problem then was that these publications had ordinary photographs which had little or no knowledge of what is news worthy. The picture they produce were essentially aware photographs which usually affect the credibility of news they illustrate.

However, the 1970’s and upward witnessed a marked improvement in both photo content and style. The emergence of paper like concord, vanguard etc, has since revolutionize Nigeria photojournalism both in story points. This made the editors to employ a good press photographer who most have an eye for news in the same way a reporter must have a nose for a good story. With this, pictures  are made to be more news oriented which better represent the news they illustrate, thereby enhancing the news credibility, attracting and compelling the readers to read the story and also add aesthetic mood to the newspaper.


Uyo Residents’ Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items on Newspapers

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The impact of picture and illustration on news credibility has been doubted by many people who are ignorant of what pictures can do to news presentation and acceptance. Nevertheless, the debate has lingered for long among profusion street men and women, students of higher learning etc. yet mass media such as newspaper and magazine continues to reap the benefit of picture through its attraction of the readers to read the story, beatification of its pages, identification of the publication believability of the news story and enhancing the organization purse by increasing the sale of publication.

Regarding this, the problem of this study is to identify to what extent the role of the photographic image presented in newspaper serve as a vehicle in ensuring credibility of news items and effective communication of message and the impact on perception of the readers. 

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