Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper

Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper
Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper



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.

Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper

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.


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. 

1.3     Objective of the Study

The primary purpose of this study is to investigate Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper. Specifically the study seeks to:

  • Establish exposure to pictures that accompany news items on newspapers.
  • know the perception of readers on the use of pictures in news items
  • Ascertain if pictures help in adding credibility to news items in newspapers among readers.
  • Identify other factors, other than pictures that enhances the credibility of news items on newspapers among readers.

1.4     Research Questions

The following questions will serve as a guide to the study:

  • How can exposure to pictures that accompany news items on newspapers by residents be established?
  • What is the perception of readers on the use of pictures in news items?
  • To what extent does pictures helps in adding credibility to news items in newspapers among readers?
  • What other factors other than the pictures, enhance credibility of news items on newspapers among readers?

Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper

1.5     Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be beneficial to the large masses, students of mass communication and other researchers in this field. The study is embarked upon so that people will understand and appreciate the impact of picture on ensuring news worthiness. In other words, it will help them know its effect on news credibility.

This study shows clearly the benefits in photojournalism to our researchers, professionals in the field, street men and women and to students of mass communication. The study will serve as a guide and reference for future researchers or as a resource to photojournalists in training.. This will also help in the encouragement of the use of picture and illustration in magazine pages and newspapers since its usage prove pragmatic on readers. This in other words, serve as a guide to editors who place any kind of picture on their newspaper and magazine pages. The findings and recommendations will serve to improve and reposition the trend of photojournalism in Nigeria.

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.