Development and Journalism Composite in the Media Landscape: A Critical Assessment of the Private and Government Media Journalists’ Perception towards Development Journalism

Solomon Tabor


The central focus of this study has been assessing the perception of private and government journalists towards development journalism. It inquires how they understood and explain the ideology. And it has attempted to investigate the visible and invisible gaps and the resultant perception effect between development journalism theoretical framework by journalists and the actual application of it? To do so, individual in-depth interview, Focus Group Discussion and document analysis were used to generate data to the study. Major literatures have been consulted and the following key points are included; surfacing of development journalism, conceptual components, and Key components of development journalism, Contextual origins,  Theoretical bases of development journalism, Development journalism and its watch dog role, School of thought of DJ, Purpose of development reporting , Objectives of development journalism, Principles of development journalism, Development journalism defined, Development news defined, Implementing development journalism, and The concept of DJ in Africa.The finding shows that there is a closer outlook between the state and private media journalists concerning the concept of development, their responses vis a vis with the multilateral view of scholars show that there still is a limitation in understanding the notion fully and meaningfully. Majority of the research participants tended to capitalize the economic interpretation of the concept and some private journalists the political meaning of it and on a collective view, the social, cultural, traditional……Aspect of the concept is disregarded.  As outlined over and above having a sound meaning of development is imperative in owning the right virtues of DJ. Given the above fact, the views of the journalists are not all encompassing and touching the basic meaning of the concept of development.As for development journalism, the outcome revealed that the understanding the journalists, particularly the private ones, is somehow limited. They defined it in a very narrow angle. Relatively, the government journalists seem to have a better understanding of the concept. However, there definitely is a limitation in their understanding and explanation. As literatures show, the concept of DJ is far more comprehensive and deeper than explained by the journalists.In assessing the Factors contributing to the negative perception of the ideology; fundamentally, the journalists who took part in the discussion, equivocally, agreed that the ideology in its full sense and meaning is not put into practice. In unearthing the factors that tangle the implementation of the ideology, the participants identified the following restraining factors. And they are; Self-Censorship, The Problem of Editorial Independence, Lack of proper awareness about the ideology, Direct and in-direct outside influences, Following up-bottom approach, The tradition of poor research among journalists, Politicizing the ideology, Very poor or sluggish assessment of the impact of the ideology, The ideology is not well institutionalized, and Low self-concept as a professional journalist.As per the theoretical discussions and the findings of the research, recommendations have been forwarded and one of it is. A development journalist should critically examine, evaluate and report the relevance of a development project to national and local needs, the difference between its impacts on people as claimed by the government officials and as it actually is. Thus, the government media journalists should adjust their mind set towards the right meaning and more importantly, the application of the ideology. The private media journalists too should widen their view concerning the ideology since it is a professional obligation to understand professional issues.

Keywords: Development, Development journalism

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