Communication Imbalance – Coverage Of Rural And Urban News By Nigerian Newspapers

Communication Imbalance – Coverage Of Rural And Urban News By Nigerian Newspapers

Communication Imbalance – Coverage Of Rural And Urban News By Nigerian Newspapers

This in balance of news flow is a complex and varied phenomenon which can occur in different forms and a exists in all media the news paper, radio film and television.

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Communication is a part of the general development process that provides the needed between planners and their goals. No nation can survive without workable communication channels that allows in and out passage of effective and adequate flow of information to the various part of the effectiveness of information lies in its getting to the recipients in proper from.

Knowing if there is the existence of any information imbalance between our rural and urban population is of great importance for it depends on the trend of our study.

Communication facilities are often inadequate within developing countries due to lack of finance and other resources and the few that are readily available concentrates more on the urban areas at the expense or detriment of the rural areas. The distribution of communication facilities does not provide the information needs of the people in Nigeria as well as most third world countries and a few developed countries.

The unbalance of information flow between the urban areas and the rural areas seems like an information flow between the rural majority and the urban majority in the sense that new flow from the development urban area to the undeveloped rural areas.

According to Humphrey Nwosu; “people living in urban areas have more dependable infrastructure facilities than their counter parts in the rural areas.

Until recently the circulation of newspapers was an obligation fulfilled only in the township”.

Never the less, rural poverty regrettably frustrates what should other wise have been a land able achievement of modern technology.

Illiteracy completed the vicious circle started poverty and lack of infrastructure facilities as a large proportion of our rural population are prevented from information flow by illiteracy and this has reduced the rural people to a state of passive receivers of information put out by a few people.

As we pointed out earlier the unbalance of news flow exists at all levels in all countries. At the transnational level news flow from the industrialized countries to the third world countries. The western news agencies collect the over whelming bulk of world news to impose western attitudes on the development countries.

Opubor and Nwuuneli quoted that the managing director of this day News paper once complained that; “while he has detailed knowledge of foreign place and people such as minister, other personalities and even crooks through flowing information gotten from international news agencies he knows very little about his own neighbors and neighbor hood in Africa and other third world countries.

Apart from the one way flow of information the little news on the third world is often distorted and centered on crisis. The third world countries always complain that the bulk of information they receive don’t serve their actual information needs because the information are neither irrelevant or destructive to their culture, besides news on famines wars, crisis ridicules them as being primitive. In other w worlds, it is only the odd events from the third world countries that qualified as new events to western media.

A foreign correspondent said of all when he said or rather asked;

“why the hell should anyone but a specialist be interested in the Congo when there is no crisis there ?”

The developing countries are not happy with this unbalance. The accumulated anger surface during the oil boom of the 1970’s when they found a strong economic bargaining power in oil and they advocated for a balance in the flow of information based on population distribution and national aspiration of cultural independence.

This call generated debates conference and symposium under the auspices of the UNESCO and the non-aligned countries. These resulted in the setting up of the international commission for the study of communication problem in 1977 under the chairmanship of the late Mr. Sean Mac Bride and this commission recommended that the movement for a new world information and communication (NWICO) should replace the old order characterized by unbalance and distortion.

From the foregoing, it is clear that there is the existence of the unbalance flow of information in the urban and rural area in Nigeria.

It is against this background out lined above that this study becomes imperative. For the purpose of the study, two Nigeria New papers THIS DAY and CHAMPION were chosen.


Wilbour Schramm has said that even in the most highly developed countries information is more readily available in the great cities because of the concentration of information materials in such cities. But this is not what it should be especially now that a new information order has been called for one that would have the potential to remove unbalance in new coverage are all levels.

The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria guaranties freedom of information and expression of opinion. It is therefore expected that the pattern of information flow in Nigeria will reflect an equitable coverage of all parts of the country.

In Nigeria communication generally between the rural man and its urban counter part is still at its lowest ebbs. The research problem for this study focuses on communication imbalance because the Nigeria press does not focus adequately on the lives and activities of the rural people despite the fact that they constitutes the greatest part of the population. Instead when such events are reported they are either given small spaces or squeezed into the inside pages sometimes those news event reported on are “half truth”

While undergoing a research work on the study of coverage of urban and rural news by Nigeria News papers the following problems will be tackled.

1. That Nigerian News papers are depreciating in important News contents.

2. That the new content of Nigeria newspapers on some regions in Nigeria dominated other regions.

3. That there is inadequacy in the news coverage of rural areas by Nigeria news papers.


This study centers on how Nigeria news papers ration out their news contents and its understanding therefore the aims of this research are ;

1. To find out if there is news flow unbalance in Nigeria as it is in the case of international new flow

2. To find out if the urban areas receive more coverage than the rural areas.

3. To find out if the bulk of new events reported about rural areas are relevant to them or if they are negative news

4. To know if the Nigeria press and other third world countries are guilty of news flow unbalance of which the western mass media are accused.


Contemporary empirical research tradition in the area of mass communication are usually centered on three main headings

Firstly is research on the effectiveness or persuasive power of the mass media. Secondly is the research concerned with general social effects of the media and lastly is researcher concerned with the contents of the mass media (publications).

Social scientists and some communication experts two area. The third areas which deals with content analysis of mass media have been slightly neglected and it is in this area that this research work fails.

Communication imbalance in Nigeria is sufficiently important to be studied because communication as mentioned earlier constitutes a greater part of the general development process without which no country can survive. Imbalance in communication is a great factor that hinders progress wherever it exists.

For any nation to remain united adequate attention must be paid to the rural area as it is done to other parts of the country. Imbalance in news flow between urban and rural dwellers is detrimental to national understanding and co-operation.

If we are to realize the fact that the rural areas are the food production sector of the Nigeria economy and also the cradle of civilization and the home of a majority should be accorded to it.


1. Do Nigeria newspaper contain more news on personalities and social activities to news that is more important to its consumers

2. Is there imbalance in the flow of information in Nigeria newspapers.

3. How adequate is the news coverage of rural areas by Nigeria newspapers.



H1 little spaces only are being mapped out by Nigerian new paper for news about rural areas.

H0 little spaces only are not being mapped out by Nigeria news papers for news about rural areas.

H2 Nigerian news do not give rural news front page cover

H0 Nigeria news papers tend to give rural news front page coverage

H3 Nigeria newspapers report news event from rural areas

H0 Nigerian newspapers do not report news events from urban areas more than they report news events from rural areas.

H4 news reports from rural areas are generated by high government officials on visit to rural residents themselves

H0 news report from areas are not generated by high government official on visit to rural communities but the rural residents themselves.


It is necessary to give an appropriate definition of all terms used in this research work as to remove dept and misunderstanding of all elements contained.


HIGH GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL; persons governing a state RURAL RESIDENTS; Person who live in the rural non-urban areas.

NEGATIVE EVENTS; Those items that report social conflict disorganization and political economic instability.

FRONT PAGE COVERAGE; Placement of news events on the first page of a new paper

NIGERIAN NEWS PAPERS; The printed publication in Nigeria that report information on events usually on daily basis.

RURAL AREAS; The county side on the grassroots of a nation.

URBAN AREAS; The developed part of the nation

DIRECTION; The quality of the news


HIGH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS; Persons like ministers, commissioners who take part in decision making and administration of a State and who can represent the head of state or government at a meeting or conference.

RURAL RESIDENTS; Those peoples who live permanently in the village and are usually farmers and fishermen

FRONT RESIDENTS; this refers to those news events that are considered important enough to be published on the first page of the newspaper.

NEGATIVE EVENTS; Reports on crisis diseases crimes etc which indicate the people concerned rather than boosting their morals.

NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS; The two news papers being analysed THIS DAY and CHAMPION

RURAL AREA; The less developed communities where farming is usually the major occupation where more of the countries population lives and where a large number of illiterates are usually found.

URBAN AREAS; The developed towns where government ministries and establishment are concentrated and where the professionals are usually found

DIRECTION; This pertains to be favourability, unfavourability or neutrality of a news story.


Apart from time and financial constraints other limitations is based upon social Political and economical changes that will take place during the period of the study.


The scope of the study is limited to the coverage of urban and rural news in Nigeria. It is also limited to the content of two newspapers,

THIS DAY and CHAMPION whose contents were analysed and the items also analysed specifically on report of events within Nigeria.



The literature review in this chapter came from mass communication test books; journals of intonation communication studies journals, papers presented at conference and unpublished research project in the area of communication mimeograph in community journalism and broadcasting. Bulk of this study deals with imbalance in news flow between the rural and urban population in Africa in which Nigeria is our case study.


For decades the media in the developing nations have not given the rural areas access to its facilities as a result of which events and achievements in the rural areas are blacked out. This is unethical and unprofessional. Being a developing country over seventy percent of our population live in rural areas and a lot of economic activities takes place in the rural areas.

Agriculture fish farming yam rice vegetable cultivation etc. All reside in the rural areas and we are precisely fed by the rural folks yet they are being blacked out of the scheme of things.

According to Ikem Nwosu he stated that “it is imperative that the press re-order their programming. A carefully designed space should be given and allowed for the rural folks their activities hopes and aspiration limitations default and problems should all be highlighted for example a lot of epidemic is happening in the rural area and they lack clean water, light recreation medical facilities media access e.t.c The media should trumpet and eclitorialise these issue to the government “ With the provision of these facilities the question of rural migration will lease and the media will take joy in reporting the activities that create a welcome reversed effect since what is in the rent’s house is also in mine”

Ikechukwu Nwosu in his study of coverage of Africa in four British and American news papers discovered that undue emphasis was still being placed on the crisis and politics in developing countries. He said that “There was a relative neglect of culture and development news opinions of black Africa and that black Africa was still largely under – reported”.

The weak position of the Africa nations besides the western nations that are powerful have left the developed nation chances to exploit and manipulated the Africa nations through certain powerful technological facilities. They use these facilities to exercise superiority in from of cultural and ideological domination which jeopardizes the national identity of the developing world. In this study of flow of information within nation Wilbur Schramm found out that new trends in the great arties were reported more than those in the villages.. This he attributed to the fact that great university libraries, newspapers experts and scholars are easily found in the urban centers than in the villages.

According to Wilbur Schramm he said that; even in the most high developed counties information is more readily available in the great cities than in rural region”.

Louts Beltrains finding showed a heavy concentration of the mass media in the cities while a majority of the rural residents were almost totally outside the reach of those media.

He noted that:

“In this way the rural people become alienated by the urban orientation of most mass media since they found little news event in the media relevant to them” in a paper on bridging the urban –rural information imbalance for even development Humphery Nwosu observed that there’s really the existence of information between the rural and the urban areas of Nigeria .

According to him he said thus;

“considering the situation it will be most unrealistic to expect that the general imbalance in the socio-economic condition of people in the two sector of the population does not affect the rate at which they get out information emanating from government or their quarters”

in this same study of Humphrey Nwosu there is an observation on the phenomenon of rural/ urban information imbalance existence in Nigeria being clear but what may not be so readily clear is what step, if any are being taken by any authority to bridge this imbalance.

Alfred Opubor in study on media coverage on rural affair in African countries they found out that the media in most African countries concentrates on the urban areas in their report of news events.

He noted that a great concentration of employment opportunities physical and social amentias are that the African government have almost adopt an unconscious policy.

Cosmas Digger in his own study found that there was imbalance of news flow between the rural areas and the urban centers in Nigeria.

As shown by his find; “ 66 .7% of the local news content of the Nigeria news paper were devoted to the urban areas 4.5% to the rural areas and about 15.2% to the international areas when the rural scene was taken alone the imbalance was over 83% in favour of the urban areas”

he also said that news flow from the urban areas of Nigeria was more than what was obtained enough the bulk of the little news about the rural areas was centered on negative events like crime draught disputes e.t.c rather than on the community development that would be beneficial to the rural dwellers.

Asuelimen sonny Eli has asked why energy should be wasted on the NWICO when the Nigeria press in guilty of the news flow offence of which western mass media are being accused of. He observed that inspire of the large population of the rural areas the volume of information flow’s scanty.

Tony Ikeakanam has discovered inadequacy in the coverage of rural events by the mass media and reports that the rural residents, whom he ignorance and does not participate in the issue that affect his every day existence

According to him, he said that;

“The media that are supposed to be the link between him and the government are far away from him most of what they offer are totally irrelevant to him and some times constitute a great assault to him”

Ikem Nwosu in his study of mass media and rural development pointed out that the objectives of the media in development is to create awareness and ensure resolution of the problems on projects. To achieve this we must go through certain process like reporting on the development in rural areas and also creating awareness and canvassing support.

He also pointed out that why we have imbalance in information flow is because of urban migration. News events are designed for towns and its inhabitants isolating the rural areas.

He stated that; “it is unusual for media men to show biases for scorn at or reducible people or their values. In development pronouncement this attitude could be courtier productive “

However he explained that communities that have noted this act view media with not , just suspicion but hostility.

He said that the reiterate for reporting rural news events are to stem the tide of urban migration harnessing rural Agriculture rural skill and to give the rural dwellers scene of belonging and unity.

Therefore newspaper should study on community journalism noted what we believe about local communities their ways of life e.t.c

C.C. Mezobe in his study on community journalism noted what we believe about local communities and event because the local communities contributed a lot in terms of our culture civilization and all that we are today the local communities have been called the cradle civilization. Since they have made so much contribution to our present living. It is necessary that we should go and learn more about them thereby reporting rescannable activities going on the rural areas than worthless events.

He further explained that the grass root of our society is in the local communities.

He state that:

“If the grass root to literate the nation is literate. If the communities are economically bought. If the communities are physically morally and spiritually healthy the nation will be physically morally and spiritually health.

In other words to maintain information balance in any society you must work at the grass root by reporting on the events going on there.

In the same study he explained that in an effort eradicate the one- way pattern of information flow and introduce a more horizontal pattern of communication or news flow the UNESCO undertook the establishment of what was called the “Rural press” in some part of African, Asia and other parts of developing countries


From the literature reviewed it is observed that despite the call for a new world information and communication order imbalance in news floe still exist between and within nations.

There is a greater concentration of communication facilities and information materials in the urban areas than in the rural areas and this has hundred the even coverage of news between the urban and rural areas.

Developed areas are given more media coverage than the less developed areas is usually information needs.

Rural dwellers do not take part in decision making on issues that concerns them most .

It is hope that results obtained from this study will be a contribution to the literatures of news flow imbalance in Nigeria. It was also observed from the literature that there is a vertical pattern of information flow from the government to the rural dweller and the rural dwellers do not contribute any way in the news making.

Moreover it was deduced that metropolitan newspaper concentrate on news event of urban area neglecting development and skill that emerge from this rural areas .

One would expect that for the developing countries to make allegation that the western mass media isolate the information about the developing countries. They themselves would be free from this same office within their own countries. Just as the little news reported about developing countries are centered on crisis and natural distracter so is the news event reported about the rural areas based only on negative events

Therefore for the fact that the rural areas are described as “nations food basket and it constitute of the masses farmers and the devoted artisan the mass media should report on the events concerning them so that enough opportunities for respite and development will be given to them. However by isolating lose their scene of unintuitive and belonging because they are neither heard nor seen.


The data general from the code sheet is presented by using the f dailies analysis and represented respectively from the various newspapers.


In all the news stories that were analyzed in the newspapers, new

From the Urban areas took more than the half of the total news covered within the period of study with about 75.5% and news from the rural areas amounted to about 24.5%. This is shown on the tables below.

From the Chi square generated from table 1, it can be seen that more column inches are given to Urban news than rural news and this lead support to hypothesis 1 which states that news events from rural areas are given less column inches than news from Urban areas. This means that rural news published are shorter than urban news published.


The two newspapers that are used for this data analysis are virtually alike in the coverages of rural urban news. The two newspapers; This day and Champion carried the same length of news stories form urban and rural areas respectively.

Contrarily more favourable news were generated by government officials in this day than in the champion and bulk of news were generated by rural residential in champion than this day.

Although both newspapers paid more attention on placement of urban news in front page but this day has more story on the front page champion newspapers. They both publish more news about areas in the side pages.

Both newspapers showed that rural news is generated more by rural residents themselves.

The two newspapers covered far less rural news events than they did Urban news events, and the few rural stories they publish tends to be shorter than urban rather given small space in the two newspapers.

Just as Wilbur Schramm observed imbalance really exist in information flow within various and because Universities experts, scholars and newspapers are easily found in the urban centres than the villages.



This study was done with the hope or aim of finding out if actually communication imbalance exist in the coverage of rural and urban news by Nigerian newspapers. It was based on a content analysis and a random sampling of 48 copies of the two dailies, THIS DAY AND CHAMPION Newspapers yearly. Favour hypothesis was tested in the study, three of which receive support and one did not.

The result indicated that there is news flow imbalance in the Nigeria press. Only few of the news published by the two national dailies during the period of study pertained to the rural areas, despite the fact that massive rural development programmes were being implemented by federal and state government.

If the result of the study are indicative of the situation on other less developed nations, then the third world countries mass media are equally guilty of perpetuating news flow imbalance of which they accused western media of


Conclusively, from the hypothesis tested, it could be observed that actually there is baize in the reporting of urban and rural news events.

It therefore concludes that media houses should pay equal attention in the reporting of news from urban and rural areas. Rural areas are the cradle of other national development, therefore development programmes and other events should be reported so as to encourage the rural dwellers spiritually and skillfully.


Imbalance in communication is a common concern of all countries, which is obvious that solution to it can no longer be delayed. It can be reduced through far reading changes in national communication process and co-operation. People needs news that will encourage them to moderation or balance their opinions.

There should be diversification of media houses. Both print and electronic media should have correspondents in all the rural areas. There should be accuse to existing media by the general public and inter change of information should be done on more equal level without dominance of the urban opportunities to reach decision based on a bond awareness of divergent facts.

Communication Imbalance – Coverage Of Rural And Urban News By Nigerian Newspapers

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