This chapter presents an overview of the entire research report. It covers background of the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitations of the study, and finally structure of the thesis.
1.1 Background of the study
Think about breaking news that you hear, a favorite show that you watch or latest current events that you see recently. Surely, the major source of the information is mass media. Mass media is a primary means of communication used to reach the vast majority of the general public. The most common platforms for mass media are newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet. The general public typically relies on the mass media to get information regarding political, socio-economic as well as entertainment.
It is known that mass media plays significant role by connecting across the globe. It has the capacity to reach wide audiences at the same time with the same message. The way of mass media communication of message is stronger and influential which impact upon society. Mass media have been influential on people’s daily lives. In fact, newspapers, television and radio take a lion’s share in this regard.
Mass media allows people to take part in events and interact with peoples over long distance. TV, radio and print media bring the outside world into our homes. It served as a friend as well as an important source of information for the audience.
It is obvious that before there was the Internet, television, or the radio, there was the newspaper. The newspaper was the original platform for mass media.
According to the Washington Post, on the history of newspaper Gutenberg’s invention launched a revolution marked by repeated advances in technology and, as a result, a popularization of the ideals of liberty and freedom of information exchange. The first publications that could be called “newspapers” appeared in Strasbourg and in Wolfenbuttel in Germany in 1609.They distinguished themselves from other printed material by being published on a regular basis. The newspapers reported on a variety of current events to a broad public audience. Within a few decades, newspapers could be found in all the major cities of Europe, from Venice to London. For a long period of time, the public in various parts of the world relied on writers and journalists for the local newspapers to provide them with the latest news in current events (https://www.washingtonpost.com).
Compared to a few decades ago, our lives have gradually changed over time with technology now fully embedded in both our professional and private lives. For instance, the innovation and developing of technology is turned the way flow of information. As a result, the new media emerged with new habits of communication. The expansion of new media, forces the traditional mass media industry to be flexible and converged (Jenkins, 2006).
Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes. In fact, convergence changes the techno-social, societal communication systems towards integrated societal communications system. Thus, the distinctive features of traditional media houses have been challenged by new media (Latzer, 1997).
In the consequences of new media, the traditional media houses are seriously affected with revenue, technological facilitation coast, restructured editorial work and staff. Changes by convergence can primarily be considered as structural change, with wide-ranging second-level effects for content and creativity (Potts, 2011; Kolo, 2010).The convergence of media outlets is taking at this juncture as a means of survival.
The Internet and it’s countless of applications enable individuals also to participate in multi-media environments that jointly organize information. The Internet merges the three basic advantages of press, radio, and television. This new medium presents the immediacy of the radio, the wide and deep information offered by the press and the impact of the images in television (Shiver, 2010).
According to Marshal McLuhan’s (1964), “The Medium is the Message” theory stated that the way that we send and receive information is more important than the information itself. A few years ago, audiences were consuming information by watching television or listening to the radio. In the 21st century also the audiences are become making their own information as well. The modernization of technology gave to a better chance for everybody to be part of information gathering, processing and distributing.
The development of media technology occurred with the addition of radio and television does not terminate one to another. Even today, newspapers continue to focus exclusively on news, whereas television and radio focus more on entertainment but are still necessarily mediums for news. So, the specific types of content are not essentially linked to one media outlet, as the Internet has shown us. Television did not kill radio. Each old medium was forced to coexist with emerging media (Jenkins, 2006).
The news production and profit cycle started long ago with the popularity of the first mass news medium, newspapers. At the present, the popularity of online media is continuing among news consumers. Consequently, the functions of newspapers are at risk. Journalism is most often seen as an institution in decline. It tries to catch up with technology but is forced to do so within the organizational constraints of the newsroom and the institutional ecology it operates in (Shiver, 2010).
These facts have also prevailed in media industry of Ethiopia. In the country, it is common to see that the new media has dominated the traditional media institutions. To cope up with the situation, newspapers, TV shows, radio programs, and even movies are available on the Internet through laptops, PCs, iPads and even smart phones.
Background of the Organization
The Reporter is a bi-weekly newspaper published in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia since ———-month and year. The newspaper appears both in Amharic and English and is owned by the Media Communications Center (MCC) with the motto of “Free Press, Free Speech, and Free Spirit”.
The Reporter is working hard towards combining the print and online services as integrated newsroom. The Reporter expects its staff members to seek and convey impartial and balanced facts in all aspects of their work. Staff members are to act with integrity, to cover the news as impartially as possible – “without fear or favor”, to treat readers, news sources, advertisers and others fairly and openly.
The Reporter and members of its news department and editorial page staff share an interest in avoiding conflict of interest and maintaining independence. Source
The Reporter’s motto expresses the ideal of freedom that we, the journalists and editors, hope to enjoy and promote within our profession: “Free Press, Free Speech, Free Spirit.” These words are a reflection of independent journalistic practices towards which we aspire. In the immediate sense, these words and ideas will be guiding principles underlying every choice we make, from the Hub, and reporting to photographs, cartoons and design. We will courageously contribute to a free press in doing so, we will strive to advance that universal ideal in Ethiopia. Source
It is clearly known that the impact of Internet on the printed journalism is not only in the developed nations but in the developing countries including Ethiopia. The traditional route of receiving news via a newspaper has evolved into a more digital path and dispatching the most updated and breaking news to its readers online before it is published on the newspaper.
As the modern technologies have given specially to the print media the ability to adopt new forms of publications, The Reporter which is among the few influential and popular newspapers in the country has already applied media convergence and tries to meet the demands of its readers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is obvious that newspapers were the leading source of information which makes sense because the first media outlet was created in the form of newspaper. Since then newspapers have been playing important role in disseminating political, socio-economic issues as well as entertainment across the globe.
It is a plain truth that the invention of the Internet and digital communications has been changing the way of life of people all over the world. The technology has greatly changed the way people communicate, interact with each other, and entertain themselves.
Modern technologies have given mass communication media the ability to adopt new forms of publications never explored before. This is, of course, a good opportunity to the readers/spectators of the media to access breaking news or other latest information timely through PC, laptops, iPads, and smart phones.
At present time The Reporter is among the few newspapers that are applying media convergence in the country and publishing news and other contents in different formats so as to be competitive in the media industry.
The target of this study is to explore how the Internet impacts the printed journalism world especially on the news. Particularly, the study will find out the opportunities and challenges of media convergence on the news in the case of The Reporter which is among the few influential and popular newspapers in Ethiopia that has already launched online version since ——–month and year.
1.3 Research Objectives
The research objectives are stated below whereby the research problem is shaped in a way that can be researchable and investigated.
1.3.1 General Objective
The general objective of the study is to find out the opportunities and challenges of media convergence of the newspaper on the news, the case of The Reporter newspaper.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
Specifically, the objectives of the study include:
i. The main advantage(s) of The Reporter newspaper in utilizing media convergence particularly on the news.
ii. To find out opportunities of media convergence of The Reporter newspaper especially on the news.
iii. To analyze the influence of media convergence on the newspaper on the content and format of the news.
iv. To find out the major challenge(s) in utilizing media convergence of the newspaper on the news part.
1.4 Research Questions
This study is designed to find out and answer the following basic research questions:
i. What are the main advantage(s) of The Reporter newspaper in utilizing media convergence particularly on the news?
ii. What are the main opportunities of media convergence of The Reporter newspaper on the news part?
iii. How does the influence of media convergence of the newspaper describe particularly on the content and format of the news?
iv. What are the major challenge(s) in utilizing convergence of the newspaper on the news?
1.5 Significance of the study
It is hoped that this research work clearly finds out the opportunities and challenges of media convergence of The Reporter newspaper on the news part. Thus, the result of the research has of a paramount importance for the media institution so as to understand and further improve the weakness and gaps of convergence of the newspaper on the news part.
This study is significant for the researcher to gain a better knowledge and understanding in the area. The output of the study is also important to The Reporter newspaper in analyzing the advantages as well as challenges of convergence and further makes informed decision for the effective and efficient utilization. Furthermore, the finding is vital to media institution in understanding the current status of convergence and will further develop better strategy to meet the demands of its readers.
Since media convergence is in its infant stage in Ethiopia, the findings of this research work is valuable to both print and electronic media managers that have not yet launched online version.
On top of that this study encourages other researchers to conduct further study in media convergence by providing valuable information and immensely contribute to improve the media industry in the country.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study focuses onopportunities and challenges of media convergence of the newspaper particularly on the news part. Among the print media institutions that have been working in the country, the research focuses on The Reporter newspaper due to time constraints. However, it would be better if the research incorporates other public or private newspapers that are popular and influential in the country.
Moreover, the study on convergence of the newspaper is limited only to the news part of The Reporter newspaper.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
The result of this study should be understood having the following limitations in mind:
? This research work is limited to convergence of The Reporter newspaper among the newspaper published in Ethiopia.For this reason, the study population is restricted only to one print media institution.
? This research is also excluded otherpublic or private newspapersas well as electronic media.
? The research work has also time constraint to conduct the study in the given period of time.
1.8 Structure of the Thesis
This research paper encompasses five chapters. The first chapter is the introductory chapter that contains background of the study, statement of the problem, research questions, significance, scope as well as limitations of the study. The second chapter discusses the review of literature related with overview of media convergence, opportunities of convergence, challenges of media convergence, —————–. The third chapter deals with the methodology of the research activity, the fourth chapter presents data analysis and interpretation based on the collected data and conceptual framework. Finally, the conclusion and recommendation are presented in chapter five.