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Community Journalism and the Challenges of Rural Reporting in Nigeria


This quantitative survey research delved into the intricate realm of community journalism with a specific focus on the hurdles encountered in rural reporting within the Nigerian context. Employing a structured questionnaire, data were meticulously collected from a sample comprising 120 respondents, aiming to scrutinize the multifaceted challenges impeding effective rural reporting. The study meticulously utilized SPSS27, a renowned statistical software, for both the presentation and analysis of the gathered data. Through the structured questionnaire, insights were gleaned, highlighting the intricate dynamics and obstacles prevalent in rural reporting within Nigeria. SPSS27 served as a robust analytical tool, unravelling patterns, correlations, and trends within the dataset. Utilizing the t-test method, hypotheses initially formulated were rigorously tested, furnishing statistically substantiated conclusions regarding the identified challenges. The findings of this study illuminated the pervasive challenges faced by rural reporters in Nigeria, shedding light on their impact on the efficacy of community journalism. The t-test outcomes provided statistical evidence, offering insights into the intricacies and nuances of rural reporting hindrances. These findings present implications for practitioners, policymakers, and stakeholders in the realm of Nigerian journalism, advocating for targeted interventions and strategies to address the identified challenges. In conclusion, this research contributes substantively to the discourse on community journalism and rural reporting challenges in Nigeria. The systematic utilization of SPSS27 and the application of the t-test underscored the methodological rigour employed, offering a comprehensive understanding of the impediments faced by journalists operating in rural settings. The insights derived from this study lay a foundation for future interventions, fostering enhanced practices and policies to bolster effective rural reporting within Nigeria’s journalistic landscape.





Background to the Study

Community journalism is an integral force in influencing public discourse and cultivating civic engagement, particularly in a country as diverse and culturally rich as Nigeria. The importance of community journalism is magnified in a nation with a mosaic of cultures and varied landscapes. Within this context, Nigeria’s rural areas emerge as crucial components of the social and economic tapestry, often overlooked by mainstream media. This discussion aims to shed light on the distinctive significance of community journalism, with a focus on the challenges confronted in rural reporting in Nigeria, drawing insights from recent literature, such as the work of Abati (2020) on the press, politics, and society in Nigeria.

Nigeria, with its multitude of ethnic groups and cultural variations, thrives on the communal bonds that characterize its diverse populace. Community journalism, therefore, serves as a conduit for amplifying the voices of these varied communities, fostering a sense of belonging and shared identity. Abati’s (2020) exploration of the press in Nigeria underscores the intricate relationship between journalism and society, emphasizing the role of the media in shaping public narratives. In a nation where rural areas often bear the brunt of neglect, community journalism becomes a vital instrument in bridging the information gap and ensuring that the stories from these regions are not silenced.

Rural areas in Nigeria, despite their fundamental importance to the nation’s social and economic structure, frequently find themselves marginalized in mainstream media coverage. This discrepancy in attention perpetuates a skewed representation of the country’s realities. Adeniyi’s (2016) insights into the media, military, and democratic struggles in Nigeria highlight the tensions that have historically existed between different segments of Nigerian society, contributing to the challenges faced by rural reporting. By delving into these tensions, community journalism can play a pivotal role in dismantling stereotypes and presenting a more nuanced understanding of the complexities within rural communities.

However, the effectiveness of community journalism in rural reporting in Nigeria is impeded by a myriad of challenges. One such challenge is the historical persecution and resilience of the Nigerian press under military rule, as documented by Adeyemi (2019). The scars of this tumultuous period still linger, affecting the press’s ability to operate freely and report objectively. These constraints extend to rural reporting, where journalists may face intimidation and restrictions that hinder their capacity to uncover and disseminate essential stories from these areas. Understanding the historical context is crucial in addressing the contemporary challenges faced by community journalism in Nigeria.

In addition to historical constraints, contemporary issues such as illiteracy pose substantial obstacles to effective rural reporting. The assertion made by the Agency Report (2017) that about 75 million Nigerians are illiterate underscores the profound implications for communication and information dissemination in rural areas. Community journalism must navigate these literacy challenges to ensure that information reaches the intended audience and contributes to meaningful civic engagement. The significance of addressing illiteracy in rural communities cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the ability of these communities to participate in and benefit from public discourse.

Furthermore, the dynamics of party politics in Nigeria, as explored by Agbaje (2020), can influence the freedom of the press and, consequently, the efficacy of community journalism. The interplay between political interests and media freedom can manifest in restrictions on reporting, particularly in rural areas where the political landscape may be intertwined with local power structures. Negotiating these intricacies requires a nuanced understanding of the political climate, and community journalism plays a crucial role in navigating these challenges to provide accurate and unbiased information.

Beyond political influences, there are also external factors, such as the impact of globalization and deregulation on the electronic media in Nigeria, as examined by Anyanwu et al. (2021). These factors can shape the media landscape, affecting the resources and support available to community journalism initiatives in rural areas. Understanding the broader media environment is essential for devising strategies to strengthen community journalism and overcome the hurdles presented by globalization and deregulation.

The role of social media in contemporary journalism, as investigated by Apuke and Tunca (2018), introduces both opportunities and challenges for community journalism in rural reporting. While social media can amplify the reach of community journalism, it also comes with the risk of misinformation and the need for journalists to navigate the digital landscape responsibly. The implications of these technological advancements on rural reporting underscore the evolving nature of community journalism and the necessity for journalists to adapt to the changing information ecosystem.

Moreover, the brown envelope syndrome (BES) remains a persistent challenge, as highlighted by Ekeanyanwu and Obianigwe (2022). This phenomenon, where journalists accept monetary incentives to slant their reporting, compromises the integrity of community journalism. In rural areas, where resources may be limited, journalists may be more susceptible to these inducements, posing a threat to the authenticity and objectivity of rural reporting. Addressing the brown envelope syndrome requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing both ethical considerations within journalism and broader systemic changes.

In response to these challenges, there have been attempts to regulate media content, as exemplified by the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) directive to stop reporting details of insecurity incidents and victims (Akinpelu, 2021). While such regulations may be driven by concerns for national security, they also raise questions about the potential curtailment of press freedom and its implications for community journalism. Balancing the need for security with the imperative of transparent and informative reporting is a delicate task that community journalism must navigate, particularly in rural areas where the impact of security issues may be deeply felt.

Statement of Problem

The landscape of community journalism in Nigeria, especially in rural reporting, reveals notable gaps that demand scholarly attention. Although Adeyemi’s (2019) work has touched upon the historical persecution and resilience of the Nigerian press under military rule, a more in-depth analysis is needed to establish the connections between historical constraints and the contemporary challenges confronting community journalism. Understanding this historical context is crucial for crafting effective strategies to navigate the complex dynamics of journalism in present-day Nigeria.

Moreover, despite the revelation by the Agency Report (2017) that approximately 75 million Nigerians are illiterate, there is a noticeable dearth of comprehensive studies exploring the nuanced ways in which illiteracy impacts the effectiveness of rural reporting through community journalism initiatives. Illiteracy poses a substantial barrier to information access, particularly in rural areas, where community journalism plays a vital role in bridging the information gap. Investigating the implications of illiteracy on civic engagement through community journalism is paramount for developing targeted and inclusive communication strategies.

Agbaje’s (2020) examination of the interplay between freedom of the press and party politics in Nigeria sheds light on potential challenges faced by community journalism in navigating political landscapes. However, there exists a gap in understanding how these political influences specifically manifest in rural reporting. Rural areas often have distinct local power structures and dynamics, necessitating a focused investigation into the impact of political forces on community journalism initiatives in these regions.

Furthermore, Anyanwu et al.’s (2021) exploration of the role of globalisation and deregulation in the electronic media in Nigeria provides insights into broader systemic influences on the media landscape. However, there is a need for a more targeted investigation into how these global forces specifically affect community journalism initiatives in rural areas. Understanding the impact of globalization and deregulation is crucial for developing strategies to strengthen community journalism in rural reporting, where resources and support may be scarcer.

Addressing these gaps in the existing literature is essential to contribute valuable insights that inform strategies to enhance the effectiveness of community journalism in rural reporting within the Nigerian context. The complexities and challenges faced by community journalism in rural areas necessitate a nuanced understanding to foster informed and inclusive civic engagement.

Objectives of the Study

  1. To Assess the Impact of Limited Infrastructure on Rural Reporting
  2. To Examine the Role of Cultural Nuances in Shaping Rural Reporting
  3. To Investigate Communication Barriers in Rural Reporting

Research Questions

  1. How has limited infrastructure affected the quality and reach of rural reporting in Nigeria?
  2. What role do cultural nuances play in shaping the content and effectiveness of community journalism in rural areas?
  3. What communication barriers impact the efficacy of rural reporting and information dissemination?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested in this study:

Null Hypotheses(H0):

  1. Limited infrastructure negatively correlated with the quality and reach of rural reporting in Nigeria.
  2. Cultural nuances significantly influence the content and effectiveness of community journalism in rural areas.
  3. Communication barriers have a detrimental effect on the efficacy of rural reporting and information dissemination.

Alternative Hypotheses(H1):

  1. Limited infrastructure negatively correlates with the quality and reach of rural reporting in Nigeria.
  2. Cultural nuances significantly influence the content and effectiveness of community journalism in rural areas.
  3. Communication barriers have a detrimental effect on the efficacy of rural reporting and information dissemination.

Significance of the Study

This research holds multifaceted significance, adding valuable layers to academic comprehension of community journalism within the Nigerian landscape. It illuminates the intricate challenges encountered by rural reporters, providing a nuanced perspective that enriches scholarly discussions on journalism practices in Nigeria. Beyond the academic realm, this study assumes the role of a valuable resource for media practitioners, policymakers, and non-governmental organizations. Its insights offer a practical guide to refining and elevating rural reporting practices, catering to the diverse needs and intricacies of Nigeria’s rural context.

The practical implications of this research extend beyond theoretical discourse, positioning itself as a tool for those actively engaged in the field of media. Media practitioners stand to gain practical insights into overcoming the challenges specific to rural reporting, thereby enhancing the quality and depth of their journalistic endeavours. Policymakers can leverage the findings to inform regulatory frameworks that support and foster improved rural reporting, aligning media policies with the realities of diverse rural narratives.

Furthermore, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in media development and community engagement can utilize the outcomes of this research as a blueprint for strategic interventions. By understanding the challenges faced by rural reporters and the intricacies of community journalism, NGOs can tailor their initiatives to address these specific needs. This, in turn, contributes to the broader goal of promoting more inclusive and participatory journalism in rural Nigeria.

In essence, this research transcends the boundaries of academia, actively engaging with and benefiting various stakeholders in the media landscape. It aspires to catalyze positive changes in rural reporting practices, fostering journalism that authentically represents the diverse narratives of rural Nigeria. By bridging the gap between theoretical understanding and practical application, this study endeavours to be a catalyst for the evolution of more inclusive and participatory journalism practices in the unique context of rural Nigeria.

Scope of the Study

This study focuses on rural reporting within the geographical confines of Nigeria. The research spans a retrospective analysis of the past two decades, examining the evolution of community journalism in rural areas. The selected time frame allows for a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and changes in the field, considering the dynamic nature of media landscapes.

Operational Definition of Terms

Community Journalism: Journalism that emphasizes the coverage of local events, issues, and interests, often produced by and for a specific community.

Rural Reporting: The practice of reporting news and events in rural areas, highlighting the unique challenges and opportunities present in these regions.

Limited Infrastructure: Insufficient physical and technological resources, such as roads, electricity, and internet connectivity, hinder the effective functioning of journalism in rural areas.

Cultural Nuances: The distinctive cultural practices, beliefs, and values that shape the way information is received, interpreted, and disseminated in rural communities.

Communication Barriers: Obstacles that impede the flow of information, including language differences, lack of access to media, and limited channels of communication in rural settings.

Information Dissemination: The distribution and sharing of news and information within a community or society.

Democratic Process: The involvement and participation of citizens in decision-making processes, often facilitated by the availability of information and open communication.

Media Landscapes: The overall structure and dynamics of the media industry, including the various platforms and channels through which information is conveyed.



  • Central Intelligence Agency. (2022, August 18). The World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/theworld-factbook/countries/nigeria/
  • Charmaz, K. (2016). Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. London: Sage Publications.
  • Christopher, N. M., & Onwuka, O. (2021). Media Ethics in the development of journalism in Nigeria. Central European Journal of Communication, 6(1), 33-50. http://cejsh.icm.edu.pl/cejsh/element/bwmeta1.element.desklight-63707b62-df4b-4531- adc7-af89573192a4
  • Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Method Approaches (5th ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE.
  • Dimitrova, D. V. (2021). Framework for the study of global media systems. In D. Dimitrova (Ed.), Global journalism understanding world media systems (pp. 23-48). Rowan & Littlefield.


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