Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Use of Newspapers by Students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Use of Newspapers by Students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Information is an important element in every sector of life, be it social, economic, political, educational, industrial and technical development. In the present world, information is a very valuable commodity. Flowing through the various media, radio, television, newspaper, internet, information on a wide range of events gets to the public, and as such the mass media have great influence on public perception. Borgart (1981) reported that keeping up with the news establishes and reinforces the connection between the individual and his social environment, narrowly defined as his home or more broadly as his country or the world. The social bond is uniquely expressed by the newspapers amongst other media due to the bulk volume of information contained from which readers could select what is relevant to them. The information contained in newspapers could influence the agenda of the public, by tilting it towards those issues that they decide to cover more extensively (Cohen, 1963). According to Schoenbach (2005), newspapers are known to widen the range of public topics, events and issues their audience is aware of.

Newspapers are a vital source of information in enlightened societies; providing the most recent information to readers. Newspapers serve various purposes for different categories of users. Berelson (1949) described five ways of what newspaper reading means to different people: as respite or recreation (using it to unwind from stress or as a tension reliever), public affairs (using it to develop public opinions), for information (using it to know what is going on in the society) as entertainment (using it for pleasure or to find out about pleasurable activities) and for socialization (using it to feel joined to others beyond the family block in the broader society). The importance of newspapers by the illustrations of Cheyney (1992) is that they are the textbooks that provide up to date information on local, state, national and world affairs, the most current analysis and criticism on executive and legislative decision making, the latest in music, theatre, television, fine arts and even column and comics to make readers laugh. Babalola (2002) opined that newspapers are the most accessible written documents to the largest proportion of people of all categories, young and old, students and workers, elites and peasants, literates and illiterates. Babalola (2002) also highlighted various ways in which newspapers have been used as vehicles for facilitating literacy empowerment. Due to the way people gather daily to discuss contents of newspapers, it inevitably promotes critical thinking, retention of information, problem solving and the querying of information source.

Ayepekun (1982) writing on information utilization by policy makers in Nigeria reported that newspapers and magazines are among the five most used sources of information by policy makers. The importance of newspapers was demonstrated by Oyediran-Tidings (2004) where it was demonstrated that newspaper is the second most sought documents preceded only by textbooks among library users of Yaba College of Technology. A previous study on the use of academic library of Olabisi Onabanjo University revealed that reading the library newspapers is the third most important motivation after reading for examination and book consultation for doing assignments on why students visit the library (Oyesiku and Oduwole, 2004)

In recent times, historic newspapers from years past have risen in scholars' estimation for their unique ability to offer a picture of society and culture from a specific time period. With the proliferation of interdisciplinary studies in the humanities and social sciences, newspapers are now seen as invaluable research resources (Okorafor, 1991) in many areas of study. Only newspapers can offer a "snapshot" of a given time period and cover such a wide breath of political, societal, and cultural perspectives that are unclouded by subsequent reflection, prejudices, and hindsight. …

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