Introduction to Mass Communication Principles and Practices

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Introduction

There is a joke about a science undergraduate in a Nigerian University who in his final year had to wonder aloud: ‘When will I ever read the complete book on the courses I have taken All of them have the title ‘Introduction to…’ As any student of communication studies in any Nigerian University would attest, he/she has had a surfeit of introductory texts to various aspects of the various courses. Certainly there can never be a final word on these broad divisions of the communication enterprise. Every scholar, teacher or student has something to say about communication.

It is important to note that communication studies has emerged as a distinct discipline with several parental claims and siblings. It is not surprising that from the craftsmen to the core professional in other disciplines they seem to see themselves as experts.

On the other hand, even those who have veered into the discipline from other professions have tended to be exclusivist in their attitude towards others on the outside. Currently, there is a needless and unproductive debate as to whether communication studies should be domiciled in the arts, social sciences or management sciences. The originators of this hairsplitting exercise have often been teachers of communication in university who in turn affect policy making institutions like the National Universities Commission with their rancorous verbiage.

This book is not about the debate but it is to show that because of the multi-disciplinary nature of the pursuits of scholars in the broad field of communication, it is not wise to pigeonhole the pedagogy within a limited perspective. That is why, in this book, we have treated history, development communication with its sociological perspectives, management issues, broadcasting, advertising, legal and ethical issues, conflict management, writing and community relations. While we acknowledge the critical role or technology in ensuring the delivery of communication messages, we equally emphasize the content and manner of packaging for delivery. That is why we do not see communication as strictly arts, social science or management science.

Thus, some day, the rigidity on both sides of the pedantic divide may break down and we shall have a brand new communication agenda which shall embrace, in its wake, all the key elements which make this great and dynamic discipline what it is the world over. Most of the contributors to this book are young new voices that must be heard. They are young not just on account of their age but because they have not as yet received exposure nationally. Some have been practitioners who have worked for various media, while some have been in the field where they put to practice some of the views on the integrative role of the media as well as their role in development communication planning. Still some may not sound excitingly fresh in their thoughts but they surely have their own unique ways of re-presenting old ideas on our cafeteria of intellectual turbulence.

This work was a project arising from the need for the young Department of Mass Communication at Delta State University to assert its Nigerianness. At the time we canvassed the idea of the book in early 2005 we had thought the text would be in the market before the end of that year. As anyone who has taught in a Nigerian University would affirm, the volume of work in the system is always so much that only the red hot academic who – does not have extra-curricular responsibilities can sometimes meet publishing deadlines. We had to move deadlines many times until we decided that it was enough if some of the contents were not to become stale.

Even at the time of writing this introduction some contributors who were not able to meet the deadline were still holding up certain aspects of this work. But here we are with a brand new text to share our musings with our colleagues and students who may ?nd something worth chewing in this book. And there are here errors in the rendering…

Des Wilson
Professor of Communication Arts

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Table of Contents

    1. The Nigerian Mass Media: A Historical Perspective by E.O. Ekeli.
    2. Framework for Development Communication Planning in Nigeria by Grade O. Imoh, Ph. D.
    3. News Management in Nigerian Newspapers by Eserinme McCarthy Mojaye.
    4. Expectations, Reality and Prospects in a Deregulated Broadcast Industry in Nigeria by Majority Oji.
    5. The Influence of Advertising Messages on Consumer Buying Behaviour by Festus P. Olise.
    6. Press Freedom and Media Law in Nigeria by Emmanuel Ufuophu – Biri.
    7. Mediation and Negotiation as ParaCommunication Skills for Con?ict Management by Des Wilson.
    8. Advertising Writing by Ben Nwanne.
    9. Principles and Practice of Community Relations by H. G. 0. Igben.

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