On Bended Knees

By: Kevin Onyenankeya   Kehinde Oyesomi  

In the past decades, Nigerian newspapers competed intensely for scoops. Reporters jostled to be the first to file that ground-breaking story. But lately, exclusives have become rare occurrence in many Nigeria newspapers. Scores of newspapers now major in recycling handouts and press releases from politicians and corporate entities. Media critics, argue that investigative journalism in Nigeria is in dire straits. For a country with one of the most robust and freest media in Africa, investigative journalism should have unencumbered flourish, but the reverse appears the case. Why is investigative journalism in its tailspin? Is there a transformation in the media culture of riveting journalism? This study examines why investigative journalism has become endangered in Nigeria. It examines the role of sectional politics, political partisanship, bribery and corruption, threat to life, poor incentives as well as ownership structure in the gradual disappearance of investigative journalism from Nigerian newspapers. To achieve these objectives, twelve structured interviews involving editors and reporters in four newspaper organisations in Lagos and Abuja were conducted. The two cities are where media are mostly produced and consumed, where tensions and struggles for control of information, communication, political thoughts and social discourses take place. It is also in these cities that important political, social and economic decisions are taken and where you have high incidence of criminal and mindboggling atrocities occurring daily.

Media, investigative journalism, media culture, transformation
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Kevin Onyenankeya

Research Fellow, Communication, North-West University, South Africa
-, South Africa

Dr. Kehinde Oyesomi

Senior Lecturer/Researcher, Covenant University, Nigeria