Comparative analysis of the coverage of the New Vision and the Daily Monitor on rural poverty alleviation in Uganda from 1st January, 2007 to 31st December, 2009
Agwanta, Alfred John Olot
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Aim: The purpose of this study was to assess the treatment accorded to the coverage of rural poverty alleviation in Uganda in both the New Vision and the Daily Monitor newspapers which are the most widely circulated daily newspapers in the country. Methodology: Going through all the 470 articles after identifying them from both the New Vision and the Daily Monitor newspapers from 1st January 2007 to 31st December 2009 required rigorous work especially as the span of time for the accomplishment of the task was short. The researcher managed to identify key words or descriptors of poverty prior to embarking on identifying the articles in the newspapers. He looked for the words from the contents of the articles and then examined them. When he found them suitable and appeared more than once in the texts, he proceeded with the content analysis of the articles systematically following the structured coding sheet. Other articles which either did not have word descriptors of poverty or appeared only once were left out. The researcher was able to move through all the 378 issues of the newspapers, thus, raising 470 articles in one month. Results: On average, 2 articles were obtained from each day’s issue and there was a reduction in the poverty alleviation articles’ coverage from 2007 to 2009. The Daily Monitor led in the overall counts of articles. It also led in sub-themes of causes of poverty; outcome of interventions, but the New Vision led in sub-theme of interventions. The articles were poorly covered because a majority of them were concerned with only one of the sub-themes. The highest monthly contribution was in June followed by September. The leading sources were journalists. Investigative study was the leading mode of presentation followed by report on specific events. The gender focus was skewed towards males. Geographically, the focus was on national news articles followed by regional news articles. The Daily Monitor led in soft news and hard news whereas the New Vision led on positive news. The positive news was more in all the publications. Most of the news articles were in the regional section and majority were after the fifth page of the newspapers. Navigability was good because the majority of the news articles had no jumps. News values that form the basis for selection of the articles were action and influence. The New Vision mostly used action and influence whereas the Daily Monitor used action and status of location The modal news value was 2 signifying poor selection of articles. Presentations with illustrations were fairly done, and the only weakness was that the illustrations were small ones, mostly 150 squared centimeters each. Black and white photographs dominated. Conclusion: Although all these analyses and interpretations were based on the subjective views of the researcher, it portrayed the way the Ugandan two daily newspapers cover pertinent social issues like rural poverty alleviation. Therefore, future similar researches should be carried out on similar topics so that some crucially required information for development is acquired. The media should continue with publishing poverty alleviation articles and consider making them interesting, clear, emotionally engaging, attractive and use simple language which can be understood by readers.