The COVID-19 pandemic egregiously ravaged every facet of the human world and created a grim economic outlook on businesses, industries, education and the media sector was not exempted either and as a result, media conglomerates; especially independent news agencies were grossly affected and subsequently engulfed in a myriad of challenges that disrupted the smooth process of sharing information to the public.
Hence, this research blog will examine the various measures that may be undertaken to effectively perform the role of media during a pandemic.
The Role of Mass Media and its growing significance during Covid -19: A case study on Independent News Agencies in Nigeria
This blog was created as an artefact to communicate my research ideas on The Role of Mass Media and its growing significance during Covid-19: A case study on Independent Media Agencies in Nigeria.
This attempt focuses not only on my research inclination and findings but also tried to understand the role of mass media and its growing significance during a pandemic and recommended the various measures that may be undertaken to effectively perform the role of media during pandemic situations.
The concept of mass media tends to be related and associated with the means of technology that is intended to reach a mass audience. Therefore, mass media provides a primary means of communication used to reach the vast majority of the general public.
For a country like Nigeria which has a vast population of over 200 million people, mass media is a rapidly growing phenomenon. According to a report, Nigeria is among the first ten (10) countries in the world with the highest number of social media users and they are accompanied by countries like the US, Brazil, China, Japan, India and a host of others.
These numbers are said to have increased exponentially during the pandemic. More and more users surf social media space to be updated about the reoccurring indices of the novel virus as well as to be acquainted with the government’s plans to mitigate it.
Nigerians were not free from this hook because government policies were conveyed through the media and shared quickly across various social media platforms.
Nigeria, as we know, is a multi-cultural country situated in West Africa and it has about 250 different cultures. Perhaps, different norms, beliefs, historical backgrounds and above all, there are attitudinal barriers in communication because individuals would always react differently to issues.
The culture in which individuals are socialized influences the way they communicate, and the way individuals communicate can change the culture. Culture provides its members with an implicit knowledge about how to behave in different situations and how to interpret others’ behaviour in such situations.
To strike a balance, there are hundreds of blogs, video blogs, news agencies and several other channels on the internet by which news, events and key information are passed on to the public.
Whether it is a company’s message or a government policy to curb the spread of the virus, the internet in general and mass media, in particular, has brought a fast method through which information can be shared at a quicker pace.
No doubt, mass media cannot cure a virus but can cure its spread and to keep the public informed, the media just like healthcare officers have been working hard to ensure that COVID-19 is combated. Media agencies have also been on the frontline reporting the cases, the death toll and the measures the masses should take to avoid contracting the virus.
By squarely informing the people about the pandemic, the media also strives to shape public opinion about the spread and the precautionary measures that can help to mitigate it. Based on this, media agencies at their perils played a crucial role in shaping public opinion and perception despite all the social seclusions.
While one may be wondering how media agencies were able to stand buoyant against the speedy spread and state of panic. On the other hand, it was grim and tough for news producers because news producers were engulfed in a myriad of challenges since, at the time, reportage of COVID-19 has proved effective in creating awareness about safety and preventive measures thereby helping to minimise and contain the spread of the virus.
• Research Objective 1: To understand the role of Mass Media and its growing significance during Covid-19.
• Research Objective 2: To evaluate the various measures that may be undertaken to effectively perform the role of media during a pandemic.
• RQ1: What is the effective role of Mass Media and its growing significance during Covid-19?
• RQ2: What are the various measures that may be undertaken to effectively perform the role of media during a pandemic?
The data collection had twenty staff across two independent media agencies in Nigeria. The study’s goal is to determine the role of mass media and its growing significance during the Covid – 19 epidemic. The use of questionnaire was used to gather primary data and the purposive technique was employed.
To understand the role of Mass Media and its growing significance during Covid-19.
Mass media describes media technologies which are utilised to disseminate information to a broad audience. Moreover, the main function of mass media is to communicate several messages through movies, radio, television, advertising, magazines, newspaper, radio and so on. Additionally, mass media tends to be associated with means of technology which is focused on reaching a huge number of audiences.
So, this render fundamental communication means which is utilised for reaching the large majority of general people. At present times, this has been observed that mass media plays crucial roles across the world. In addition to this, the world of media is forming with whole passing days.
The newspaper was replaced by radios, this was replaced with TV and television was replaced with the internet. Also, currently, there are numerous channels of interest through news, events as well as information that is passed on to people. COVID-19 have disrupted the overall industry with media as well. For this, there are several video blogs, blogs, social and many others are the manner to represent the media.
Furthermore, this has been highlighted as well as monitored that the fast spread of COVID-19 at the international level that became a source of public worry, as well as various unknowns related to particular new pathogens, developed panic states. Therefore, during that mass media became the key information source regarding the novel coronavirus thus, the recent investigation is concentrated on evaluating as well as analysing the mass media’s role in the global pandemic of COVID-19.
With the effect of Covid-19 on the global market, the importance of Mass Media has increased as people are scared to move out of their houses because of the new guidelines of the government. People nowadays watch every important news about any situation through their phones and the information through apps that are now easily available on their mobile phones (Ifroh and Asrianti, 2020).
In the pandemic situation, mass media is only considered a great method for communities and individuals to stay in connection with the people even when they are physically separated from each other. Mass media plays an important role in the time of pandemics as it helps businesses in carrying out their business operations effectively for attaining more growth and market share in the market. The role of Mass Media in the pandemic situation is defined below:
• Source of information – Mass Media plays an important role in gaining reliable and valuable information for the people during the Covid-19 situation. The government and businesses have used mass media for delivering qualitative information about the products and services that they provide to customers in the business market. It helps the companies in gaining more customer value and loyalty toward the products that they sell in the market (Ferreira and Borges, 2020).
• Marketing platform for companies – Most companies choose to do marketing through the use of Mass Media to deliver productive and useful information about the services that they offer (Sereenonchai and Arunrat, 2021). During the situation of Covid-19 in the market, many businesses have started selling and promoting their products or services through online portals to gain more success and profitability in the competitive market. Branded companies mainly focus on implementing strategic plans for delivering services online to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy.
• Bringing positivity amidst a scary time – The situation of the pandemic has affected the life and living of so many people and this reduces the value of trust and loyalty among the customers as they are scared of coming in contact with a person (Qiao, Ruan and Pabel, 2021). The help of Mass Media helps in bringing positivity to the life of business persons as they can share about their situation and how they are adapting to the changing situation. The use of mass media in the situation of pandemics helped the company in gaining more share in the market and a large number of customers.
• Delivering up-to-date information – Mass Media helps in delivering up-to-date information to the people on television, and social media channels about the Covid-19 situation and how the health organizations are dealing with the current pandemic situation. Mass media also helps in providing information about the areas that are more affected by the coronavirus and needs to bring changes and what the government is doing and taking measures to tackle the tough crisis because of the deadly virus (Mbogo, 2020).
The finding shows that the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how the spread of misinformation, amplified on social media and other digital platforms is proving to be as much a threat to global public health as the virus itself. Technology advancements and social media create opportunities to keep people safe, informed and connected. However, the same tools also enable and amplify the current epidemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic. Finding further suggests that the framing pattern adopted by the media agencies helped Nigerians to take precautionary measures.
As per the view of (Sutarto, Sari and Fathurrochman, 2020), Covid-19 has adversely affected the overall growth and profitability of most businesses because of the complete lock-down situation. Mass Media plays a very crucial role in delivering better services to the people through the use of advertising and social media platforms.
This helps in giving important information about the realities and true information about the current situation and about the problems which people are facing because of the effect of viruses globally. There are various sources of delivering key and important information about the effect of Covid-19 in the global market because this hampers the growth and success of many organizations in the market.
The situation of the pandemic has created a fear in the minds of people which affects their social life also as the virus has taken away the life of many people. Media is the only mode of the platform that helps in delivering news related to the pandemic to the people and this helps in building awareness in the minds of people about what measures they need to take (Kulkarni and Anantharama, 2020).
Media can be of many types by which information can be passed to the people of the country and those are defined as newspapers, social media news apps, and many more. The media agency of Nigeria controls and manages its employees for achieving reliable and correct information about the effect of the Covid-19 and how it affected the whole population and the problems people are facing.
Government regulations in the tough crisis of the pandemic have changed the living behaviour and lifestyle of people as they are now more health-conscious and follow a healthy and positive culture to get protected from the effect of coronavirus. With minimum availability of products and services to the customer in the market is the major challenge that most of the company are facing.
Adopting better channels of media is important for the companies so that true and correct information can be passed through these channels which results in reducing misconceptions about the current happenings. Several different types of measures improve the role of media in the pandemic situation in the global economy.
For a multi-cultural and populated country like Nigeria, strong and effective channels of media for delivering important and accurate information about the effect of coronavirus on the public is non-negotiable.
For proper and effective performance of the role of media in the small country of Nigeria, they must provide education to all the people so that they use social media for gathering information about the severe effect of the virus. As Covid-19 can spread from one person to another, the population of the country needs to know about the severe effects which help in protecting from the effect of the virus (Esposito and Principi, 2020).
Another measure that helps in the effective role of the media in the situations of Covid-19 is that it reduces the spread of inappropriate and wrong information because this increases the effect of the virus more in the minds of people. Wrong information among people living in a highly populated country such as Nigeria delivers wrong information about the given current prevailing situation which affects life more drastically so it is important for the government to deliver the right data and information to people.
The companies that use social media for promoting sales and growth during the pandemic situation help in building a high-quality image in the business market. For improving the role of media in the current pandemic situation they must adopt the right media channel for showing and delivering information about the current situation of a pandemic. Social media help the company in gaining actual learning and bringing improvement in the life quality of the people (Mahyoob, 2020).
Adopting better technological methods is also an important measure that needs to be considered by the employees of the media agencies of Nigeria as it helps in improving the channel for forecasting the information which is available to every person.
Media agencies can also make use of innovative social media apps for driving the attraction of the people so that more people can be aware of the preventive measures that they need to take for protecting themselves from the effect of the virus.
Media is the only way to reach and capture a large number of audiences in the whole world and how they are affected by the situations of the Covid-19. As with the changing trends the situations and conditions are changing and people are now becoming more advanced in using social media and want to get accurate and correct information on their phones.
Adopting new and different channels of social media for showcasing the news to the people is another measure that can help the media agency of Nigeria to improve the process and role of social media in the time of pandemic situations.
The media agency needs to train and develop its employees properly and effectively for gaining increased profits and growth in the business market (Khajanchi, Sarkar and Mondal, 2020).
Improving the communication among the employees of the media agency is an important factor that needs to be considered for gaining reliable and right information about the problems that people are facing because of the effect of the virus.
Social media helps in warning people about the exact effect of the coronavirus around the globe and also the information about the hospitals and how they are dealing with the tough situations and what they are doing for preventing the patients from the effect of the virus.
It is the responsibility of the media agency of Nigeria to develop better platforms for delivering accurate information choosing Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook for conveying accurate data and information as most people spend most of their time on social media in the situation of Covid-19 in the whole world.