Mass Communication Project Topics

Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper among Residents

Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper among Residents



This study evaluated Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper among Residents. The design for the study is a survey research design. Four research questions were answered using mean and standard deviation. Samples of 360 persons (both male and female) were selected out of a total of 305, 961 people in Uyo using random sampling technique. The test items (PIPCNNQ) were face and content validated by experts in the field of mass communication. Perception of the Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News items on Newspapers Questionnaire (PIPCNNQ) was the instrument used for data collection.

The result of analysis showed that pictures have great Impact on the credibility of news items on newspaper. The findings concluded that using pictures on news items in newspapers have positive impact on the perception of Uyo residents’ on the use of pictures for news credibility. This is because pictures in newspapers enhance the credibility of the stories. As they depict reality, the also furnish evidence to show the authenticity of a news story or give proof of an event that occurred. It was recommended that photojournalists should use original source of photographs from an event to ensure the improvement in the value of news content and news worthiness.


Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper among Residents


Title Page








1.1       Background to the Study

1.2       Statement of Problem

1.3       Objective of the Study

1.4       Research Questions

1.5       Significance of the Study

1.6       Delimitation of the Study

1.7       Limitation to the Study

1.8       Definition of Terms



2.1       Conceptual Framework

2.1.1    Overview of Newspapers

2.1.2    News Reader perspective

2.1.3    News Receiver characteristics

2.1.4    The Uses of Pictures in the Newspaper

2.2       Theoretical framework

2.2.1  Semiotic theory by Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913)

2.2.2    Agenda setting theory

2.3       Related Empirical study

2.4       Summary of Literature Review


3.1       Research Design

3.2       Area of the Study

3.3       Population of the study

3.4       Sample Size

3.5       Sampling technique

3.6       Instrument for Data Collection

3.7       Validation of the instrument

3.8       Reliability of the instrument

3.9       Method of Data collection

3.9       Method of Data analysis



4.1       Results

4.2       Discussion of Analysis



5.1       Summary of Procedure

5.2       Summary of Findings

5.3       Conclusion

5.4      Recommendations

5.5       Suggestion for Further Studies






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Pictures is one of the popular medium in use by the mass media either electronic or print media in any news delivery. In winning the heart of readers, journalists use photographic images as main communication strategies in delivering their messages, agendas and also to catch the readers’ attention, this has equipped journalists with competent skills needed to disseminate quality photographs that report news worthy events. As for readers, they need the required information as their reference before making any decisions.

Pictures are meant to express a message and not just function as aesthetics. It is a powerful medium of expression and visual communication that involves the process by which events are mirrored in pictures, which reveal something too brief for the eyes alone to define. Pictures serve as an instrumental view of reality by disseminating information that enables viewers make an accurate response to whatever is going on.

For the past two decades, the public’s overall trust in the press has declined (Project For Excellence in Journalism, 2006). The Pew Research Center (2005) reports that60% of the Masses think the media are politically biased in their reporting. Similarly, the percentage of those who believe most of what they read in their daily newspaper dropped from 84% to 59% in 2006 (Pew Research Center, 2006). In 2002, only 35% said media reporting is generally accurate, down from 55%  (Pew Research Center, 2002).

The believability of several major news organizations has also declined since the 21st century. For example, in 2007, only 65% of masses surveyed rated ABC news as highly believable, while 83% did so in 2002. The results were similar for NBC news and CBS news. In addition, believability for daily newspapers declined from 80% in 2002 to 59% in 2006. Nonetheless, a February 2006 study suggests that the public’s trust in the print media may be on the rise. Fifty-nine percent of the masses reported having a favorable view of the press, up from 43% in December 2004 (Pew Research Center, 2006)

The idea of telling news in picture dates back to the wall carving of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamian. Even the Japanese and Chinese alphabet of today are traced to the combination and manipulation of the mental image eminent in picture concepts). These findings broaden the horizon and potentialities of communication with picture, (NnayeLugo Okorie, Historical perspective of photojournalism, 2002).

Back home in Nigeria, using picture in telling news has its root in the colonial period. It followed advent of news preparing in Nigeria, newspaper led to improved pays use of catchy illustration. The socio-political environment of Nigeria help to spear head the development of photojournalism (use of pictures to tell a news story) . The inseparability of polities and photography is a factor that goes far back in line. The nationalist who were fighting for independence found newspaper a read weapon for castigating the colonial administration. The problem then was that these publications had ordinary photographs which had little or no knowledge of what is news worthy. The picture they produce were essentially aware photographs which usually affect the credibility of news they illustrate.

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However, the 1970’s and upward witnessed a marked improvement in both photo content and style. The emergence of paper like concord, vanguard etc, has since revolutionize Nigeria photojournalism both in story points. This made the editors to employ a good press photographer who most have an eye for news in the same way a reporter must have a nose for a good story. With this, pictures  are made to be more news oriented which better represent the news they illustrate, thereby enhancing the news credibility, attracting and compelling the readers to read the story and also add aesthetic mood to the newspaper.



The impact of picture and illustration on news credibility has been doubted by many people who are ignorant of what pictures can do to news presentation and acceptance. Nevertheless, the debate has lingered for long among profusion street men and women, students of higher learning etc. yet mass media such as newspaper and magazine continues to reap the benefit of picture through its attraction of the readers to read the story, beatification of its pages, identification of the publication believability of the news story and enhancing the organization purse by increasing the sale of publication. Regarding this, the problem of this study is to identify to what extent the role of the photographic image presented in newspaper serve as a vehicle in ensuring credibility of news items and effective communication of message and the impact on perception of the readers.



The primary purpose of this study is to investigate Uyo’s Residents perception of the impact of pictures on the credibility of news items on newspapers. Specifically the study seeks to:

  • Establish exposure to pictures that accompany news items on newspapers by Uyo residents.
  • know the perception of Uyo readers on the use of pictures in news items
  • Ascertain if pictures help in adding credibility to news items in newspapers among Uyo readers.
  • Identify other factors, other than pictures that enhances the credibility of news items on newspapers among Uyo readers.


Impact of Pictures on the Credibility of News Items in the Punch Newspaper among Residents



The following questions will serve as a guide to the study:

  • How can exposure to pictures that accompany news items on newspapers by Uyo residents be established?
  • What is the perception of Uyo readers on the use of pictures in news items?
  • To what extent does pictures helps in adding credibility to news items in newspapers among Uyo readers?
  • What other factors other than the pictures, enhance credibility of news items on newspapers among Uyo readers?


The findings of this study will be beneficial to the large masses, students of mass communication and other researchers in this field. The study is embarked upon so that people will understand and appreciate the impact of picture on ensuring news worthiness. In other words, it will help them know its effect on news credibility.

This study shows clearly the benefits in photojournalism to our researchers, professionals in the field, street men and women and to students of mass communication.

The study will serve as a guide and reference for future researchers or as a resource to photojournalists in training.. This will also help in the encouragement of the use of picture and illustration in magazine pages and newspapers since its usage prove pragmatic on readers. This in other words, serve as a guide to editors who place any kind of picture on their newspaper and magazine pages. The findings and recommendations will serve to improve and reposition the trend of photojournalism in Nigeria.


This present research study was carried out in Uyo Local Government Area. The study focuses on people’s perception of the impact of pictures on the credibility of news items on newspapers. The study is restricted to Uyo’s Residents only.



The limitations to the study are as follows;

  • The researcher faced administrative challenges before getting people’s consent to administer the instrument on the respondents.
  • The researcher traveled on a difficult road terrain in a bid to access people that were used for the study.
  • The researcher suffered health hazard due to the poor environmental conditions in places the instruments were administered.


Picture: picture is defined as any image captured either by camera photograph or painting/drawing. They are used to portray news worthy images. Pictures are visual interpreters that brings readers a feeling of what an event was really like.

News: this is a timely report of event or happening that hold interest of large number of audience.

Newspapers: Newspapers refer to a daily or weekly publications used to disseminate news to a mass audience. The newspapers traces its roots to handwritten news sheet posted daily in the public market place of ancient Rome. As a medium that furnish readers with News, information in the newspaper is expressed through linguistic, typographic and graphic forms. This in its totality affects the way news are gathered and reported in the newspaper including the use of pictures on it.

News Credibility: This is perception of news by the readers.

Credibility: this is an ability to believe something; to be convinced. Credibility is most often measured as a multidimensional construct (Johnson & Kaye, 2002). Believability, fairness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness are four measures of assessing credibility.

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