ABSTRACT In the last few years, Nigeria has experienced an alarming rise in the manifestation of violent conflicts, and the mass media have been described to be a double edged sword in these crises situations; often either being an instrument of resolving or escalating the crises. Hence, the need to study the effect(s) mass media reports has on violent crises, in this case, the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria and neighboring countries. This research work, attempted to examine the role played by Nigerian newspapers in the ongoing Boko Haram crisis; investigating among others, the frequency and prominence of the reports of Boko Haram crisis as well as to find out if the pattern of reporting adopted by the selected newspapers reflect media ownership influences and geopolitical locations of the newspapers. The research work was located within the “Agenda Setting Theory” where it was gathered during literature review that Nigerian newspapers have often been accused of negative performance in the management of diversity and conflict issues in Nigeria. A systematic quantitative content analysis was used in collecting, analyzing as well as interpreting the data for the study. In this study, two newspapers, Daily Trust and The Guardian newspapers were selected as samples; twenty four editions each from both newspapers were selected for coding. A coding sheet was developed to investigate frequency and prominence of reports regarding the crisis. The most important finding of the study is the relative low coverage of the Boko Haram crisis by the two newspapers selected. It was noted that through-out the three months studied, Daily Trust newspapers covered the crisis more and gave it more prominence than The Guardian newspaper. It was recommended that subsequent researchers should expand the sample size, editions covered, duration of coverage, and content categories in order to be able to get more reliable data about how the newspapers in Nigeria covered the crisis.
Key Words: Reporting, Boko Haram, Crisis, Newspapers, Content Analysis.
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