The press in a democratic setting sets the agenda for the society through news
reports, incisive features, editorials and commentaries. Previous studies on press
performance, especially during political crisis situations, concentrated more on the extent
of reports of such crises and rarely investigate the factors that influence the reportage. This
study, therefore, evaluated the performance of the Nigerian newspapers in their coverage of
selected political crisis situations in terms of magnitude and frames with a view to
identifying how ownership, editorial policies and other factors influenced such
The study was anchored on News Framing theory and it adopted the Propagandist,
Commercial laissez-faire and Public service models. The selected political crisis situations
covered the period between 2005 and 2011: President Obasanjo‘s alleged third-term
agenda; the constitutional crisis arising from President Yar‘Adua‘s absence from office and
the violent protests that greeted the 2011 presidential elections in the northern part of
Nigeria. Daily Trust, The Punch, The Guardian, Nigerian Tribune and The Sun were
purposively selected because of their locations and ownership. Five hundred editions were
selected through the systematic random sampling technique while ten editors of the
newspapers were purposively selected for in-depth interviews. A nine-item coding sheet
and a nine-item in-depth interview guide were the instruments of data collection.
Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics, and chi-square at P=0.05 level
of significance. Explanation building through thematic approach was used to analyse the
Yar‘adua‘s illness featured more in the newspapers with 37.0% reports than the
third-term agenda and election protests with 31.0% each.Small-sized reports were more
prominent than large-sized. The newspapers were more negative in framing election
protests (51.3%) and Yar‘adua‘s illness (45.4%) than the third-term agenda (37.2%). The
Daily Trust had more favourable reports on Yar‘adua‘s illness and third-term agenda,
while other newspapers had more negative reports on the issues. All the newspapers had
more negative reports on the election protests. There was a significant difference in the
framing of reports among the newspapers: Nigerian Tribune (x = 70.3), Daily Trust (x =
65.0), The Sun (χ = 64.8), The Guardian (x = 63.8), and The Punch (x = 60.1). There was
no significant relationship between the editorial policies and performance of the
newspapers. The performance rate across the five newspapers differed: Nigerian Tribune
(74.4%), The Guardian (71.1%), The Punch (55%), The Sun (51.8%) and the Daily Trust
(37.3%).However, the editors perceived that editorial policies, rather than ownership,
covertly guided the newspapers‘ operations during the political crisis situations. Ethnicity
or sectional interest, funding, production deadline and access to information were other
factors that influenced performance.
The performance of the newspapers during the political crisis situations varied
slightly in terms of magnitude and report framing due to editorial policies. To enhance
performance, newspapers should evolve editorial policies that will guarantee fair and
balanced report framing and put the public interest above the primordial, sectional and
commercial interests of the owners.
Key words: Nigerian newspapers, Political crisis situations, Newspapers performance,
Ownership of newspapers, News framing.
ABIMBOLA, R (2021). Performance Of Nigerian Newspapers In Selected Political Crisis Situations. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/performance-of-nigerian-newspapers-in-selected-political-crisis-situations-1
ABIMBOLA, Raphael "Performance Of Nigerian Newspapers In Selected Political Crisis Situations" Afribary. Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/performance-of-nigerian-newspapers-in-selected-political-crisis-situations-1. Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.
ABIMBOLA, Raphael . "Performance Of Nigerian Newspapers In Selected Political Crisis Situations". Afribary, Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021. Web. 23 Mar. 2023. < https://afribary.com/works/performance-of-nigerian-newspapers-in-selected-political-crisis-situations-1 >.
ABIMBOLA, Raphael . "Performance Of Nigerian Newspapers In Selected Political Crisis Situations" Afribary (2021). Accessed March 23, 2023. https://afribary.com/works/performance-of-nigerian-newspapers-in-selected-political-crisis-situations-1