The flourishing of newspapers and magazines online may not be unconnected with some possible secondary reasons- including enthusiasm for new technology and the general sense that one wishes to be part of the new wave at the moment. The fundamental reasons may be economic. The people who own newspapers have, by and large decided that the internet provides opportunities and challenges to which they need to respond.

Some of the opportunities as a matter of fact may be obvious. The offline newspapers (the hard copies) are in part a process of manipulating symbols and in part a straightforward industrial production process. Maybe once the journalists and the advertising people have delivered the made-up, final copy, the newspaper undergoes a series of transformations that constitute the physical production and distribution of the commodity.

Online newspaper on the other hand does not incur any of these costs so to speak. True, it requires some space on the server, but this is not a comparable expense to the printing processes and trucks needed for the physical product. The consumers themselves pay costs of distribution, buying the PCs and paying the telecommunications charges. The online newspapers, according to Sparks (1996), offer the proprietors the prospect of substantial cost reductions.

In an increasingly digital world, whether or not news outlets can continue to maintain their credibility while providing information across various media is a crucial question media organizations are asking themselves. Studies have measured credibility with traditional media, examined how credibility with traditional media carries over to nontraditional forms of news delivery and related contracts to demographics.

Many studies have examined credibility in news. Past research has examined how credibility perceptions relate to demographics, such as gender, income (Johnson & Kaye, 1998), race (Beaudoin & Thorson, 2005), and political party (Pew Research, 2005). Furthermore, some studies have examined credibility and how it relates to frequency of media use (Rimmer & Weaver, 1987; Kiousis, 2001). Some studies observed whether news consumers differed on how credible they perceived news depending on what medium they chose to utilize (Jo, 2005; Gunter, Campbell, Touri, Gibson, 2008).

The Internet continues to evolve into a major news source. The internet which is the worldwide system of interconnected computers makes use of telecommunication resources. It is defined by Aina (2003), Hanson (2005) as a network made up of large number of computers throughout the whole world. The computers in the network communicate and share data with one another. The internet with all its capabilities have changed the way we live, learn and work. It permits us to communicate more with people around the world, regardless of location and distance, thus making it a global village.

Anyone who has followed the Internet industry over the last decade might have seen an amazing series of events. The transformation brought about by the internet in the area of the mass media is enormous. One of those areas is the newspaper industry. The internet has completely changed the face of the printing industry and newspapers have taken the lead. Today, people do not have to wait for 24 hours for newspapers to update them of happenings around the world as newspapers now have ‘breaking news’ which was an exclusive of the broadcast industry. People do not have to wait until the vendor(s) deliver the newsprint before knowing what is happening in the dailies.

On a typical day, more than 50 million Americans obtain news from the Web (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2006). The Newspaper Association of American (NAA, 2006) reports that 112 million people visited online news sites during the first quarter of 2006. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans say the Internet is their main source of news, while 44% obtain news from online sources at least once a week (Pew Research Center, 2005). This no doubt signifies a tremendous change and transformation in the newspaper readership by the internet courtesy of computers interconnectivity.

In spite of the seeming successes of the internet as a news medium, questions have been raised about the credibility of online news (Lasica, 1998 and Online News Association, 2002). These concerns are significant in that journalism is built on the principles of credibility. The public is likely not to pay attention to a medium that they do not trust because trust is a factor in news reporting. Johnson and Kaye (1998) cautions that lack of trust in information obtained from the Internet could keep it from becoming an even more important and influential news source.

In what seem to be a global diffusion of innovation and social change, the newspaper industry in Nigeria has also joined the world trend of publishing daily newspapers on the internet. There is no gainsaying the fact that majority of Nigerian newspapers are on the internet presently. The issue which many online newspaper readers have had to grapple with is that of the credibility of the news sources and the identification of the reporters or authors of the internet stories. The internet has not only come to revolutionize the dissemination of information by the mass media but also seriously altered the traditional processes of news gathering and processing. Nigerian newspapers may have gone to the internet partly as a means of reaching out to the outside world and partly as a way of not being left out of the information advantages which the internet has brought to the print industry globally and most importantly as a result of the threats from the broadcast industry.

According to Baran (2004, p.121), Television forced the newspaper to change the way they did business and served their readers, now online computer networks pose the greatest challenge to this medium. Online job hunting and auto sales services are already cutting into the classified advertising profit of newspapers.

The entire world is fast embracing information and communication technologies in all spheres of life and the newspaper industry cannot be left out. The changing face of the newspaper industry could not have been what we have today if not for the convergence between the newspaper and the modern technologies adopted in the industry. On the issue of convergence, Baran (2004) notes that technology has led to newspapers all over the world reinventing themselves and becoming more user-friendly, more casual, more lifestyle-oriented, and more in touch with youths


The internet can be judged as the greatest communication inventions of man in modern times. This is mostly as a result of the convergence power which it has, and which has also been used to bring other traditional media to a common plane. In Nigeria, the face of the newspapers can be said to be changing greatly. The Nigerian newspapers can now be read on the internet just like the London Times, New York Times, Le Monde of France and others.

In spite of the obvious benefits which the internet has brought the print industry, many people still do not fancy the reading of newspapers online as a result of their biased notion of the internet as a place where any faceless individual can post whatever he likes for public consumption. To this school of thought, the newspaper hard copy is the only authentic news source. It is obvious from the foregoing that, there is a perceived problem ab`out credibility of news stories or information on the internet from Nigerian online newspapers. Oyero, (2007) asserts that because there is no gate keeping mechanism that allows for editing, verifying facts and establishing accuracy before web information is posted trusting stories online becomes difficult. This study therefore examines the population of newspaper readers on the internet compared to offline readers, if Nigerian online newspapers of the same standard with their Western counterparts, if readers trust the news of Nigerian newspaper on the internet, How demographics (gender, age, education, income and ethnicity) relate to differences in readers’ perception on the credibility of Nigerian newspaper on the internet and the problems encountered by Readers of Nigerian newspapers online


The general objective of the study is to investigate readers’ perception on the credibility of Nigerian newspaper on the internet, a case study of vanguard newspaper. The specific objectives are:

1.     To ascertain the population of newspaper readers on the internet compared to offline readers.

2.     To find out if Nigerian online newspapers are of the same standard with their Western counterparts.

3.     To examine if readers trust the news of Nigerian newspaper on the internet.

4.     To determine the problems encountered by Readers of Nigerian newspapers online.


The relevant research questions related to this study include the following:

1.     What is the population of newspaper readers on the internet compared to offline readers?

2.     Are Nigerian online newspapers of the same standard with their Western counterparts?

3.     Do readers trust the news of Nigerian newspaper on the internet?

4.     What are the problems encountered by Readers of Nigerian newspapers online?


Taking cognizance of the enviable and crucial role of the media in the society in its watch dog role of information dissemination, it is imperative to constantly ascertain how media organizations are faring in the performance of their duties with the advent of the new media.

The research work will provide a broad understanding to media practitioners on the perception of readers on the credibility of Nigerian newspaper on the internet. The need to get the readers an assurance of the credibility of the news posted on the social platforms of the newspaper cannot be ignored.

This study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field


The scope of this study is restricted to readers’ perception on the credibility of Nigerian newspaper on the internet, a case study of vanguard newspaper. 40 respondents are selected randomly in Agege local government area of Lagos state as the sample for the purpose of this study.


Some of the major constraints the researchers encountered in putting up this research include lack of time, lack of willingness to give information by respondent and also limited resources


Reader: a person who reads a particular newspaper, magazine, or text.

Newspaper: a printed publication (usually issued daily or weekly) consisting of folded unstapled sheets and containing news, articles, advertisements, and correspondence.

Internet: is a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.

Credibility: is the quality of being trusted and believed in.

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