Contributors                                                  Appendice

  1. Chu S. Okongwu                                             A
  2. I. Yahaya                                                          B
  3. Abdullahi Labo                                               C
  4. A. Ariyo                                                            D
  5. Isaac N. Obasi                                                 E
  6. Nuhu Yaqub                                                    F
  7. Joseph O. Macarver                                      G
  8. Mohammed Haruna                                     H
  9. Nnamdi Obasi                                                I
  10. Umaru A. Pate                                                J
  11. Veronica Jatau                                               K


Four national newspapers, New Nigerian, Daily Times, The Guardian and Nigerian Tribune wire purposely chosen based on circulation, ownership and accessibility. The four are English language dailies with national circulation. The selection of only English language newspapers is because they have wider acceptability in the country than the vernacular papers which are limited to particular geographical zones.

Regarding circulation, the selected newspapers were among the highest circulating newspapers at the time. They are nationally respected and among the most popular in the country. The circulation of the four papers as at that time ranged between 200,000 to 400,000 copies per day.

The New Nigerian newspaper is fully owned by the Federal Government. It is simultaneously published daily in Kaduna and Lagos. During the period under review, the paper was considered as the most authoritative paper on government policies in Nigeria. It was also seen as a paper with a strong editorial posture.

Daily Times is 60% owned by the Federal Government with the remaining 40% shares subscribed by private interests. The paper is published daily in Lagos. Apart from being the oldest newspaper in Nigeria, it is also seen as the most successful paper in the country.

The Guardian and Nigerian Tribune are two privately owned newspapers with high circulation rates. The Tribune has developed an image of opposition newspapers in the country, perhaps in line with the policies of its founder, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The Guardian is published in Lagos, while Tribune comes from Ibadan.


According to Krippendorf, in a situation where the sampling products are similar, a sample of one is satisfactory. He explains that is not the variety of the samplin; size that will determine the validity of the results but rather the distribution..’ Stempel also agrees that any period of four days or more will adequately reveal the coverage pattern in a media system .2 Berelson further advises that:

A small carefully chosen sample of the relevant content will produce just as valid results as the analysis of a great deal more and with the expenditure of much less time and effort.’

It is against this background therefore that this study has picked a week after the coup and a day each in October, November, December (1985), and January (1986) for analysis. The months were simply selected for the purpose of establishing the pattern of media coverage in the first six months of the regime in office. The composite and constructed weeks approach were both used in selecting sample days. A straight week starting from August 28, 1985 – September 4, 1985 excluding September 1, which was a Sunday was considered for analysis. In constructing a week out of the remaining months, it started from September 2, 1985 which was Monday and counted seven days, that is up to Saturday, September 7. In the second week, Tuesday, September 12, was selected followed by Wednesday, September 18 and Thursday 26th September, 1985. This procedure was repeated in selecting the days in October, November, December and January (1986). Sundays were excluded from the sampling because most Sunday editions of the various newspaper do not follow the daily pattern of news and feature presentation. So using the composite approach, seven days were selected at a stretch. Then in the second rotating or constructed week approach, 21 days were selected bringing the total to 28 sample days which gave us 112 newspaper editions to analyse.

Code Sampling

Material contents of the newspapers that appear either as news, feature, editorial, cartoon, photo or letter to the Editor that emanate from the regime, its agents or have substantial relevance to the government of President Babangida were coded for subject and direction. Similarly, column length of each entry was measured in centimeter to find the total space allotted to each subject.

The coding of content of the newspapers was categorised according to the following themes: Human Rights and Social justice, Press Freedom, Economic Recovery, Political programfhe and Miscellaneous.

Human Rights and Social Justice: Issues relating to the release of detainees, opening of NSO detention camp, Accounts of detention experiences, WAI campaigns. Fundamental human rights, Review of decrees, Review of politically convicted cases, illegal drugs, labour relations and crime control among others.

Press Freedom: Abrogation of Decree No 4, release of convicted and detained journalists, lifting of ban on placement of government adverts in private papers, invitation to criticise, assurances for press freedom and so on.

Economic Recovery: The 15 month Economic Recovery Programme, Ban on importation of rice and maize, cut in salaries, counter trade, cut in oil subsidy, IMF national debate, Agricultural development, Economic negotiations, Banking matters, smuggling and similar issues.

Political Programme: The August 27 coup, Appointments, Border re-opening, Activities of government and its agents, Diplomacy, Security matters, Aborted coup attempts, Political debate and others.

Miscellaneous: Cartoons, Letters to the Editor, and other issues that do not fall into any of the categories listed above.

Direction of Coverage

Positive: Are contents that appear to portray harmony, acceptability and achievements in government. In other words, coverage that tends to promote and appear favourable to the action and policies of the government and its agents.

Negative: Contents depicting or suggesting disharmony, unhappiness, crises or disputes in or about the government and its agents. Said differently, coverage that do not tend to promote, support or appear favourable to government and its agents. -­

Neutral: Contents that did not fall into any of the two categories were coded neutral


The methodological pattern used in Chapter four was repeated here in the selection of national Newspapers, sampling of days and developing of coding frame.

The only difference here is the addition of one more national Newspaper National Concord, a private national newspaper published in Lagos.

The days selected for analysis were:

January 1986:                          Wed (1), Thur (10), Fri (18) and Sat. (26)

March 1987:                            Mon (2), Tues (10), Wed (18) and Thurs (26)

May 1988:                               Mon (2), Tues (10), Wed (18) and Thurs (26)

July 1989:                                Mon (3), Tues (11), Wed (19) and Thurs (27)

September 1990:                     Mon (3), Tues (11), Wed (19) and Thurs (27)

November 1991:                     Fri (1), Sat (9), Mon (18) and Tues (26)

December 1992:                      Tues (1), Wed (9), Thurs (18) and Fri (25)

TOTAL: 168 Newspaper editions were selected for analysis