A Comparative Content Analysis Of Agricultural Information Coverage By The Standard And Daily Nation Kenyan Newspapers (september 2011-august 2012)
The research work analyzed the content of agricultural news coverage in the Standard and the Daily Nation Newspapers from September 2011 to August 2012. This was done by categorizing the articles covered during the study period and identifying their page locations (which were either from the cover, middle or last pages), determining their frequency and space allocation to agricultural information. Stratified random and purposive sampling was used to select 15 newspapers in every month of the study period for both papers. Data were collected from the total of 360 sampled newspapers and were analyzed with SPSS version 16 using frequency counts and percentages. That data were collected from the sampled newspaper issues on the new category, size of space allocated and location of news from each of the newspapers. Location refers to where the articles appeared in the newspaper such as cover (front) pages, middle pages and last pages. Space occupied by the articles were measured in centimeters using a ruler. The results show that there were seven different categories of articles published by the two dailies during that study period. They are advertisements, features, editorials, letters to the editor, hard news, opinions and photographs and virtually all of the identified and categorized articles were located in the middle pages (95%). Photographs were the most frequently published categories of agricultural information (35.1 per cent) during the study period in both dailies and opinions were the least (0.9%). Daily Nation devoted only 7 per cent to all its published categories of agricultural information and the Standard allocated only 2 per cent of its total available space during the one year study period. The Standard published more agricultural articles than the Daily Nation in the Features (39.7 against 16.5 per cents), and Letters to the editor (4.4 against 2.8 per cents) categories but the Daily Nation published about 4 more times advertisements (17.7 per cent) compared to the Standard (4.4 per cent). Unlike the Daily Nation, The Standard did not publish any editorials, opinions and black and white agricultural photos. It was recommended that these two Kenyan dailies should publish more agricultural information and on the front pages of their respective publications. It was also recommended that the Standard Group management should engage the services of more agricultural-oriented opinion column writers. Other recommendations were that the total space allocated to agricultural information by the two dailies need to be increased considerably so as to enhance effective communication and that the Standard should endeavor to increase advertisements for commercial purposes without compromising reporting of hard news. Media executives are advised to employ agricultural graduates as the line reporters for agro-based sensitive news. Capacity building workshops should be organized for agricultural columnists in Kenyan newspapers on reporting of agro-information.