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In Nigeria chop means to eat with moral or criminal greed.

ChopCassava.com is therefore an editorial documentation of the people’s protest as it unfolds as well as a revelation of many layers of disconnect between power and people

This article critically interrogates the impact of new information and communication technologies on the institutional practices of mainstream journalists in Nigeria with particular reference to current newsroom practices and how user-generated content (UGC) was incorporated into mainstream media coverage of the 2011 Nigerian election. Rooted in the sociology of journalism, the study employs an ethnographic approach to examine the implications of new information and communication technologies for journalistic practices in Nigeria. With a reading of new information technologies as “alternative journalism”, the ethnography, which deployed in-depth interviews with print journalists as well as newsroom observation, investigated whether “alternative journalism” is challenging traditional newsroom culture in Nigeria. The findings suggest that alternative journalism is redefining the roles of mainstream journalists as “news producers”. Journalists have become “gatewatchers” with everyone else, especially during the 2011 elections when citizens actively engaged with alternative journalism in reporting the elections. However, mainstream journalists continue to contest their hegemonic traditional practices of giving prominence to “official” sources in news reporting, and negotiate how “alternative journalism” in the form of UGC is networked into mainstream reporting to avoid publishing rumours. The study concludes that contrary to scholarship that sees digital technologies as “de-professionalising” journalists, mainstream journalism in Nigeria maintains the dominant discourse by articulating and appropriating content from “alternative” sources for subtle economic motives.

It’s 7:00 a.m. and I’m rushing through my morning routine with an eye on the clock. My plan is to get into my car before 7:30 a.m. so I can tune in and listen to the Brekete Family Radio program. It is always the perfect companion during my 15-minute drive to work through Abuja’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. As I drive out of my compound, I am relieved to hear the voice of Ordinary Ahmed Isa, the president and host of the Brekete Family, come on the air with the familiar but strange greeting “Hembelembe,” to which his studio audience responds “Olololoooo.” You can’t help but mutter the response under your breath. The atmosphere is electrifying because you don’t know what to expect on this show. The Brekete Family Radio (BFR) is a reality radio program in Abuja, modeled after a public complaint forum or people’s court. Conducted in the local lingua franca (pidgin English), people call in to report on issues of impunity, whether public or private. The panel sitting in the studio discusses the issue and invites the public to give advice to the plaintiff.

But Nigerian newspapers differ from the almost exclusively human interest reporting of their global counterparts in the lengths they will go to make links between attacks in the remote northeast and national politics – all against the background of looming elections. “We thought it (the Boko Haram insurgency) was a flash in the pan … But it has become a very bad ulcer,” said Oloja. “This insurgency is political. It is tied to the 2015 presidential election. People are imputing motives. This wasn’t like that a year ago,” he added. Once the revolt was largely a matter for the authorities of the northeast. But the fighters have stepped up the violence in recent months, launching attacks in the central city of Jos and in Abuja, the capital. The government’s decision to declare states of emergency and launch a military offensive in May last year has meant national agencies face harsh scrutiny – particularly after their failure to rescue more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in April. The police’s decision to ban public protests over the girls in the capital last week, and then apparently reverse that decision, generated a three-column editorial asking if the police chief should “be allowed to function in a democracy”.

The National Orientation Agency was established with the mandate of enlightening Nigerians on government policies, programmes and activities, as well as mobilize public support for same. It is also saddled with the responsibility to re-orientate the attitudes of Nigerians and provide a feedback to government on the people’s feelings and reactions towards its policies and activities, thus expanding the space for public input into government decision-making process.