Nigerian Newsrooms Under COVID-19 Lockdown

Fatima Abubakre

Abstract


A global pandemic garners a great deal of media attention. The COVID-19 crisis is no exception. It was distinctive because more than a third of the world’s population had to undergo quarantine in the first quarter of 2020 which had far-reaching social effects. This study provides a historical overview of Nigerian newspapers and explores how the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria impacted upon the newsrooms of mainstream media organizations. It draws on interviews with heads of newsrooms and mid-management staff from six elite newspapers in the country. Findings reveal that although the pandemic was economically challenging for news organizations, they had no choice but to stay in business, providing information to the public during lockdown and the protests which followed. This took a toll on journalists whose work was impeded by mob and police actions and had broader implications for news production and the survival of news organizations.


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