A report on Penplusbytes’ baseline study of the print media on the quality and quantity of oil and gas stories reporting for the first quarter of 2013 has been successfully completed. The study made a content analysis of oil and gas coverage by two state-owned and one private newspaper; Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times and Daily Guide respectively.
The purpose of this study was to establish the adequacy or paucity of content, the style as well as the nature of reporting and writing and to assess the potential of recent media content to make a desirable impact in the media’s watchdog role for Ghana’s emerging oil and gas industry.
Speaking about the methodology, Penplusbytes’ senior consultant, Dr. Doris Dartey records that “During the study, the selected papers were thoroughly scanned for content, which includes news stories, feature articles and advertisements pertaining to Ghana’s oil and gas industry from January to March 2013, these stories were further narrowed down to news items only”.
“The third and final phase entailed reading and analyzing the type and quality of content and to draw conclusions as well as to make recommendations.” She added
The study revealed that coverage on the sector by the state-owned newspapers was very shallow (lacked in-depth reporting) as they focused more on advertisements and pseudo-news on the sector as compared to the single private newspaper. It also found that less prominence was given to news on the oil and gas industry by the state-owned papers; no front-page or back-page were dedicated to stories on the sector. Another finding from the study is that the advertisements on the sector by Daily Graphic (leading state-owned newspaper) proves that the paper benefits from this sector through advertisements but neglects to play the critical watchdog role over the sector—a non-renewable resource
The baseline study forms part of Penplusbytes’ “Empowering the media to play an active role over oil and gas revenue and resources’’, funded by STAR-Ghana. The project seeks to provide journalists with an in-depth knowledge on how to effectively and efficiently produce quality stories on Ghana’s oil and gas sector. Other components of the project includes workshops, interviews and informal ‘roundtables’, regular mentoring, field trips, and debates with technical experts and journalists from Ghana. There will be an online platform for information and knowledge exchange between the media and civil society for advocacy for impact driven developmental projects in the oil and gas sector.
Penplusbytes in the past couple of years has provided leadership in training journalists in the use of cutting edge new media technologies to enhance their work on various diverse thematic areas. The organization has already successfully trained 22 journalists in oil and gas reporting by improving their news gathering skills and improving their data analysis and interpretation skills in the oil and gas sector.
Please click on this link to download the full report.