From the Lagos-Ibadan axis to Abuja-Kano axis of the media location in Nigeria, a number of online news websites are competing with the conventional ones such as The Punch, The Guardian, The Nigerian Tribune, Daily Trust and Blueprint among others. Traditional newspapers have online and offline presence [in the form of printed copies of their daily content].
Between 2000 and 2020, a significant number of online newspapers, especially bloggers evolved and competed, and still competing the traditional ones. During this period and now, the trend within the context of producing and publishing news by the bloggers turned online newspapers has been aggregation of the traditional newspapers’ content with or without additions.
In most cases the bloggers turned online newspapers do not acknowledge the efforts of the traditional ones in terms of attributing the aggregated content to them by citing their brands [names]. They only aggregate, edit and publish. This tradition is common among the online publishers who do not have academic and practical journalism training.
It is instructive to note that aggregating news or content is not new in the field of journalism. What is strange in the Nigerian context is the use of the model as the primary driver of value proposition by the bloggers that turned to online newspapers. This has been the trend since 2015, according to our analysis.
In advanced markets such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Russia, Canada among others, traditional newspapers are paying to have their news aggregated and distributed more widely among larger websites. We have also seen how syndication works in these markets. Instead of aggregating The Punch and The Guardian’s news content without adequate acknowledgement bloggers should follow syndication path. “Syndication is a particularly popular news aggregator business model because it helps publishers remove the hard work of negotiating and securing distribution.”
Parasites versus Partners
Naija Dailies, OgaVendor.com, Headlines Africa, Zoomheader.com, OgbodoSolution and Parrot Nigeria are some of the real news aggregators that could survive the current competition in the Nigerian media industry. These brands use aggregation and syndication models. They help traditional newspapers in the area of distribution. Every day, news stories in the conventional newspapers are selected and published on their websites for wide audience reach.
While these brands have models that could ensure sustainable value creation, delivery and capturing, this cannot be said of the bloggers that have taken solace in aggregating content from the traditional newspapers without additional value. This approach shows that the bloggers lack resources for the gathering of firsthand evidences or information that could be turned into news products. Telling secondhand stories means that they are parasites not partners in value creation and delivery as the brands explained earlier exemplify.