1.1 Background of the Study
The community newspapers are important forces in our society. They provide information and entertainment and, at the same time, have persuasive powers that are capable of effecting radical changes. For this reason, the role of the community newspaper in the development and promotion of our culture, moral and community life cannot be overestimated. In this modern day we are surrounded by the mass media. As a result of the explosive growth of the mass media in the recent past, they have become a natural part of life. However, the community newspaper should not merely be accepted as natural; each person should become aware of how they influence the shaping of his or her own being and the environment in which he or she lives.
Development is the singular ultimate quest of every society. Even the advanced countries still thirst for further development. Essentially, development implies the desire to improve or progress towards improvement in the quality of life of the people or majority of the people in a given society or community (Konkwo, 2010). And what happens during development, in essence is that a more active system is created and relations that have been dormant are awakened and parts that have been largely eccentric become interrelated and able to bring about an enormous progress in further activity and productivity. This embraces the social and cultural progress of that society, including those multitudes of different types of changes (in society) from the relatively specific notion of economic expansion to industrialization, urbanization, increase in literacy rates and so on.
When therefore, one talks of the role of the community newspaper in the promotion of cultural heritage, broadly speaking, one is referring to the roles of these media in encouraging people to accept and practice changes in attitudes and behaviour that will bring about development. Culture could be likened to tradition, which is a belief, principle or way of behaviour which people in a particular society or group have continued to follow for a long time. A culture or tradition seems to exist in a community, perhaps forever, because it is passed on from one generation to another through traditional means of communication. Since cultural beliefs are transferred from the older to the younger generation, there is the temptation to ask how the process of transference will continue when the old and aged become extinct (Myers, 2000). This is where the issue of communication comes in to ensure that there is a continuous flow of culture from one generation to the next.
Many social changes evident today are at least partially attributable to community newspaper. Cultural, moral and community opinions have been changed largely by the fact that the mass media can provide seemingly uninterrupted news that have influenced community life, indigenous culture and morals as well.