Graphic Communications in Print and Electronic Media

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Published on International Journal of Informatics, Technology & Computers
Publication Date: June 10, 2019

Brain Aheto-Domi
Master of Philosophy (Art and Culture)

Journal Full Text PDF: Graphic Communications in Print and Electronic Media (Studied in Ghana).

The concept of Graphic Communication is characterized by the technology that is infused with information and communication technology which cover any product that stores, retrieves, manipulates, transmits or receive information that helps in disseminating knowledge through graphic device visuals. With structured and semi-structured interview guides the researcher examined the impact of Graphic Communications in the print and electronic media in Ghana. The scope of the study was focused on the Accra Metropolis using twelve media houses in the Metropolis. The sample survey was used to collect data from a portion of the entire population providing a fair representation of the study population. The major findings that emerged from the study are that the plethora nature of Graphic Communication elements has influenced the ethics and practice of media since its introduction in the Gold Coast. Everybody is now moving to what is called “mediamorphosis”. In effect these new platforms are changing viewership and readership on regular basis. This change is occurring quickly and in significant ways, and it is retooling and redirecting the practice of media in Ghana. Finally, the study suggests that in order to comprehend the visual culture of today’s image saturated society, one needs to accept the aporia of technological influences on both print and electronic media.

Keywords: Graphic Communications, Technological Influences, Information and Communication Technology.

The media plays a vibrant role in the political discourse, national identity, and popular culture of the people of Ghana. Emerging in the nineteenth century, the news media has given voice to popular campaigns for independence, national unity, development, cultural continuity and democracy throughout the twentieth century, establishing a distinguished history for Ghanaian media. Increasingly, Ghanaians are integrating with these various forms of technology, such as radio, cellular phones, television, newspapers, and the Internet in their daily lives. More and more, we can see, Graphic Communications (GC) being used as a form of documenting everyday experiences other than rituals, or ceremonial experiences. This shift in interest is partly due to technological advancement. Not only has technology allowed the media unparalleled access to audiences around the world, it is also redefining how both the print media and electronic media gather and interpret the news (eJournal USA, 2008).
Teenagers and young adults are using modern technologies as a means of communication, conversation and peer-building. They use social network services (SNS) like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber, Flicker, CNN iReport, Digital and Google Earth together with multi-functional appliances, such as Cellphones, Laptops, and iPads to shear, leak and disseminate news. The digital era which has changed and shaped personal communication has not only been affected by rapid technological advancements, but has also changed our cultural attitude and professionalism.
Consequently, the benefits of GC in news media evolves with changes in technology and this makes it imperative that media operators have to constantly engage in research to identify emerging Graphic Communication technologies to tell their stories which are also accessible by their readers. Remaining relevant to the audiences compels continuous training for both print and electronic media to identify innovative ways to tell stories.
a. To trace the history of Graphic Communications as developmental tool for print and electronic media in Ghana.
b. To investigate the degree of Graphic Communications uptake and intake in the Ghanaian media.
c. To identify the effects of Graphic Communications on professional practices of the media in Ghana.

The study which concerted on Graphic Communications in Print and Electronic media in Ghana employed qualitative research method to investigate into the impact of Graphic Communication elements in Ghana. Ary, Cheser and Asghar (2001) focused on qualitative research as understanding social phenomena from the perspective of the human participants in the study.
The population of this study comprises two hundred and twenty-five (225) media houses in the Greater Accra Metropolis. Made up of one hundred and fifty (150) print houses and seventy-five (75) electronic media houses. Since the population is heterogeneous in nature it shows diverse characteristics in terms of professional backgrounds and knowhow, as well as geographical locations of structures, the researcher sampled the right sizes to have a good representation of the population.
The purposive sampling technique was the non-probability technique that was used. The Print and Electronic Media houses within the Accra Metropolis were sampled and studied. Fifty respondents were sampled from both print and electronic media houses. The study selected twelve media organizations from both print, and electronic unit. Firstly, it was considered prudent to ensure that both public and private media houses were represented in the selection process. Secondly, the selected media houses were chosen on condition that they were news focused and had a newsroom. Thirdly, each organization had to be present online through an accessible website.

2.1 Data Collection Instruments
The researcher used the following, structured interview, semi-structured interview and documentary study to gather the data for the study. Structured interviews are a means of collecting data for a statistical survey. In this case, the data is collected by an interviewer rather than through a self-administered questionnaire. Interviewers read the questions exactly as they appear on the survey questionnaire. The choice of answers to the questions is often fixed (close-ended) in advance, though open-ended questions can also be included within a structured interview. The researcher used this approach to gather data from Graphic Communicators in the news media. This is because it allows for straight forward responses form the respondents.
Semi-structured interview schedules were used to seek information from the Graphic Communicators, because it gives the researcher the opportunity to deviate from the initial questions posed and further probe the respondents for more information. With regards to their in-depth understanding on the topic, the questions sort to know when digital imagery started in Ghana, the historical development of journalism in Ghana and the technologies that have influence the industry. Sample of the interview guides have been placed at appendix. The researcher also used documentary study to gather most of his data from souvenirs of past manuals, brochures and the Internet for the study.

2.2 Data Collection Procedure
The researcher employed the semi-structured interview technique to sort data from the Graphic Communicators at their respective media houses. The researcher used a voice recorder to record the interview session with the journalist he met for his data. In addition to that the researcher also made comprehensive reading and analysis of published and unpublished literature on the various sub-topic in chapter two to gather secondary data to review the literature.

2.3 Method of Data Analysis
Different kinds of raw data gathered from the interviews and field notes taken from the journals, magazines, newspapers and internet were manually transcribed and classified by the researcher based on the objectives and the research questions of the study. These data were transcribed manually because of the unfamiliar nature of transcription software by the researcher. The transcribed data were laced under the appropriate classification, interpreted and analyzed objectively and qualitatively to reflect the objectives of the study and the research questions for the study. The various images obtained from the documentaries, media houses, journals, and the internet were sifted, edited (manipulated) and grouped into appropriate classifications.
The data was presented, interpreted and analyzed to reflect the research questions. To this end, data was simplified to correspond with the research questions for the study, the researcher adopted the focus by research question approach because it is generally apt when structured, semi-structured questions are used to gather research data and also allows the researcher to rephrase or quotes verbatim and highlight the individual items that were posed to answer each of them. Ryder (2005) indicated, that responses are organized to these questions and then connections and differences are explored between and among them and the data is analyzed as a whole. After the data, had been presented and thoroughly analyzed, the major findings that emerged from the analyses were discussed qualitatively to confirm the research questions and prove the objectives of the study. In a bid to establish the truth of every data that was presented and analyzed, the researcher used triangulation analytical approach in examining and discussing some of the findings to echo the research questions and objective so that meaningful conclusions and recommendations could be made to help solve the research problem.

3.1 Historical Development of Print and Electronic Media in Contemporary Ghana
The aim of the research question was to find out the historical antecedent of print and electronic media in contemporary Ghana. With reference to the history of print and electronic media of this research question as stated in chapter one, the question sought to find out history of print and electronic media in Ghana and what has been the trend of development to date.

3.2 Print Media in Ghana
According to the respondents, this sector of media has been there long ago and one cannot justify which date is correct whether it started in 1822 or 1851. It is believed that the Methodist Mission had opened a printing house at Cape Coast at the time. This press was also used by the Basel Mission in the 50s. According to the respondents though the industry has had a checkered history it explores several techniques for producing texts and illustrations in colour on any substrate and in a desired number of identical copies. According to a technician at Graphic Corporation limited, printing plays an important role in the economic, political, educational, scientific and technological affairs of the development of this country. He mentioned that their outfit prints newspapers, magazines and books of all kinds for knowledge, information as well as for entertainment. On the question, what kind of machines do they use, the respondent said they make use of several machines depending on the type of job at hand. Machines such as planta, polygraph Web-offset RO.72 for newspaper printing and Linotron 202 photo-setting equipment for their work daily.
Again, the interviewees, said they hold in high esteem those of their colleagues who had learned the job through apprenticeship. One interviewee opined that they had to put their certificates aside and learn from the old hands what they had learnt fifty years ago. Together with other interviewees they explained that majority of the print houses in Ghana both state owned and private go through the same routine every day before printing newspapers. One of them recounted that at their outfit (Times corporation) they do offset for most of them by first printing the job on a photographic film and then transferring it onto a silver coated plate before it is printed using polygraph web-offset machine.
With regards to how text, photograph and images are worked on, the respondents collectively said the time of analogue working condition is gradually fading, where a reporter has to spend the same time in gathering the information in the darkroom to develop films before printing is done. According to a respondent:
“But for the advent of graphic communications elements that has brought to as digital software’s and other online platforms, work would have been slow as always, because ten to fifteen years ago they had to hand write all stories and then transcribe then form the short hand before any news is aired. He said the introduction of software’s like CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, illustrator, QuarkXPress, Maya and InDesign software’s is making designers more able to work on time and in time”.
Juxtaposing the responses from the respondents in all the print media houses, they seem to have a seemingly the same graphic workflow as print media house. All production goes through four areas: Creative, Premedia, Prepress and Delivery.

Table 1. Number of computer graphic software used in print and electronic media

From the above table, thirty-one (31) of the respondent who worked for the print media are in heavy use of the CorelDraw software as against nineteen (19) respondents from the electronic media. This represents 62% of the sample population making use of the CorelDraw software, and thirty-eight (38%) from the electronic media. On the are knowledge in the use Adobe Illustrator software it is the same as the CorelDraw software. Again, twenty-five (25) respondents from the print media representing 50% have a full grip of knowledge in the use of Adobe Photoshop, as against fifteen (15) respondents from the e-media representing thirty (30%) of the sample. Nobody from the print media had knowledge about the Cool 3D while 30% of the sample under e-media were constantly using the Cool 3D software. Movie Maker software, the respondents from the print media were not using it at all because it was not part of their daily routine, though few of them said they have knowledge about it. This was against ten (10) out of nineteen respondents from the e-media who are in constant use of the Microsoft movie maker. Five out of the thirty-one respondents were using the for their private works because the work schedule in the print house does not require Programme Builder its usage as against thirty-eight per cent in the e-media house who use the Programme Builder. For Quark Xpress 25 out of 31 respondents daily use the software to work, while only about five out nineteen e-media house workers use Quark Xpress. All nineteen e-media workers used Maya for their daily routine as against zero member from the print house uses the Maya software. InDesign, fifteen out nineteen respondents from the e-media houses demonstrated good knowledge on the use of the InDesign software, as against ten for the print media.

3.3 Electronic (media) broadcast in Ghana
According to the respondents prior to independence there was no other radio station apart from radio ZOY established in 1935 by the British colonialist. The electronic media has had palpable transformation in three mediums since its inception.
Kumordzi of GBC: took time to recount the history, he said the electronic media has metamorphosed in three mediums till its present day. He talked about are Cable, Broadcast, Satellite, internet (web 2.0 and web 3.0), and today digital. He described the cable distribution medium as the physical cable running from a cable company’s head-end to the consumer’s home or place of business. Explaining further he added that using cable could help assess many channels of content (Radio Ghana, VOA, CNN) using either analogue modulation or digital streams. He mentioned that cable can give both television programming content and voice-over-IP telephony phone service.
With Broadcast TV Bediako took turn to respond to the question how TV broadcast has evolved. He said the distribution medium is a radio frequency wireless transmission from one earthbound terrestrial location to another terrestrial location. A terrestrial broadcast TV station or channel beams a VHF or UHF radio wireless signal from their earthbound transmitter usually located on a hill or on a tall building to the consumer which only carries one channel’s content. He added that consumers need to install an antenna to receive the signal and a tuner to change channels between the various broadcast stations using terrestrial transmission.
Satellite transmission, the respondents collectively said satellite distribution medium is a radio frequency wireless transmission from an orbiting satellite directly to the consumer’s home or business. Satellite broadcast provider’s beam of wireless signal from their orbiting satellite to the consumer which unlike cable broadcast carries many channels of content.
With the question, what modern technologies are in use for electronic media today? The respondents were quick to say nothing has changed much but with any smart technology such as the scanner which can convert analogue images into digital ones, digital cameras, smart phones and contact lenses can do the magic. Juxtaposing the views from two-thirds of the respondents, the researcher released not all user of Graphic Communication elements understands the epigraphy of the elements the they are in constant use of. Typically, one would come to terms that designers are accustomed to dealing with the flat, pictorial paradigms of elements, and are finding it difficult dealing with the architectural, ergonomic, and cinematic paradigms of environmental, immersive media. Simply the epoch of multimedia is the deal for the day, and all print and electronic media are moving to that direction.
According to a respondent from Graphic communications group in the country we are the first media house that made use of the QR Code which stands for “Quick Response” Code and is a smart device application that encodes uniform resource locator (URLs) into barcodes to be scanned or read in web browsers. According to the respondent with an android-powered device or an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry or Windows smart device one can easily scan the QR on the newspaper to assess the images and information on their devices.