Published on International Journal of Social, Politics & Humanities
Publication Date: June 14, 2019
S. A. Shaibu
Mass Communication Department, Bingham University
Karu Nasarawa, Nigeria
The paper takes a look at Mass Communication dialogue generally starting from the rudimentary monologue stage and zeroes in on parliamentary administration with particular focus on Parliamentary Information management and reporting. It showcases Information as a vital linking chord and or nexus of all legislative studies and administration and affirms that without effective Information and reporting, the whole legislature will collapse like a park of cards.
The paper concludes by highlighting the different umbiums, scope, horizons, components and vital areas of effective information and reporting.
The holistic focus shall be on:
1) Internal information management and reporting
2) External information management and reporting
Definition of Key Words/ Terms:
Here “Mass Communication dialogue” includes all areas of mass communication practices such as transmission, reporting, conveying, reporting, presenting, passing on, handing on, relaying, conveyance, divulgence, divulgation, disclosure, spreading, dissemination, promulgation, broadcasting circulation, circulating, announcement, dispatching, correspondence, news, word, etc (Oxford Thesaurus of English)
“Effectiive Parliament Information Management and Reporting” includes the best practices in Information Management (Old and New) and Reporting that meet up with the yearnings and expectations of the stakeholders of Parliament.
“Stakeholders” includes all the publics of Parliament of Legislative practice.
Note also that the paper is not indulging in the analysis paralysis or acavemic argument in the difference between “information” and “communication”. We consider this as diversionary in this present, rather we use these words inter changeably.
1. Legislative Information Management:
There are diverse systems now for legislative systems; information management now has a system – LIMS. LIMSis one out of many other diverse systems. LIMS is a solution designed to help countries, province, states and cities (large or small), manage the life circle of legislative documents, from drafting and codification, all the way to publishing.
This new innovative approach to legislative information management is digital in approach that is a far departure from the analogue options. Its door is ICT technology.
Another system is integratedlegislative information system, and e-government tool for legislative information management. There will be many more as technology changes by the day; information managers are to be aabreast with these trends.
……is to make laws, formulate laws, ratify laws, constitutionalize, put laws in tune, decree, order, ordain, prescribe, authorize, make provision, rule, lay down laws.While Legislation is:
1) A partial knowledge,
2) Holistic Knowledge and
3) Deep knowledge
Information Management generally and/or specifically for legislative environment. There is a need to understand the key words of our focus:
Law making, law enactment, law formulation, codification, prescription, ratification.
All these are done via/through:
body and laws, constitution rules, rulings regulations, acts, bills, statutes, enactments, charters, ordinances, measures, canon, code, jurisprudence.
The word “Legislative” is an adjective that refers to:
—a legislative assembly, law making, law giving, judicial, juridical, parliamentary, congressional, senatorial, deliberative, governmental, policy making, administrative, rare legislatorial
And of course “Legislator which is a noun refers to:
—law maker, lawgiver, parliamentarian, politician, representative, minister, statesman, stateswoman, (in the UK) = Member of Parliament (MP), In the US=Congress man, Congress woman, senator.
It should be noted that “words” are the vehicles or/and the molding blocks for informationmanagement.One cannot talk of information without a proper understanding of words- the vehicle for information dissemination and management. We need words to communicate to bring about information.
2. What then is information?
What is the horizon of information?
Again, Thesaurus (2000) has the answer.
…..a noun that deals with Particulars, facts, figures, statistics, data, knowledge, intelligence, instruction, advice, guidance, direction, counsel, enlightenment, news, notice, word, material, documentation, documents.
From this brief explanation, we can safely conclude that life generally cannot move on without information. It is through information that the total horizon or canon of information as evaluated by Thesaurus (2000) are actualized or met or realized.
By application, the whole business of the Nigerian National Assembly can never be realized without Communication/information.
What is information management?
A delve into the “Sambisa”forest of information management in the National Assembly without the knowledge of the horizon or information communication and even management generally is a blind attack without road map.
Generally and in line legislative best practices in America and legislative information centers, legislative information should include:
– Continuous, accurate and timely information about the legislative and the legislative process to the citizens (and by extension all the publics) as well as members of staff of the legislature.
– Keeping of accurate legislative documents.
– Showing the publics of the legislature, legislative actions and methods to contact the legislators.
– Organizing classes and training for legislative staff and legislators
– Update publication of legislative information to the public.
– Keeping accurate records of Bills, Bills report, Bill histories, Fiscal notes, and other bills materials.
– Roasters and other legislator itineries.
– Calendar, schedule and agendas.
– Educational and instructional materials
– Session documents, journals, magazines.
– Historical documents.
– Statistical data and reports.
– Laws and administrative rules.
The list of activities are in exhaustive.
What then is management?
Thesaurus (2000) has this to say again:
….running, managing organization, charge, care, direction, leadership, control, governing, governance, ruling command, superintendence, supervision, overseeing, conduct, handling, guidance, operation…
For information to be processed and encoded, there has to be a deep understanding of communication.
What is communication?
Shaibu 2016, Kayode (2009) and other scholars are unanimous on agreement with Kayode that:
Communication is a process of initiating and transmitting encoded messages through one or more media to a recipient, who in turn provide a feedback to the initiator.
Information Experts also agree that all Information or communication must pass through what is generally known as the Communication Process Model/chain whereby you have the following:
-The sender that encodes/source.
-The Message- information.
-The channel – or medium.
-The receiver- the target or destination.
Thesaurus (2000) again sees system as structure, organization, order, arrangement complex, apparatus, network, administration, institution, setup, processes, procedure, approach, practice line, line of action, means, way, manner, mode, frame work, modus operandi, scheme, plan, policy, programme, regimen, set of principles, set of procedures, set of guidelines, formula, routine, tactic, tack; also orderliness systemization, planning, logic, routine.
What is the Information Management System on the ground in an organization for proper information management planning?
For the Print Media – you need all the printing equipment that can make printing easier.
For Radio and Television–you need the recording studios, the control studiosthe transmitter, the mini- recording gadgets, the editing suites, etc. to seamlessly carry out the business of broadcasting
For the new media – we need satellite in space orbit for seamless transmissions
But it should be noted that most of the equipment must be compliant to the age of their birth and usage. For now there is a gradual movement from analogue transmission to digital transmission. It is work in progress!
What is system?
Are we still analogue in our information management system? That is to say are we still using paper information management as opposed to paperless information management? Are we still using files, drawers, cabinets, cupboards, paper, biros, shelves, tipex, pencils, biros, shelves and messengers that move files and memos from desk to desk?
Are we paperless in our communication and information management system? Are we digital or compliant? Are we electronic in our messaging environment? The system we put in place will determine where we belong as an organization.
ICT and New Information Technology can no longer allow our using “typewriter solutions to present ICT and technological problems” Shaibu (2016)
3. General Overview/ Preamble On Parliament Information/ Communication Management and Reporting
For a better understanding of this topic, let us liken the Information/communication Manager to a pilot in a cockpit with specific emphasis on diverse information system/panels that bibs or reads:
1. Non-Verbal Information/Communication Management
2. Print Media Information/ Communication Management
3. Radio Media Information/ Communication Management
4. TV Media Information/ Communication Management
5. Social Media Information/ Communication Management
6. Public Relations (PR)/ Protocols Information/ Communication Management
7. AdvertisementInformation/ Communication Management
8. Parliament reporting Via Hansards (Edited verbatim debatesof parliaments) Information/ Communication Management
Others are, depending on the state of digitization of the National Assembly, the following.
9. Intercom information/ Communication Management
10. CCTV Information/ Communication Management
11. Short Hand Information/ Communication Management
12. Typing literacy Information/ Communication Management
13. ICT/Computer Literacy Information/ Communication Management
14. Library Information/ Communication Management
Our parliament information/communication manager therefore has the onerousand singular duty of ever scanning the cockpit environment to make sure all these diverse component are working, and working very perfectly based on the general or specific knowledge of same rooted in the theory that a good information/communication manager must know everything about something and something about everything.
The importance of 1-15, and many more, is a key to total or holistic parliament information/communication management and reporting.
Why do we think so? This is subject to various analysis, brainstorming and postulations.
The Hansard holistic reports of debates, bills, proceedings etc of parliament must have the following:
1. Protocols of production.
2. Styles of production/ house rules.
4. Choice of languages/registers/ vocabularies.
5. Has to obey the rules of KISS (Keep IT Short and Simple) through proper editing without losing the vital parts.
6. Has specific ways of presentation, reporting and/or productions.
7. Has specific job schedules for the production crew.
8. Has it template of production.
9. Has order
10. Has specific communication/information disseminating styles or strategies.
4. General Introduction Laying The Basics Of Information/Communication Management and Reporting VIA Different Interactive Exercises in Information/ Communication Management that Affects Reporting.
There are specific huddles in the way of parliament information, communication management and reporting that we must take note of. Let’s us close in on just a few:
1. Type, Laladididi is coming on a piece of paper. Read it into the ear of the participant and relay through telephone conversation and see the level of distortion, disinformation.
2. Ask participant to take a retrospective glance at the movement of information communication through the ages:
Typewriter + typist
Dictation + shorthand
Interpreter + chief emir + chiefs
Voice conversation now automatically converted into type materials by ICT/Computer applications.
3. Ear wanting to hear what it wants to hear and their shortcomings in provincial accents information distortion:e.g
Fix = Pix
Learn = Rean
Hen = En
End =- Hend
All = Hall, etc.
Hear we see ear wanting to hear what it wants to hear and not what you said because prejudices via what good can come out of Nazareth, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Minority language exercises.
The Changing Trends In Information/ Communication Documentations:
1. Writing on stone
3. The coming of paper/books
4. The coming of computers
5. The coming of short hand
6. The coming of ICT/computers
7. The coming of computers accessories and applications that make writings easier and user friendly.
Information/ Communication Weapons
1. Of the author = Books
2. Of the journalist = Newspapers
3. Of the broadcaster = Radio/TV
4. Of social media = Newspapers, Radios and TV
5. Of National Assembly = Newspapers, RadiosTV, social media and hanserd.
6. Of lovers of old school = letters
7. Of lover of new schools = text messages, Whatsapp, blogs, LinkedIn, medium, facebook, twitters, instagram, etc
8. Of news makers = news bulletins on Newspapers, Radios ,TV and social media.
9. Off programmes= programmessuch as drama, magazines, talks etc.
10. Of marketers = advertisements/ads copy.
Each of these have their different house styles, procedures, formats, approaches, etc.
5. The Control Panel/ Counter Or Horizon of Information/ Communication Management In National Assembly
1. Verbal Information/Communication Management between staff and staff, management and staff, organization and different stake holders or publics.
2. Book Information/CommunicationManagement via libraries etc.
3. Radio information/communication management.
4. TV information/communication management.
5. Newspapers information/communication management.
6. Social media information/communication management.
7. Data information/communication management.
Note that all these should be programmed to meet deadlines of writings, productions, broadcasting/ dissemination to the targeted publics.
Note also that all these are subject to the vagaries of change.
6. Deeper/ Digging Deep Analysis
Is our organization on LAN (Local Area Networking) or WAN (Wide Area Networking). For an organization to be compliant in this age, there are basic minimum requirements in terms of meeting up with messaging, information or communication infrastructure, structure or message, directories, message transport systems and the mechanisms that support each of the structure (LAN TIMES PUBLICATION).
LAN-Time E- Mail Resource Guide further explains:
Today, messaging gateways are the key compliments for implementing highly functional, multivendor, electronic messaging environment.
In most organizations today, the traditional memo approach is a gradually being eroded by e-mailing system. LAN Time E- Mail Resource continues:
when you select and successfully implement the appropriate gateway, the linked desperate systems work together in a manner transparent to the e-mail user. Selection of the most technically feasible, cost-effective gateway depends on the configuration and cost constraints present in your unique messaging environment.
What this e-mail approach has done is a debihratingblow on our transitional approach letter, packages, parcels, correspondence files, traditional office communication methods, airmails, postal systems, postal services, post office, registered mails and/or memos, special delivery, recorded delivery, leg-work delivery, etc. to the point that these old methods are either toddling for continuous existence and relevance in our changing communication or information systems.
A comparative overview of the electronic messaging environment or e-mail or e-messaging or digital compliant messaging environment with the outgoing, analogue, non-digital massaging environment will reflect a world of difference or the yawning gaps between the two.
Scenario 1: Source: LAN/ TIME E-Mail Resource Guide
Chris heard a chirping sound, indicating that an electronic mail message had just arrived. She leaned over her deck chair to retrieve her palm top computer, positioning it to the glow of evening light fell on the screen.
“Open new mail”, she said and the screen immediately painted a message containing colorful icons. “Open communiqué” and Chris viewed a full colour motion video of Jason, her partner in their Boston office. “Hello Chris”, Jason said, “sorry to intrude on your much deserved vacation, but I wanted you to be the first to see Alex in action on Baby McGregory’s heart surgery. Take a look at this and let me know if you can improve on any of the procedures. The baby’s work up and medical records are attached. Have a great time and see you soon”.
“Open Hologram” and the verbal command created a crisp, full colour physical representation of a hospital operating room bustling with activity. Leading the team was Alex, the newest member of their cardiac surgical practice. Chris watched fascinated, while Alex skillfully implanted the latest dynamic growth artificial heart designed to expand over time as the child grew into early adolescence. Then it will be replaced into an adult model.
Chris launched both the baby’s chart and medical records to scan them as the surgery progressed. The search capacity made it easy to locate any item of specific interest. “Send reply with video”, Chris said as she looked into the small digital camera in the corner of the screen. “Jason, I have reviewed your information and replay of the McGregory Surgery. Please congratulate Alex and his team on the outstanding job! See you on the 7th”. “Send close”, said Chris as the image of the operating room evaporated into the cool night air.
Compare the multilevel message exchange with the old analogue approach and you will not only see a great gap of difference, but a huge man-hour and other actualization processes waste!
Look at this scenario
In the early days of the movement of the capital from Lagos to Abuja, all Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) systems of network operation were in Lagos. An imaginary National Assembly proceeding in Abuja in the analogue system will entail the following
– Legwork or drive to National Assembly with heavy recorders.
– Recording of the proceeding.
– Return to sub studio in Radio House Abuja for editing / packaging.
– Drive to Abuja airport with the edited Material’s to be flown to Lagos.
– Collections of recorded materials the Lagos end for ikoyi, transmission of the network programme either in the Network News or specialized programmes for the National Assembly.
Our imaginations should subject this analogue method of yore with imaginary possibilities and obstacles towards meeting our Network deadlines.
Let us go back to the basics again. Is your organization “wired” or LAN-linked for effective, prompt and immediate message delivery via audio, video and text messages? Are the office inter-connected for quick, prompt and immediate message delivery or it is still the old method of memos with file movements by dispatch messengers from source to destination and from destination back to source? Imagine the man-hour’s loss, the time wastage and the burning of energy through leg walks scenario already painted.
Technology now makes this abundant wastages to be avoided formulti-level, quick, prompt and immediate information dissemination or communication in an organization!
An effective e-mail interconnectivity is an effective remedy for quick, prompt and immediate information and administrative management in an organization.
E-mail gateways and their different options add great value to information management in an organization.
Simply put, from a lay man’s perspective, Gateways are application programs that reside on hardware platform and enable the exchange of messages between disparate e-mail systems. This makes it possible for an end user on a LAN-based e-mail system….to transparently send a message to another end user on a completely different e-mail system…or a program that enable two or more different e-mails systems to exchange messages.(Greater details from ICT expert Definition is deliberately avoided there)