An investigation into the financial news and information provided by the Times of Zambia newspaper
This report is based on an investigation of the adequacy of the financial news and information provided by the Times of Zambia. The study was aimed at assessing the role of the Times of Zambia in helping improve the public’s financial knowledge on various financial topics such as banking, insurance, credit and pension schemes among others. The study was also aimed at evaluating the scope of financial coverage by the Times of Zambia in comparison with other media and also establishing which financial information was most preferred by the general public. The methodology used in the research included: purposive sampling, in that only salaried employees were interviewed and systematic sampling by picking interviewees from every 4th office. The collection of data included the administering of 100 quantitative interviews, 1 focus group discussion of 10 participants, an in-depth interview with the Times of Zambia business news editor and content analysis of the Times of Zambia financial coverage for 2 weeks. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) while qualitative data was analysed thematically. The findings of the study revealed that people’s understanding of financial information is limited to saving or having a bank account and other complex forms of saving through pension schemes, insurance policies and other investment opportunities such as the stock market have been ignored. Information on credit, borrowing, performance of the economy and taxation which were equally important components of financial information have also been ignored. Findings also revealed that though the Times of Zambia was interested in providing financial information, the provision of that information was affected by a limited number of journalists positioned in various parts of the country and by limited resources. Data from the study also revealed that most people felt that the Times of Zambia did not provide adequate financial information and that if it did, the editorials were boring and did not catch the attention of most people. The inadequacy of the financial information was gauged against the respondents’ responses to whether they received information on various financial topics or not. The inadequate training of the Times of Zambia financial reporters in reporting financial matters also explained why they could not break down financial information into something easy to understand or interesting for the audience. Some people, however, thought they were far more financially literate such that even when the information was available, they would ignore it because they believed they already knew it. The majority of the people preferred the financial articles in news format and medium in size. Finally, observations and recommendations were made which are meant to help the Times of Zambia improve its financial coverage and would result in people being fully informed about financial matters.