Newspapers - Helps us become ‘Informed Citizens’


Reading newspapers is a valuable mannerism and it should have been a part and parcel of modern life. We don't comprehend that we grow into exceptional knowledgeable through newspaper (Low-priced and readily available informational and most important testimony) reading that broadens our perspective and helps us become 'Informed Citizens' by getting an insight into the current affairs, and other different domains including country's economic situation trade and commerce, Court rulings, new laws, political spectrum, entertainment world, corporate world, sports, jobs and many more. We keep up with new developments in technology, governmental regulations, academic research, and other things. Daily newspaper reading is a wonderful healthy practice that offers a lot of educational value.
It contains a wealth of information on global events as well as what is occurring in the nation, town, and surrounding places. In actuality, the newspaper serves as our primary source for all pertinent information. It is the best connection between the government and the populace that one can discover. Newspapers provide readers with excellent career prospects. With the use of newspapers, students may learn about a variety of topics. They develop their oratory skills, which make it easier for them to participate actively in speeches, debates, and conversations that boost their confidence.
"The newspapers have 'tremendous credibility' and, by acting as a link between the government and the people, play a critical role in creating awareness" - PM Narendra Modi. The 'Editorial Pages' of the newspaper that carry everyday topics on different issues, socialize us with unknown world and their reading provides confidence to speak fluently on various topics but everything has become so visual now that no one bothers to read not only newspapers but books, Magazines or other readable material also. But unfortunately despite having so many benefits, newspaper reading is becoming a dying habit. We must not let this become so as newspapers are very reliable sources of news. Had we ever realized why it is becoming a dying habit? Its most credit goes to digitalization.
According to the data (http:// & more than half the world's adult population read a newspaper: more than 2.5 billion in print and more than 600 million in digital form. With the world transforming towards digitalization (As of January 2023, there were 5.16 billion internet users worldwide, which is 64.4 percent of the global population), the citizenry is getting everything on phones and computers. According to a recent report, ( 92.1% of internet users worldwide access the internet using a mobile phone. There are approximately 4.32 billion active mobile internet users in the world. According to the 10th edition of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism's Digital News Report 2021, 82 percent of Indians read the news online, and 73 percent do so, on their smartphones. According to an Assocham report in 2017, social media platforms such as Twitter, Face book, WhatsApp, and others rapidly changed the reading and viewing habits of an increasing number of people, mostly youngsters. According to KPMG India Analysis, 2020, ( news consumption through digital apps has increased, and newspaper readership has decreased by 38% to 40%, while the consumption of news via digital apps has been growing.
When we talk of newspapers, the availability of its contents 'Online' has a very important role in the digital world but it has declined the readership of the printed newspapers. The people are getting instant updates on their mobile phones and computer systems, they barely read the newspaper. The information gathered by reporters whether electronic or print media that is dispensed and then consumed by the audience has a direct bearing on the public opinion. The information is critical for a democracy to survive. But, what we have observed is that the media fraternity is drifting away from its purpose and inclining to the dispensation of the information of specific interests to maintain their TRP. This is another very important reason; the readers and viewers are avoiding newspaper readings that used to be a partner of citizens at the morning tea session.
Another strong reason for drifting away from readers from reading printed newspapers is the association of power with media that has been instrumental in manufacturing public consent and controlling dissent. This is evident from the 'World Press Freedom Index' released by 'Reporters Without Borders (RSF)' that ranked India at number 161 out of 180 countries surveyed, dipping 11 number from the previous year. Media associations in the country have voiced concern over India slipping 11 places to 161st rank in the World Press Freedom Index. We remember the impact, when some Indian newspapers published blank front pages to protest against the Emergency of 1975 and more recently, many dailies in Kashmir Valley printed a blank front page to protest against the "unexplained denial" of advertisements by the J&K government to some newspapers. Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography has described "The sole aim of journalism should be service. The newspaper is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water".
The quality of the information should be as defined by H.L. Mencken (an American journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English that "The average newspaper, especially of the better sort, has the intelligence of a hillbilly evangelist, the courage of a rat, the fairness of a prohibitionist boob-jumper, the information of a high school janitor, the taste of a designer of celluloid valentines, and the honor of a police-station lawyer." My study on 'What a newspaper needs in its news, in its headlines, and on its editorial page' carried me to the conclusion that it requires expressive capability, ingenuity, and veracity in addition to humor, sports and entertainment.
(President Senior Citizens' Club (Regd) Udhampur. Views expressed are personal.)

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