The Value of Newspapers
Power of the Press
The cheapest means of mass communication
In the modern times, it is perhaps the media which has spread its wings the wider than any other industry. Newspapers are the cheapest means of mass communication. Newspapers give us the latest news.
Provide the latest news and information
Now, it is easy to know through newspapers what is happening in different countries. Newspapers help us to know the current political as well as economic situation of a country.
Those who want to have the latest information in sports should see the sports column. Similarly, those who want to know the economic position of different companies should see the business column. Separate columns are there in the newspapers for different fields. Thus we have the literary column for poems, skits and book reviews. We have also women and kids columns.
Advertisement regarding jobs, matches, etc.
Through matrimonial advertisements, one can learn about matching boys and girls whose brief description regarding age, height, complexion, caste, profession, hobbies, tastes, demands, etc. if any, is given and one can make a fair selection and go in for asking detailed information through the stipulated process. Most of the newspapers also have columns and advertisements for jobs, appointments, tenders, etc.
The fourth estate
Newspapers are rightly called the fourth estate. It is because they are a powerful instrument and weapons. They can make or mar a government. Politicians, not afraid of anybody or anything, are afraid of newspapers.
Take, for instance, the Tehelka which though in itself a powerful item, was highlighted widely by the newspapers, and this humbled many a politician. In the Punjab, the scam in the Punjab Public Service Commission, perhaps the biggest recruitment scam in the country was brought to focus by the press media. In the matter of some judicial officials being tainted or not, the authorities concerned had to ensure and declare emphatically that the freedom of information could not be curtailed.
Even in foreign countries, for instance, in the USA, the then US government had to bow to the powerful revelations regarding the Vietnam war and the performance of the US troops there. Further many scams in India also are often first exposed or reported by the ever-alert correspondents and writers in various newspapers.
It is now a cliche to say that NEWS means north, east, west and south. It means that the newspapers collect the news from all parts of the world and present them to the readers early in the morning.
The common man
The importance of the newspapers for the common man can be judged from the fact that a man often waits for the newspaper vendors quite early in the morning, and as he sees him, he feels overjoyed as if he had got a jackpot. He can forgo his breakfast but not his newspaper.
Newspapers are published not only in English but also in vernacular. Of course, the circulation of English dailies is much more than that of dailies in vernaculars.
Modern newspapers are profusely illustrated. They offer colourful pictures of actors, actresses, national and international leaders, sportsmen and scholars. Mountain scenery is sometimes offered in multifarious colours printed on art paper. Similarly, tasteful recipes and descriptions of rare birds, animals and plants are presented to the reader on colourful glossy sheets of the newspapers, especially on holidays.
We should be wary about newspapers with vested interests
The reader should be thankful to the modern science which has made all this possible. By just spending one or two rupees the reader gets so much interesting matter – matter comprising varied interests to suit every kind of reader.
To many a reader nowadays, particularly to the oldies, the health column is very important. Then there are science, art, cinema, T.V., cartoon and so many other columns, including quizzes, puzzles and even mathematical sums. Let us be beholden to such a wonder of science and art combined in the newspapers.
Let us beware of the newspapers which spread false notions. Some newspapers may have some vested interests. Some of them may be full of pornographic material keeping sales in mind. Others may spread communalism or otherwise give twisted news or views to suit a particular caste, class or section of society.
Let the newspapers be objective, truthful, constructive, nationally minded, humane and with a humanistic and progressive outlook. We should welcome such newspapers as are a real asset to society and as help in furthering national schemes for the development and upliftment of the masses.
Editorials and reader’s column
Most of the newspapers have editorials and articles by scholars and experts. We should read them carefully as they may be full of wisdom and information. We can express our views on any current matter in the newspapers in the Editor’s mail or readers’ column. We should be truthful, frank and fearless in expressing our honest views Newspapers can indeed be a vehicle to spread public opinion which is the real foundation of democracy.