I picked up the habit of reading Newspapers very young. Way back, during the school days, Newspaper was the first thing I rushed for immediately on reaching back home from school. Those days my favourite used to be the last page because it carried all the sports news and thereafter if I had time and inclination, the first page got a cursory glance just to see the headlines which normally did not make much sense to me.
I thank my father and the school for inculcating in me the habit of daily Newspaper reading. We were supposed to write five main NEWS of the day in a notebook which was checked every Monday in the school. To escape punishment, one had to read the Newspaper daily to write those five headlines. That habit has continued till date and I am really thankful to my parents and the school for that. The only changes from the school days are that now I start the day with a Newspaper and it’s not just the last page but the entire Newspaper is read through in details. More focused attention is given to the first page and the Editorial and guest columns.
The Newspapers have changed so much with the passage of time. Earlier the Newspapers were dedicated to delivery/ carriage of News with advertisements limited to earmarked pages/ spaces. However, at present the Newspapers carry more advertisements than the News. In fact, some of the News Dailies carry full front-page advertisements now, with News following from page 2 onwards. Money matters, is very evident with the priority being given to the advertisements. The other major difference now is that the headlines are drafted with the sole aim of creating sensation. As one reads the complete News one can make out these are generally based on allegations, inferences being drawn from hearsay and not on concrete evidence. Investigative journalism has been taken over by sensationalism. Earlier Newspapers also used to carry a feel-good factor, the News were worded accordingly, and there was something for everyone, all age groups. Now most part of News portion is occupied by corruption, murders, accidents, thefts, rapes, political mud-slinging etc. There are more papers than the actual News. “Newspapers cannot be defined by the second word—paper. They’ve got to be defined by the first word—news.” Arthur Sulzberg, Jr.
I failed miserably in inculcating this habit of reading Newspaper in my children. I did try but failed. They are right to an extent that what’s the need to read when you can hear it with the click of a button. With so many News channels on air and the News readers shouting at the top of their voices to catch the attention of the viewer there should logically nothing be left for reading. But, how far that’s from truth is only known once you read the same News in a Newspaper. Reading still makes sense and matters more than just listening. The details which are carried by the print media can never be carried by the electronic media, most of whom actually create more drama. When you read a Newspaper you evaluate/ analyse and make your own decisions about the events. There is no underlining tone or an opinionated attitude in the newspaper. When you aren’t interested in a topic, you don’t have to wait until the anchor or a guest speaker finishes speaking, you just turn the page and move on.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book”
― Groucho Marx