Benefits of reading newspapers

Reading a newspaper each day is a habit that "helps you move outside the narrow zone of your personal affairs" and expand your horizons.

Choose to read a reputable newspaper and expose yourself to different points of view on various issues. Because newspapers report on a wide range of topics, reading a newspaper can contribute to you becoming well rounded in your outlook. Research by Dan Sullivan of the University of Minnesota USA shows that using newspapers is especially beneficial to people of a minority cultural background.

A common argument against reading newspapers is that they tend to focus on sensationalised, negative and exploitative stories. Newspapers are designed to serve a variety of temperaments and you can choose not to read certain stories. The best content is rarely found on the front or bag pages!

You’ll find copies of many newspapers available to read for free, in electronic or paper form, at public libraries. An electronic subscription to a particular newspaper will cost around $20 to $40 per month. This may sound steep until you realise the educational value it offers.

Much of the "news" you see online is recycled from other sources and is not reported in-depth. Newspaper publishers still employ "reporters" who actually venture out to personally research stories.

Newspapers usually have a political bias, which is most evident in "op-ed" (opinion/editorial) articles. Even the most biased dailies will publish alternative and opposing views for the purpose of stirring things up! It’s up to you to read different newspapers as it suits you.

Shruti Sandilya, an Indian lady writing in Quora, made an important point about the history of newspapers in her country that applies to any democracy. During the Indian freedom struggle, the majority of people did not possess reading or writing skills. Where only "one person in the village knew how to read, people would encircle him to get… to know about the issues."  Sandilya says. In this way, the Indian freedom struggle became a "grass roots" movement. "Freedom of Press is a Fundamental Right in the Indian Constitution, thanks to the habit of newspaper reading (or hearing)."

By Warren Heggarty of Panorama Magazine


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