MAIN FUNCTIONS OF NEWSPAPERS1. To Present Information :
The chief and fundamental function of a newspaper is to provide information, guidance, help and entertainment to the general public. Newspapers make the common man aware of the happening of an event, even all around the world as an information. We know detail of any event through the Press, e.g., Hindu-Muslim riots in India, apartheid in South Africa, Communism degeneration in Russia, war between Arabs and Israel in Middle East, sports of Barcelona, Amsterdam or London, etc.
2. To give Comments on Daily Happenings :
In twenty-four hours, circumstances change in a short while and events happen every second after second. Newspapers present not only news regarding an event but views also. For that purpose, a special page is used in the form of editorial, column and feature. In these pages, newspaper presents different views about a news but this doesn't mean that newspaper agrees with their point of view. In this connection, only the editorial carries the responsibility of the newspaper as it also shows the policy of the newspaper.
3. To Form Public Opinion :
Public opinion grows out of the great variety and diversity of the opinions, views, beliefs and prejudices of individuals or. citizens of a state, when they think and want to do something in common. Lord Bryce defines it thus: Public opinion is “the aggregate of the views men hold regarding matter that affect or interest the community.” Newspaper is the most important agency for influencing and expressing public opinion. Newspapers influence public opinion by their editorials, news and method of presenting them, and by their views and comments on the news. Newspaper can easily mislead public opinion simply by suppressing or omitting certain kinds of news and by emphasizing others or by presenting the facts in a distorted and unfair manner. Press must be honest, impartial and accurate as great responsibilities lie upon her shoulders.
4. Platform for People Discussion :
Newspapers form the public opinion, on the other hand, provide a comprehensive platform for people discussion. Newspaper is an open invitation to all to unite for or against any problem, event or policy. Hence, by providing such facility, newspaper enables the society to see the lighter and darker part of the picture.
5. Truth and Reality :
Newspapers have to produce news-cause or any kind of information based on truth and reality as the foremost function of newspaper is to bring out truth and reality before the people. By inducing these universals, newspaper has solved many tangible problems.
6. Spokesman of Society :
Apart from other functions, newspaper plays a positive role to promote the thoughts, customs and traditions of the society. But it does not affect impartiality. She has to promote only the good and the most flourish-able additions of the society, which really needs wide projection for the progress and prosperity.
7. Information :
This is obviously the most important function but the other ones must be paid equal attention if a newspaper is to make a lasting appeal to the public. The first channel of information is the leading article or what is called, the editorial which is the best medium at the newspaper’s disposal for the interpretation of the news of the moment. The leader writer today may not have quite the same influence on the reader that he had when there were few newspapers but, nonetheless, a popular newspaper even today guides the public opinion by interpreting the news and elaborating the opinions for creating an impact on the readers.
8. Instruction for Decisions :
Modern newspapers cannot afford to make their leading article dry as dust. In fact, the short snappy leading article has become one of the most striking features of modern journalism. It can fairly be said that if the reader studies the leading article in his favourite newspaper everyday, he can obtain a very good picture of international, national and regional affairs. While the reader may not accept the views of the leader as the
gospel, all the same it enables him to adjust his ideas and encourage him to think for himself. Instruction is also to be gained from many of the articles on special subject.
9. Entertainment :
Modern newspapers tend to carry many light materials including articles written in light vein. These features not only indirectly influence the opinions of the readers but also fulfill the entertainment function.
Every paper by a process of trial and error must discover what form of entertainment pleases most of its readers for the greater part of the time. The tastes of the readers of different journals vary considerably. Even serious newspapers and magazines nowadays are expected to carry strip cartoons or topical comics here and there. It is one thing on which most of the newspapers seems to be agreed as it makes for the continuing
popularity of short stories, film reviews, social comments, etc. The pictures, “perhaps more than anything else, combine the three functions of the newspaper. The decision on the part of some of the more serious-minded papers to introduce a picture page receives welcome letters, newspapers have many ways of entertaining the reader. Articles on every conceivable kind of sport, on bridge, on gardening, on chess,. on cookery and even on the latest fashions achieve the same aim of giving the readers, for a few moments at
any rate, a welcome change from the anxieties of everyday life. In the same way, cartoon is always welcomed.