TV AND NEWSPAPERSWhile most people watch TV news for their immediacy and visual impact, studies show that it has had very little impact on newspaper reading. In fact, newspaper reading is a habit deeply ingrained in the literate section of the population and in spite of radio and TV, people continue to read newspapers because of their thoroughness and detailed coverage. It will not be wrong to say that while TV and radio provide the taste and flavour, the newspapers provide the meat which is essential for nourishment. Basically newspapers are seen as a source of information and TV as entertainment, Newspapers have enough space to cater to the special interests of all the readers and provide detailed coverage of the news. TV, on the other hand, has a limited appeal and has to cater to the tastes of all the viewers in the limited time at its disposal. TV news by
its nature has to be brief because it has to give all the news in a brief time and has to leave out important details, frequently whole items altogether. Many a time, it even happens that a more important item is left out in favour of one which is less important but has greater visual appeal. Thus TV news is basically a supplement for the newspapers, watched mainly for its visual impact but not for thorough coverage or for interpretation or background.
TV cannot give all the details of an item and neither should it try. TV is not a good vehicle for carrying great volumes of little facts such as facts and figures, large numbers and insignificant details. TV is a passing medium and once an item is read out it is gone forever. While on the other hand, a reader reads a newspaper with full concentration and can refer to it again and again. The biggest advantage of TV news is its visual impact and direct appeal. The viewer can be directly taken to the battlefield and see the guns firing around him or people running for cover or bombs explode. He can see demonstrators throwing stones at policemen in the Israeli occupied areas. He can see the devastation caused by an earthquake in Nicaragua and feel the agony of the people. And when a head of state declares war, every TV viewer feels he is addressing him directly and feels an appropriate emotional response. Newspapers are often read in circumstances in which Television cannot compete-while travelling, at the office, during breakfast. And they can be read any time during the day. It is a habit for most people to read the newspapers which they cannot do without, even if they have heard the news on the radio and TV.
In a study in the United States, the participants were asked two questions. Which do you think gives the most complete news coverage, radio, newspapers or television? and which, do you think, gives the most interesting news coverage?
75% of the people said newspapers were most complete and 68% of the people said television was most interesting. Thus we can say that basically people look at newspapers as a source of information and TV as a source of entertainment.