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439. The Newspaper

The purpose of a newspaper is to give news objectively. Presently news means news of politics. Some newspapers resort to sensationalism. Others, wishing to set standards of factual news, develop OPINIONS, which in time become sacred to them. Those who have done subtle psychological research into opinions know the process of their formation. It is easy to get into it, not so easy to get out of it.  I wonder how many of us recollect occasions or persons who have really changed their opinion OBJECTIVELY, not for a certain gain. Those who run the newspapers are more prone to it. To report the news factually is a great service. To know what that news represents or will lead to is another affair. It is not given to the editor to know it by virtue of being the editor of a newspaper.

Newspaper is an institution, as our religion or education or our customs and usage. Ideally, if a newspaper can feel the pulse of the nation and reflect it, readers won't wait till the paper is delivered to them. Then the paper becomes vibrant. Inside the organisation of a newspaper, there are all the departments of a company. The one thing that will be conspicuous by its absence is the coordination between those departments.  The editorial is an ivory tower. No one will be allowed to touch it. A survey in New York found the best performing newspaper had the highest level of coordination especially with the editorial department. Recently people who wanted to start a newspaper surveyed 100,000 homes and brought out a dummy. It had a higher reception than expected. It is one thing to cater to their desires and another their needs.

Today, every section of the population is full of aspiration for a better life. If a newspaper takes only the positive side of it and copiously report it factually, it will integrate with the population, especially if it reaches all over the country. To know that, one should know the pulse of the population. It is no easy job, as Demming said, to put this idea across to the editors of a newspaper, especially its owner. Reader surveys often disclose that several news items are read by 1% of the readers and there are other items that no one reads. The beauty of it is, the editorial often values those columns. Cynical writers, partisan thinkers can become popular but that is not the way to build an ideal newspaper.

story | by Dr. Radut