The main functions of newspapers are as follow
Ta present information:
The chief and fundamental function of a newspaper is to provide information, guidance, help and entertainment to the general public. Newspaper awares the common man 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, Aparthied in South Africa. Communism degeneration in Russia, war between Arabs and Israel in Middle East, sports of Barcelona, Amsterdam or London, etc.
To give comments on daily happenings
In twenty-four hours, circumstances change in short while and events happen even second after second. Newspapers present not only news regarding an event but view 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.
To form public opinion
Public opinion grows out of this 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 some thing 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 editorial, 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 other 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 .
Platform for people discussion:
Newspapers where fonn 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 dark part of the picture.
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.
Spokesman of Society
Apart from other function, newspaper should have also to promote the thoughts, customs and traditions of the society. But it does not affect impartiality. She has to promote only the food and the most flourish able additions of the society, which really needs wide projection for the progress and prosperity
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.
Modem 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 every day, he can obtain a very good picture of international, national and local affairs. While a 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 specialised subject
Modem’ 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 full fill 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 seen 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 cares and anxieties of every day life. In the same way, cartoon is always welcomed.