Sunday, September 21, 2014

Newspaper Reading Habit

Rabin  Man Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

Newspaper which is one of the most important miracles of modern technology has done many, many wonderful and commendable things in the history of nations across the world. A newspaper not only publishes news and views of home and abroad, it also provides information about science, culture, arts, business, sports, entertainment  and so on.
 A newspaper in fact is the store house of information and knowledge.  A newspaper is a good source of information for chronicles and history. A good newspaper is a trail-blazer to the society and nation as a whole.Therefore. newspaper reading habit is a passion which provides people with lots of information and knowledge.

I remember I started reading newspapers when I was 15 years old. Taking a trip down memory lane, I remember reading the Nepalese newspapers in Nepali as well as in English: The Gorkhapatra. The Rising Nepal, Samikshya, Matribhumi, Rastra Pukar, The Commoner and Naya Sandesh etc. Obviously, I read all those newspapers in the libraries.  After passing my SLC in 1973, I became a member of Biplavi Pustakalaya in my local neighborhood and also became a member  of the libraries run by the American Center, British Council, Nepal-Soviet Cultural Association and Nepal-China Friendship Association in Kathmandu.

Meanwhile, the frequent news reports about the closures of  newspapers, about the decline of circulation of the newspapers, cutback in the frequency and home-delivery and lay-off of journalists are most alarming for the US newspaper industry. Today, more than ever, less and less American young people are not reading newspapers. As a result, if you ask the young Americans " what are the names of Secretaries of State and Defense of the US?" some will pronounce the name of the Secretary of State, but majority will struggle to say the name of the Secretary of Defense. This happens when young people are not paying adequate attention to newspaper reading habit.

Newspaper reading habit is of utmost importance for the young people because it not only opens the doors for getting to know what is going on in and around the nation and the world, it also helps to build vocabulary skills, general knowledge and background information.

Therefore, given the near-total literacy rate and better economic, educational and cultural opportunities, the decline of newspaper circulation and newspaper reading habit is a matter of grave concern for the United States.

Well, well-informed citizens are the assets of a nation and we can not imagine of well-informed citizens who do not read newspapers and magazines. Political development and democratic process of a country is definitely influenced by the well-informed citizens.

Now, I am going to disclose you  some more of  my personal details about my newspaper reading habit. I had the opportunity to read newspapers of different hues in the past: from communist to libertarian newspapers. Likewise, I have read newspapers in five different languages: English, Russian, Hindi, Nepali and Nepal Bhasa. And my favourite  newspaper is: The New York Times.

By the way, when I used to read the Soviet newspaper "Pravda" during my long stay in Minsk in the eighties, its circulation exceeded 10 million copies daily and it was published from 40 different Soviet cities simultaneously.

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