When we talk about journalism and its functions the few things that pop into our heads are that it helps in educating people, informing them and guiding them in forming their opinions. In simple words, its main role is to spread information on a wider scale and to cover masses all over the globe. The news is most relied on as people believe it is the most accurate and objective item to trust on. News in print form, audio form or in audio-visual form must be just an objective.
Purpose and functions of News
- Forming opinions
- Spreading awareness
Read: Investigate Journalism
- Informing the audience: news helps in informing people of what is going around them in the world. It covers the entire serious topic that every individual has right to know for the better living. Here topics like politics, business, education, foreign affairs, weather forecasts etc all are covered. News helps us to inform complicated processes in a simple way.
- Educating the audience: as discussed above news is used to inform people it is also used to educate them on the matter which is directly or indirectly related to them. For instance, there is a happening going on GST in India but many are not aware of exactly what is it so news helps us to educate on such topics and how it will affect us and others. Editorials and columns help us to educate ourselves on those topics which we might not acquire easily.
- Guiding the audience: As we all know now from the above points that it helps people inform and educate there comes guidance through the news. Once the audience is informed, educated on certain issues then it helps people in guiding but is right and what is wrong with them. It is a great source of influence on people. Once the audience is influenced and start to follow and believe whatever is said by the news is right then the mission guidance is achieved.
- Interpreting facts and news: people have the tendency to believe written things as it is believed that anything in written form as more authenticity. Every reporter must keep in mind to collect their information from different sources before conveying it to the audience. Before informing it to the audience reporter must go through all the facts required in the story and interpret them accordingly. The facts must be interpreted carefully to influence audience rightly and persuade them in the right direction. A good news means every fact and figure must be looked after keenly and presented in the news appropriately.
- Source of entertainment: People who have little knowledge of news would think it carries only serious topics but to balance out its serious nature it tends to also serve as an entertainment source. This news is usually read, heard and seen in the leisure time. It covers that news which is light in nature news on fashion, movie reviews, hobby columns, sports news etc. Entertaining news is gaining a great number of audience as it is attractive in nature.
- Forming opinions: once the news is published in a newspaper or broadcasted on television then it acts as the agent of forming opinions. News helps people to build their opinion on the information given by the news. For example after the incident of 11 September people were influenced by the media and started to have a kind of Islamophobia and started believing that all Muslims are terrorists. Also during elections media displays each party in such a way that it creates an image of each party differently and affect people’s opinions. One more example would be if repetitively we view one product we tend to form an opinion about it and then take action according to our opinions.
- Spreading Awareness: it helps in spreading awareness regarding what is going on around the world on serious topics. Politics, health, business and other people-oriented matters. For say if there is a disease spreading all over a nation then the news plays important role spread awareness on it and how to prevent ourselves from it. To provide a good news reporter must look into the matter keenly and increase people’s awareness on such issues.
- Advertising: At times it happens many news channel show one thing in a repetitive mode. Therefore it is easy to understand that it is an advertisement of certain things as it is commercially oriented. Many times there are messages conveyed which are of public service and for public awareness such as the message on family planning, safety while driving, blood donation etc but at times the advertisement is commercially oriented meaning on some products. The advertisement is disliked by many as people believe when news channels start to show more advertisement they lose their value and forget what their actual duties are.