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I remember when we were young- during summer vacations- away from the boring textbooks and revision tests-we would happily play with cousins all day long and watch TV. But even then- my grandma- a strict disciplinarian- would make sure- we take the newspaper in our hands and read for a while. Getting us up-to-date with the political and social scenario wasn't her motive. She made sure we picked up the reading skills, vocabulary and learnt at least few new words each day. "Sit with a dictionary in hand and jot down the new words", she used to say!
The newspapers-just like in any Indian household- have always been an integral part. The minute the newspaper boy throws in the newspaper- we used to run to collect it and see quickly our favourite pages (mostly Sports!) and those catchy headlines ("Ganguly conjures up a virtuoso performance"!!). Dad and Mom are avid newspaper readers- and with Mom, a journalist herself- it became very easy in our life to read the newspapers daily and gather both worldly knowledge and pick up new vocab.
But then- why will I not want my daughter to do the same? She is a much quicker learner than me, am sure. Her communication skills and general knowledge would benefit greatly from the morning dose of newspapers- and in the long run, will help her covet those trophies in Quiz and Debate contests. I am sure. But NO. All that I see when I open the newspapers now is NEGATIVITY. Crimes of all genres and conspiracies rule roost in the front pages of our national newspapers. Achievements and Victories are highlighted- in some inconspicuous corner of the paper- and we hardly read it.
As a mother- it scares me. I would want my kid to grow up in an environment- where she believes that hard work leads to success, being honest bears fruits, and achievements are appreciated. Sadly- she might not get that opinion if she is to read the newspapers and watch the TV channels in the current day scenario. Media houses only scream of negative happenings and highlight pathos all over. Governments change now and then- but the bitter taste that media carries in their stories remains perennial.
I read somewhere (I forgot where) - that one of the European nations- once faced a terrible bombing in one of their cities that caused severe damage. But the next day newspaper dint show gory images of severed heads or mutilated bodies. Instead achievements by some of their soldiers and also in sports were highlighted and happy faces were printed in the first page. This is something our newspapers can really imbibe.
To start with- the word "facts" have lost their meaning when it comes to any massacre or ghastly incident. Each paper publishes a number- to compete with each other and it only sets in fear among the readers. The departed MUST be given their due respect, and gory images shouldn’t be printed. Truth is to be reported- no doubt, but true journalism is reflected in the style and nature of your presentation- and not just with gruesome pictures and headlines.
If each of the newspapers work towards bringing in some hope and positivity in their pages (at least the front few pages) - it might inspire a lot of readers to achieve more and help their day get started on a better note. On that day- I shall want my daughter to read the Newspaper.