The newspaper is the watchdog of human rights. It has been the champion of the underdog and downtrodden. It has dispelled the darkness of the middle ages and uprooted the feudal system. It has made or unmade kings and princes, built or destroyed huge and small empires and has brought about peace or war. It is one of the strongest pillars of free nation.
The word ‘news’ is an amalgam of four letters N, E, W and S which stand for north, east, west and south respectively. This is because the newspaper covers all the four directions to bring each and every news. The history of newspapers dates back as far as 1640 when the world witnessed the first newspaper known as ‘Peking Gazette’ published in China. In our country, however, it was the East India Company that published the first newspaper called ‘India Gazette’. But the first Indian to publish a newspaper was Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who published ‘The Bengal Gazette’ in 1780. It was the birth of Indian press.
Today a whole lot of newspapers are there like ‘The Times of India’, ‘The Hindustan Times’, etc. In the publication of newspapers, the role of editors and correspondents is very significant. The editors have a great voice in the government of a country. They interpret the news faithfully, for which alertness, vigilance and discrimination of a high degree are required. They respect nothing but truth, justice and fair play. Without fear or favour, they oppose the Hitlers and Mussolinis in a democratic set up. They instruct and entertain a heterogeneous nation owing to the diversity of ideas. The correspondents posted at various places collect the news and relay it to their respective papers. There are different correspondents for various fields like politics, war, social, etc. The newspapers help in progress of civilisation. They place the stand point of the government in front of the public and justify or criticise its acts.
The modern newspapers are promoters of certain beliefs and principles. They offer criticisms and comments. In this respect they educate public opinion and arouse certain sentiments. They advance the cause of education, strive to eradicate social ills and oppose tyranny and injustice. Thus they act as educators, social reformers, advocates of kindness to animals, opposers of wrong and oppression, and interpreters between the government and the people, the rulers and the ruled.
As an advertising agent, the newspaper brings buyers and sellers together, the employers and the employment seekers, the prospective bridegrooms and brides and also those who want capital and those who want partners. They give us information about pictures in cinema houses, engagement programmes, sports news and business news.
But newspapers are not free from evils. Domestic scandals and other evils, which would otherwise remain confined to a narrow circle, are published to the whole world. And this knowledge of evil has an evil effect upon men. The news of strikes, quarrels, riots, etc. has a tendency to excite these at other places. They also supply their quota of sensational news. Even then, in the present age, Newspapers are an absolute necessity and contribute a lot to the furtherance of the civilization.