Public

What does news do and why is it important

Granted that it is the most pervasive, forceful, and most influential force in human societies today, news sources can be a channel of passing ideas unto the public, thereby influencing its viewpoints accordingly. For instance, as indicated by Iyengar and Kinder (1989) television news can be so forceful and influential in shaping the public’s viewpoints concerning the politics of the day. News can influence societies either positively or negatively, but either way, news plays a significant role in society. Brighton and Foy (2007) stated that the relationship between news sources and society has socio-cultural aspects, and the role of news can be explained using three perspectives namely the ‘common sense, the practitioner, and the academic perspective. This paper will examine what news does, and why it is important, using an illustration from the Guardian news organization. News is very important because it informs the general population of happenings in their immediate environment, which might be of primary concern to them because they may be directly affected by these events. According to Manning (2001), news sources have a moral obligation to undertake the task of gathering and communicating to the public what is happening both in their local environs, and across their borders. Focus on local matters enables people to have a fundamental awareness of matters of importance to them, and in response to news, people may prepare to take actions. for instance, a news report of fatal road carnage at a dangerous hotspot can be a cause for lobbying to fix the problem. News may also cover stories that have a national perspective in distant cities and towns, especially in the context of countries with diversified population centres. Focus on national matters in other cities and towns enables people to get a national outlook or perspective on crucial issues such as trade opportunities and resources for economic empowerment available in other places. Nonetheless, news stories may also be international by covering events in other countries that are not only geographically isolated, but also culturally different and distinct. In this regard, events that may be happening in distant places where people are unable to reach may also be of interest to them. for that matter, news bridges the geographical gap between people and events in distant places, making them to feel connected too. News from foreign cultures can be very inspiring and insightful, leading to a fruitful exchange of positive cultural aspects and ideas between different people and societies in general. In this case, news plays not only an entertainment and informative role of relaying distant happenings to local audiences, but also a transformative role by influencing cultural movements within the wider society. Generally, news plays significant functions in society, including raising awareness on local happenings, giving people a national perspective on matters within their borders, as well as regional perspectives in other countries, leading to cultural and ideological exchanges. Consequently, as stated by Schadson (1996) the awareness created through communication of news invokes critical debates and discussions in the audiences concerning crucial issues in society such as policy. In addition, it empowers people to question and even challenge governments by holding them accountable to their policy choices and actions. One example of a news organization that performs its role of informing the masses or the general population of the happenings in their environments and holding those who hold

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