Newspapers and the Concerns of Society:Evidence from a Content Analysis (W-12)

Newspapers and the Concerns of Society:Evidence from a Content Analysis (W-12)

Publication details

  • Thursday | 01 Jul, 1993
  • Nadeem Ul Haque, Arif Sheikh
  • Working Papers
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Abstract Given the importance of newspapers in shaping public opinion and policy, it is important to monitor and evaluate the contents and preferences of newspapers. This paper, a pilot study of sorts, attempts to determine the extent to which newspapers in Pakistan fulfill their role of  keeping society well-informed and guarding the interests of the public. To this end, news items, editorial opinion, analysis pieces and reader opinion as reflected in the letters to the editor in a number of newspapers (English as well as Urdu) are classified into meaningful categories, and a quantitative analysis of coverage given to various select categories is carried out as well as a minimum qualitative analysis. Our analysis indicates that there is a disproportionate amount of space given in the local papers to international news on the one hand, and political statements by local politicians on the other; that opinion in newspapers seems to be cliche-ridden and lacking in analytical content; that, given their importance, economic and judicial matters are given very little attention; and that there is a discrepancy between the interests of readers and the contents of papers. Finally, we venture some hypotheses as to why these particular shortcomings characterise the local press.