B.A. English – Decoding the Newspaper by Santosh Desai – Explanation

Decoding the Newspaper

About the lesson .. For a vast majority of us, newspapers is the first the port of call we visit each morning as we prepare ourselves to face the world from our homes, offices and work places. The convenience of the newspaper is that it comes to our doorstep each morning approximately at the same time bringing with it a nice collection of news and views ordered in a manner characteristic to the paper. With time, our acquaintance with the paper becomes increasingly strong. It becomes a lifelong passion.  The enduring appeal of the newspaper is its loyalty to truth, allegiance to impartiality and its concern for the readers’ needs.

In this lesson, Santosh Desai, a veteran of India’s print media, examines the many ways newspapers make themselves relevant to their readers.

Reading Unit 1:

The newspaper officially heralds the arrival of a new day. Without it, there would be confusion galore as people would fruitless argue about the day of the year. The bedrock of the orderly world we live in is the regard for the precision of time, and date. If humans lose this reference to date, they will be disoriented and lost.

There are different ways of making the calendar that lists dates and months. As days fly past us and sink into history, newspapers stand as chroniclers of events. Recorded history as we read it today would be impossible to retain if newspapers don’t print them faithfully each day.

Newspapers record the news of the day. More importantly, they organize them in such an orderly way that the readers don’t get drowned in the cacophony of voices. Through orderly arrangement, and by giving some background notes when necessary, newspapers help us to make sense of the torrent of man-made and Nature-made events that happen around the world every second.

Reading Unit 2:

Newspapers of different genres have different formats, although nearly all of them have 8 to 9 columns. Some large newspapers put Sports News  in the front, because sports offer the maximum kick to many readers. Others put it in the last but one page. Different pages of the newspapers traditionally carry different news types, like local, business, national, international etc.

The editorial page has a column written directly by the editor of the paper. It’s a sage-like exposition of views of the editor on a certain current use.

Fir the readers keen to say something to the authorities, or express their views on current issues, the ‘Letter to Editor column is dedicated. It’s akin to the diwan-e-aam of the Moghul  courts.

When a certain important man dies, his death could be reported to have happened precisely at a certain time, but the public mourning, and the official state of mourning could last for days and weeks. Nonetheless, newspapers hold the events in a certain time frame –under a certain canopy of time.

Reading Unit 3:

While reading a newspaper, the reader inadvertently forgets about his own self, and begins to see the events through a collective eye. A reciprocal relationship, thus, develops between the world and the reader. Such formation of large groups with similar interests helps to foster the growth of regional newspapers that focus on reporting regional news. Such a development is both desirable and inevitable.

Comprehension check..

Q1. How does the newspaper help us keep track of time?

Answer: Newspapers mandatorily record the date and place of publication. This is the most vital reference point about time in newspapers.

Q2. What is the significance ……date?

Answer: An important event may change the course of history, or have profound long term implications for a community, country or mankind. In such a case the day of occurring becomes a date that passes into posterity with keenness.

Q3. What do newspapers do? Give a simplified …………….first paragraph.

Ans: In simplistic terms, newspapers record and circulate news for us. However, their underlying function is a bit more complex. Newspapers give a time identification to events that happen around us. In the process, they help us to understand and track the passage of time as newer events overtake us. In other words, newspapers play a central role in our consumption and understanding of time.


Q4. How does the writer show …………………….. shaped by it?

Ans: A great many among us start their day with the newspaper and tea cup in hand. As we read its contents, our ideas about people and places take shape. Mst readers attach value to the editorial where the editor plains their analysis of a certain issue. Being scholarly, and un-biased, editorials are accepted by readers as true accounts of a certain matter. Thus, as we proceed with the newspaper, our understanding of issues get modified.


Q5. Show your acquaintance with the structure of a newspaper.

Ans: Let’s take The Hindu. The most important news of the day appear in the front page as headlines. Page 2 and 3 are for local news. Page 4 and 5 are devoted state news. Page 6 and 7 have national news. Page 8 and 9 are the editorial and op-ed pages that are supposed to be the heart and brain of the paper. Page 10 and 11 carry more news and international news. Page 12 has Business news, and Page 13 and 14 have Sports news. The lay-out varies from paper to paper.

Q6. What will a reader entering …………front door……. find?

Ans: Generally, it’s the main news of the day, but it can also be from matters like Sports, Films etc., depending on the enre of the paper.


Q7. What will a reader …………back door………….. find?

Ans: In most newspapers, it will be on sports.

Q8. What it is to be found at the middle of the newspaper?

Ans: The middle comprises of editorial and op-ed pieces. Editor’s and those of experts are found here.


Q9. Which section …………………….airing their views.?

Ans: It is the ‘Letters to Editor’ portion that carries readers’ comments on current day issues.


……………………………..To be contd—————————–

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