Modern man gets much of his knowledge from the Press, because in it he finds information about men and matters that both delight and instruct him, especially those aspects of life which daily confront him.
A modern newspaper covers nearly every sphere of human activity. Such, for instance, are the economic question, education, letters, business, politics, the theatre, radio, cinema and sport. Hence its popularity is anything but on the wane.
Again, the common man requires an agreeable respite from the humdrum occupations of his daily work. I am not here referring to those jobless and unoccupied, but to those who are engrossed or occupied (and perhaps even preoccupied) with business from that of a Cabinet Minister to that of a doctor or clerk. That is why the newspaper is welcome, inasmuch as it provides its reader with a diversity of topics to rest his mind or raise his spirits, perhaps with a pint of Beachcomber. Light skits, causeries, teasers, crossword competitions, short stories, humorous sketches and what not will go a long way to alleviate the ennui of his daily grind. These and other squibs will act as safety-valves to his sanity and happiness.
And again, newspapers help the common man to form his own opinions about politics, economics and the social aspects of life. Such matters are not always as simple as may appear on the surface. Here the editors of the Press have an important mission in forming and guiding the average reader’s outlook. In fact, we can often tell the paper a man regularly reads from the opinions he voices. Even cultured men do not consider it beneath their dignity to peruse the outstanding dailies of today; they are convinced that modern editors have something to say and know how to say it.
But that is not all. Inevitably, every big newspaper worth its salt is, consciously or unconsciously, colored by its own definite policy. The regular reader of any one such paper is thereby influenced, and oftentimes biased, in his opinions and convictions. Not that it matters, really; but big newspapers certainly have a responsibility here. They may at times not provide their readers with all the implications of, say, some political squabble: the attitude of America towards Russia. Hence more scope for longer articles may be desirable.
Finally, many people today are interested in technical matters. Here the Press steps in to guide and instruct the reader about electrical and mechanical devices: radios, motors, gardening, shopping, travelling. Above all, the modern newspaper must see that the articles it publishes do not arraign the advertisements it boosts nor deal in dishonesty. That would lower its prestige and following. People are not fools; they are quick to discern the cheap from the genuine.