At the lowest level, the news is spread verbally. People simply pass on news about something by mouth to others they happen to meet. The speed at which news is spread by this method is surprisingly fast, especially news that would make a juicy piece of gossip. An illicit affair occurring in a community would reach the ears of everyone as soon as a person learns about it. As they say, “the walls have ears”.
To help in this verbal transfer of news is the telephone and the radio. Friends telephone one another to spread items of news. The radio stations broadcast current news at regular times. Telephone news is normally uncensored, magnified with sensational parts, laced with personal opinions and may deviate far from the truth. Official news through radio is normally censored, mildly sensationalized, laced with political opinions and often modified in its truth.
As can be seen, the news is not necessarily truthful. The news spread depends on who is doing the spreading. Few people can be objective. Fewer still can spread news without trying to adjust it.
Newspapers are devoted mainly- to the propagation of news. It has become so much a part of our lives that reading the papers is the first thing many people do after getting out of bed in the morning. We grab for the papers even before our eyes are fully opened. We eagerly read news about the latest sporting events, who won what and which country got beaten in an international soccer match.
We read about wars, killings rapes, accidents, and deaths in the newspaper. News about the unending conflict in the Middle East fills the papers each day. We read about all sorts of atrocities that humans mete out on other humans. On the lighter side, we read about consumer products, job vacancies, articles for sale, birth and death announcements and other things.
By far the newspaper is the most comprehensive of all the methods of spreading news. Many things can be contained in an average newspaper cheaply and efficiently. Thus, it is the most popular form of spreading the news and imparting information. Besides, a newspaper can be read at leisure and one can skip items that one does- not want to read. It is not the same with radio and TV. One has to sit through the rendering of all news items whether one likes it or not.
As with news spread verbally, the newspaper is not free of prejudices and opinions. Different newspapers carry different versions of the same news item. The powers that control the newspaper want only their versions to be printed. One country’s victory is another’s defeat. One newspaper “murder” is another’s “execution”. Something happens and a different version about it is spread as news.
There are other lesser ways of spreading news Magazines and periodicals cater to the specific needs of certain people. The mail provides a means of spreading news although it is a bit slow compared with others. Nowadays we can send “electronic news” through a computer to another, with much-increased speed. This may. one day become a major form of news spreader In fact with such enormous strides made in computer technology who knows how news can be spread in the future. Time will tell. We will hear news about it soon enough.