Thursday, January 24, 2008

Legal news in newspapers

Did you know that it was Julius Caesar who started the first newspaper in 56 BC? It was called Acta Biruna. Despite lingering declines in circulation and advertising revenues in some regions of the world, the newspaper industry continues to be a powerful and expanding force. The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) reported that in 2005 that more than 8,000 newspapers were published worldwide, with an estimated daily readership of one billion. According to WAN, the number of free and paid-for titles was up 9% since 2001, which represented about 550 new dailies. A large percentage (76%) of worldwide newspaper circulation was concentrated in just five countries. China is the world leader, with 23 of the top 100 most-circulated papers, while Japan had 22 titles in the top 100. India, the United Kingdom, and the United States follow the lead, with 17, 7, and 7, respectively.
You should pick up the newspaper first before anyone else at home does; when the papers are neatly folded and seem like nicely ironed shirts. Online reading from computer screens are a bore and do not carry the aroma of fresh newsprint. But this new generation of youngsters at home is essentially a generation of “electronic readers”, as opposed to “paper readers”. These youth read, but they read on computer screens, on electronic games and on their mobile phones. They are already “multimedia people” says a news analyst, where as the other generations are “monomedia”. They read the headlines from Internet sites. They discuss on discussion forums and blogs. They look at the broadcasts on information channels on television.
From staying up-to-date to whiling away time, newspapers serve different purposes. All newspapers have a standardized format in consigning to specific pages the kind of news that you have to look for. Sports and obituary columns usually come in the same page, as if to suggest that you shall be trained to take the news of death in a sporting fashion. The editorials in the centre-spread, big daddies always assumed, are a way of ‘improving the language’ and knowing the value loaded statements of the respective papers of what are correct. They used to be a kind of imposition for every boy or girl blossoming to adulthood to be advised to read them. Even small time papers, having only a few thousands of copies for circulation, will have an advice or two to the UN Secretary General or the US President, as though they take notice of their editorials. Big, colorful advertisements in the last page are some times more entertaining than the news-filled pages. Entertainment columns of cinema, dance, drama and daily engagements in the city or town do not merely carry information of time and venue but also portray the dazzling stars and mesmerizing beauties in colorful revealing attires.
A recent study in USA discovered that as people became more successful and earned more money, the order in which they read a newspaper changed. Total failures in life and extremely successful people, at the diverse ends of the spectrum, share the same passion for sports and they make the most compelling read. Gossip and menswear ads are for the mildly successful. Editorials, social columns and real estate are for the definitely successful. Legal news, unfortunately do not seem to be a preference to any category of people in USA. In India, one likes to believe, it is definitely different.
These days, legal news are the most ubiquitous; they are sprinkled all along the length and breadth of the papers and not confined only to any particular pages. Murders and rape stories, gory photographs of frozen bodies of men or women slain are sheer masochist exercises indulged by th
e vernacular newspapers. The English newspapers lap up the celebrity murders and police brutalities to even the scales of reporting with their local languages counterpart. Wherever judges go to inaugurate social functions, they go to make good photo features. Judges are invariably nattily clad, well combed and cheerful in photographs, but what functions they participate may not necessarily have anything to do with law. Our clan could justifiably be proud as masters in subjects as varied as esoteric to mundane, from music to cine masala. Judgments of Supreme Court and High Courts on service and labour issues are more regular than they were in the past. Reports on law making on women and children are a way of showing our concern for their empowerment. Some times there is insipid information on a litigant being compulsorily retired or denied compassionate appointment. Maybe, the judges who pronounced the judgments or the lawyer who argued the case wanted them to be reported.You do not need to have gained wisdom between the time you take the newspaper in your hand and leave it back crumpled on the table. It is the best way of not causing any harm to anyone at least for a brief while!

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