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Attitude to Newspapers among Different Generations: My Grandfather, My Mother and Me

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Over the years, mass media has developed, and it is essential in one’s daily life. What is the mass media? By using mass communication, mass media indicates an array of media technologies that are used to target the public. Media can be classified into 4 groups which are print media, broadcast media, outdoor media, and the World Wide Web.

In this assignment, I interviewed my grandfather, Yap Choon Yin, and my mother, Sophia Yap. The reason that I decided to interview them is that they were born in different generations which are the silent generation and generation x. The silent generation was born in the period of war and when the world was facing economic depression, while generation x was born after the baby boomers. To do this assignment, I decided to head to their house and conduct the interview by giving them a list of questions to answer. My grandfather and mother had chosen newspapers as their most-used media.

The world’s first newspaper was published by Johann Carolus in 1605. The newspaper was published in Strasbourg, and it is a German-language newspaper. Babulal (2019) explained that the public finds physical newspapers more trustworthy as there is much fake news online. In this assignment, I will be talking about the evolution of newspapers in three generations.

Grandfather’s generation

Firstly, my grandfather, Yap Choon Yin is aged 83 this year. My grandfather was born on 26 April 1936. The media that he had chosen is the newspaper. He is a retired man currently living with his wife. His daily schedule involves going to the market, cooking meals, gardening, and reading newspapers. He was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A man with many experiences, he was raised during the period of World War II and his childhood was not filled with sunshine and rainbows. My grandfather’s ancestors were born in Fujian; therefore, his family is Hakka people. They speak not only Chinese but also speak English, Bahasa Melayu, and Hakka. Since young, my grandfather reads the newspaper for information.

When he was a child, his parents would head out early to purchase a newspaper and they would take turns reading it at home. He remembers that his father would update him regarding Word War II every morning when he was a child, and his siblings would give their opinions. The newspaper that my great-grandfather would purchase is China Press. China Press is a Chinese-language operating newspaper company located in Malaysia. The first China Press newspaper was published on 1 February 1946, and the company was established by Tun Henry Lee Hau Shik. My grandfather started reading China Press when it was first published, but he was only 10 years old at that time so he could not read many words. He remembers that he would wake up before his siblings just to read the newspapers before school every day. My grandfather said that reading newspapers was a way to bond with his parents because he would ask them about words that he did not understand, and his parents would explain it to him.

My grandfather told me that there was one memorable situation that he would remember for life. My grandfather bought a newspaper for his father on his birthday and his father was so touched that he cried. My grandfather was born into a poor family and they could not afford much, for my grandfather to buy the newspapers, he had to save his pocket money. Back in the early ‘90s, the newspaper was only sold for 50 cents, while it is selling for RM1.50 now. China Press was their first choice because it carries news not only in Malaysia but also in the whole world. By reading newspapers, he gained so much information and certainly increased his general knowledge. China Press supplies news about every country’s economic situation, sports, games, entertainment, and many more.

My grandfather’s family thinks it is important to know not only Malaysia’s news but also what is happening around the world. Until now, my grandfather still reads China Press. He feels that he has a special bond with China Press because he had been reading it for more than 70 years. Research by Jenkins (2013) illustrated that older people prefer actual prints in newspapers because it is easier to read as they can adjust the newspaper distance to their eyes. Every morning without a doubt, he would go to the market near his house to purchase groceries and most importantly his China Press newspapers. After that, he would go home and read the newspaper while eating brunch with my grandmother. Due to my grandmother’s bad eyesight, she could not read the newspaper, but my grandfather tells her the important news she needs to know.

My grandfather had used cognition in the uses and gratifications theory. Newspapers are his source to get information. By reading newspapers daily, he would have a clear understanding of everything that is happening in the world. During his school years, he would share the news he read with his friends because some of his classmates could not afford to purchase newspapers. They would discuss the news and that would create a strong bond between them. The newspaper was one of the ways that he connects with his family and friends because they would share their thoughts and opinions with each other.

My grandfather’s favorite media is the newspaper, followed by radio, and television. When he was young, social media was not invented yet and his family could not afford to buy the radio or television. Therefore, his family could only afford newspapers. He stated that reading newspapers is a good habit in his life. Even though my grandfather is 83 years old this year, he is still learning new things every day. After reading the newspapers, my grandfather would recycle them away and even use the newspapers to clean glassware. His parents are very proud and happy that he has the habit to read newspapers daily because not everyone likes to read. My grandfather has been reading China Press for more than 70 years and he would hope for the younger generation to read newspapers daily as well.

Mother’s generation

Next, my mother, Sophia Yap is aged 51 this year. She was born on 6 June 1968. My mother is a housewife, living with her husband and two daughters. Her daily schedule includes fetching her daughters to school, going to the gym, cooking meals for the family, doing house chores, and reading newspapers. With a tight schedule, she has lesser free time compared to my grandfather. My mother was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her native language is English, but she also speaks Hakka, Bahasa Melayu, Chinese, and Cantonese. When my mother was a child, her father would force her to read the newspapers at least once a week, but she was weak in the Chinese language, so she was not interested in reading China Press. To find other alternatives, she borrowed newspapers from her secondary school library every day.

My mother went to school at SMK (P) Pudu. She started reading newspapers when she was 14 years old. When my mother was a child, she was eager to improve her English language. Her English teacher, Madam Lim, recommended she read The Star newspaper. Every day after school, my mother would stay back at the library reading The Star newspaper. My mother would jot down the words that she did not understand to ask Madam Lim the next day in English class. After a few months of reading the newspaper, my mother’s vocabulary and grammar improved. She was so happy and proud of herself for improving her English language. My mother was also thankful to Madam Lim for recommending her to read The Star newspaper as it was a great impact on her life.

My mother has been reading The Star newspaper since she was 14 years old. It has been almost 37 years since she read The Star. The Star is an English-language operating newspaper company located in Malaysia. The Star started as a local newspaper in Penang in 1971 and evolved the other cities in Malaysia after that. The Star is a newspaper company that is a shareholder of the Malaysia Chinese Association (MCA) and it was the bestselling English-language newspaper for decades.

As a busy mother and a wife, my mother wakes up at 6 am every day to prepare breakfast for the family. The place that I am staying currently is Bukit Antarabangsa, and the area does not have a place that sells newspapers. As an alternative, my mother has a monthly subscription to The Star newspaper. Every morning around 7 am, there would be a man in a motorbike handing out newspapers to houses that had subscribed to The Star. The price of an individual newspaper would cost RM 1.60 on weekdays, and RM 1.80 on weekends. However, the monthly subscription for The Star is RM 36.

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According to Chiles (2019), reading newspapers can reduce up to 68% of stress levels. Every morning after preparing breakfast, my mother would read the newspapers before fetching my sister to school. My father, on the other hand, would wake up around 8 am. He would eat breakfast and read the newspaper in the dining room and prepare for work after that. It has become a daily routine for my parents to share newspapers. My mother’s favorite media would be newspapers, followed by television, social media, and radio.

My mother had used cognition in the uses and gratification theory in reading The Star newspaper. The Star publishes news of the world so that the audiences would know what is happening around the world. Other than that, The Star also publishes life facts and general knowledge. Malaysia is a multiracial country that involves many races such as Malay, Chinese, and Indian. Therefore, there are many newspaper companies in Malaysia such as The Star, New Straits Times, Utusan Malaysia, Sin Chew Daily, and many more. Every newspaper would major in one language for readers to pick whichever language they are most comfortable with. For example, Utusan Malaysia is a Malay-language newspaper, The Star is an English-language newspaper, and Sin Chew Daily is a Chinese-language newspaper. The Star newspaper is divided into different sections such as StarAsean+, StarBiz, StarLifestyle, and many more. Other than cognitive, my mother finds reading The Star newspaper entertaining. My mother stated that she enjoys reading StarLifestyle as it entertains her by publishing articles about fashion and new trends. During the KL Fashion Week, The Star took pictures of models on the runway wearing unique outfits by different local designers and published the pictures in the newspaper. There is also a comic section in the newspaper where there is horoscope reading, crossword puzzles, comics, and sudoku. My mother prefers reading horoscope readings and comics the most because it is humorous. My mother’s parents were proud of her, even though she did not have the passion to read China Press, she still found another way to get information which is by reading The Star newspaper.

Current generation

Lastly, I am going to talk about my usage of the media. My name is How Zo Ee, and I was born on 30 December 2000. I am categorized as a millennial in the world. My father was born in Kelantan an at early age, but I am more of a city girl as I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. English is my family’s native language; however, I do know how to speak other languages such as Bahasa Melayu, Chinese, Cantonese, and Hakka. My ethnic background would be Hokkien, but I am still learning how to speak Hokkien. It is a little challenging for me as the words are harder and Hokkien people tend to speak faster.

I was born in a tech-savvy generation where smartphones and computer technologies are at the tip of our fingers. I could easily master using a smartphone within a day and then teach my parents about the functions of the phone. They would forget what I teach them in a few hours, but I do not blame them as technology is still new to them and they are trying their best to learn. I even remembered that I got my first smartphone at the age of 13 for my birthday and I was so happy about it. I even installed all kinds of games and apps to explore which is best for me. I was in high school back then and my mother would only allow me to use my smartphone on the weekends until the age of 16. I remember getting so excited every Friday after school to check all the notifications and the new updates on my phone.

At the age of 14, I started reading the news on an online website. My mother encouraged me to read newspapers to improve my language and grammar. I was not interested in reading physical newspapers, therefore, I read news online. I read online news from The Star Online. The website of this online news portal is https://www.thestar.com.my. Every morning before school, I would look up for news on my mother’s mobile phone. My mother would be reading her newspaper while I read the news on her phone while having breakfast.

One of the news I was most concerned about was the MH370 plane that has gone missing. On normal days, I would only read the news once a day, but I remember reading the news at least three times a day for new updates on the missing plane. I felt so sympathy for the passengers and crew attendants on the plane because nobody deserves to go through this pain. I saw the news where they invited the passenger’s family and friends, and everyone there was crying. Until now, the plane is still not found and has remained a mystery. I could not imagine the pain of losing someone I love.

I used cognition in the uses and gratification theory. By reading e-news, I have gained so much general knowledge. The Star Online publishes a variety of news such as news, business, sports, metro, lifestyle, tech, food, education, and many more. I could spend up to two hours reading the news online, as it is interesting and fun. Other than publishing news, The Star Online has also collaborated with 2 radio stations which are Suria FM and 988 FM. I prefer reading news online because it is accessible anywhere and at any time of the day. Unlike physical newspapers, the news on The Star Online can be updated. That means I will never be out of the loop on current news updates. I prefer reading online news because it is free, while a physical newspaper needs to be paid for. I take the public train to the university and while I am on the train, I read the news online. It is so convenient for me as I can gain so much knowledge from just a smartphone.

Conclusion

In conclusion, newspapers had evolved over the decades. Newspapers started with only print, then later evolved to online newspapers. Without the media, we would not know what is happening around the world. In the olden days, only the rich would be able to afford a television, radio, and other electronic appliances, but now there are many ranges of prices for all electronics. Ever since the evolution of electrical devices, the usage of media has increased simultaneously. According to Kemp (2019), there are 5.11 billion mobile users in the world today. Electronic devices are improving now and then to make our lives easier.

Just a small smartphone can do everything such as calling, messaging, taking pictures and videos, listening to music, browsing the internet, and many more.

The economic industry has certainly changed the relationship between the media industry and its audience. This is because everyone needs media to survive whether it is for cognition, diversion, or social utility. Nowadays, media has evolved so greatly that many of the younger generations are addicted to it. For example, there is an app called TikTok that lets its users dance and lip-sync. According to Pham (2019), the video platform TikTok has hit over 1 billion downloads worldwide in February 2019.

The relationship between the media industry and its audience has also changed in its social aspect. Media allows users to contact their loved ones no matter how far the distance is. It is very convenient for students who are studying abroad to keep in touch with their family and friends. Online newspapers are available at any time of the day and it is easy to access.

Other than the economic and social issues, the relationship between the media industry and its audience has also changed politically. For example, Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia announces on social media and publishes in the newspapers that the schools would be closed if the air pollution index arises to 200 and above. This is effective usage of the media which allows citizens of Malaysia to be aware of the air pollution index from time to time.

However, there are some challenges that newspaper companies will face in the future. Many people are starting to read the news on websites and social media because it is cost-effective. Newspapers company should start making their application or website to survive. Other than creating applications, newspaper companies should also take in feedback from the readers. Immediate response should be done after that so that newspaper companies would not lose their readers.

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Attitude to Newspapers among Different Generations: My Grandfather, My Mother and Me. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/attitude-to-newspapers-among-different-generations-my-grandfather-my-mother-and-me/
“Attitude to Newspapers among Different Generations: My Grandfather, My Mother and Me.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/attitude-to-newspapers-among-different-generations-my-grandfather-my-mother-and-me/
Attitude to Newspapers among Different Generations: My Grandfather, My Mother and Me. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/attitude-to-newspapers-among-different-generations-my-grandfather-my-mother-and-me/> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
Attitude to Newspapers among Different Generations: My Grandfather, My Mother and Me [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/attitude-to-newspapers-among-different-generations-my-grandfather-my-mother-and-me/
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