Newspaper Reading as a Function of Basic Human Need: Why Did Maslow Read the Newspaper?

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INTRODUCTION
I guess a look at the topic will have you thinking, “Did Maslow ever have time to read newspapers?” Did a man so engrossed in his pursuits of the understanding of human behavior ever have the time to read something as common as a newspaper with all the new information technologies like radio and television available during his era? This work though is not about whether or not Maslow read newspaper. It is not even about Abraham Maslow but newspaper reading as a function of basic human need. The work however is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Newspapers have withstood the test of time. They were probably the first form of gathering information before the advent of radio, television and quite recently, the internet. Although there has been a steady rise in the development of new information and entertainment technologies, newspaper patronage has continued to command quite a number. There has been a decline in the patronage of newspaper patronage but some newspapers have continued to maintain their readership base. It is estimated that in Ghana, newspapers such as the Daily Graphic and 90 minutes have a higher readership base than most radio stations have listener base or television stations have a viewer base. So what is it about newspapers that have helped it survive over the years and in this era of technological advancement? Journalists and professionals in the print media have suggested a number of reasons to why people patronize newspapers. Some examples are that newspapers bring the news of the world to the doorstep of the people. People become well-versed in the current politics and political incidents of the world. It helps the nation to form national integration and develops the outlook of the people of all sectors. In addition to that, newspapers can give us a clear idea of the current events of the country and the world. Newspaper is the best medium of advertisements concerning business, trade and industry. So many professionals in the print media suggest that people still patronize newspapers for news, information, reviews and entertainment but just like radio, there have been arguments that the needs of the readers of newspapers are intrinsic even if it is not so much like the intrinsic need for radio. The intrinsic views offered for reading newspapers include the ability to better understand the ongoing in one’s life and surroundings, avoidance of isolation, feeling of security. They also create a feeling of involvement and participation, a bit like what radio has to offer (Crisell, 1986). When asked why people they still read newspapers even with the advent of new technologies for information and entertainment, most people cited a long standing tradition in the family as being the cause. They had a parent who always read the paper at the breakfast table and they just thought it was normal to behave as such. The next group was those that said they patronized newspapers because the newspapers gave an in-depth report of news that had been touched on lightly by the new type of media. Also, they were able to choose what they wanted to read, either by skipping certain sections of their newspapers or buying the newspaper that they preferred rather than watching a whole lot of things they did not need before they got to what they wanted. An example was buying Graphic Sport instead of buying a whole Daily Graphic when all one needed was some sport information rather than sitting through the evening news, listening to local and foreign news, which don’t interest the person before finally getting some sport news that they yearn for. I cannot agree more with MacFarland (1997) when he argues that there is an underpinning human compulsion, but this time for reading newspapers instead of listening to radio. These compulsions include relaxation, excitement and fantasies. Most people, though mostly unaware, satisfy at least one of the basic human pleasures by reading newspapers. RADIO AND MASLOW’S HEIRARCHY...
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