chapter  10
32 Pages

Responding to News and Public Affairs

The Mews Function of Television One of the main reasons people give for watching television is to obtain news information. Out of the many reasons people may volunteer as to why they watch television, learning about things happening in the world tends to finish near the top of the list. One investigator examined relationships between motives for watch­ ing television and preferences for particular types of programmes (Rubin, 1984). From a list of 14 reasons for watching television, the information and learning function was the most strongly endorsed. About 70% of the study’s respondents from two mid-western U.S. communities said they watched television to learn about people and events. In the context of how motives related to patterns of view­ ing, it emerged that watching television to learn about events, to acquire topics for conversation and to seek behavioral guidance were the best motivational in­ dicators of watching television news and other informational programming.