Information seeking behaviour of journalists in north India.

Author:Kumar, Parveen
  1. Introduction

    Journalists, by nature of their profession, are information gatherers. They need information for scrutinizing the facts, raise their awareness of current news, research, obtain a framework, and to stimulate their thoughts (1). News analysts, reporters, and correspondents gather information, prepare stories, and make broadcasts that inform the public about local, State, national, and international events. They also present their points of view on current issues as they believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. In order to do their day-to-day work, they require information from various formal as well as informal sources including their colleagues and libraries. Even in the current IT scenario, newspaper/ media libraries still serve a unique function of providing information to journalists through trained and educated professionals.

  2. Review of Literature

    Joseph (1993) (2) in his study entitled "How Indian Journalists Use Libraries" revealed that the journalists in Kerala use the library mainly for checking the background material and for specific items of information on stories, while editors use the libraries to assist them in editing the stories. 86% of the respondents use the library more than once a week, with most respondents spending an hour or less in the library. He concluded that the respondents prefer informal sources, personal collections and consultation with other journalists rather than using the libraries. Vreekamp (1995) (3) in his study entitled "The Information Seeking Attitude of Nonmetropolitan journalists- A Qualitative Study of two Communities and Their Primary and Secondary Sources" found that the journalists prefer human sources to documentation sources. Although, journalists have access to clippings, online files and reference books, yet these sources were mostly consulted for historical facts rather than for analytical information. He noted that the journalists tend to use online databases mostly for text and images. Nicholas and Martin (1997) (4) in their study "Assessing Information Needs: A Case Study of Journalists" revealed that the reporters in the United Kingdom preferred to use online services for fact finding information and they rely more on human or oral sources for descriptive and historical information. They suggested that the library and librarians can play an important role in meeting the information needs of journalists as in the case of 'The Guardian Newspaper Library' which has extended the global information to the news staff through the Intranet. Mahapatra and Panda (2000) (5) in their study entitled "State of Reading Interest and Utilization of Information Resources by the Working Journalists in Orissa: A Study" revealed that the journalists gave top priority to borrowing, photocopying and newspaper clippings services, reference service was given a middle priority and the referral and bibliographic services were given a low priority. Vital services like latest addition list, current content services, SDI and online services were not being used by more than one third of the total respondents. They observed that the journalists were not in the habit of using information services, cultivating current approach to information except borrowing books and photocopying material of their interest for home reading. Mahapatra and Panda (2001) (6) in their study entitled "State of Information Seeking and Searching Behavior of Working Journalists in Orissa: A Study" revealed that the journalists prefer to visit the library personally and use current periodicals, seminar/conference proceedings, and newspaper clippings as their primary source of information. They observed that the major constraints of the journalists in seeking the information include lack of library, lack of library automation, inadequate reference and referral service, poor organization of reading material, inadequate resources of the parent library, non availability of library services, etc. Mahapatra and Panda (2001) (7) in their study entitled "Information Needs of the Working Journalists in Orissa: A Study" described that 57.08% respondents personally visit the libraries daily to obtain the required information, 50.44% prefer personal collection and only 46.46% preferred to use the library attached to their parent...

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