Readability Analysis of Headlines of Hindi dailies and Study of Readers'
Dr. Ashok Sharma
Institute of Mass Communication and Media Technology, KUK
“Headlines have been called the display window of the Newspaper. But they are more than that. They are
also the major source of information for hasty news readers.’’ In order to trim down the time of the
viewers, all the English and Hindi news channels have introduced the concept of speedy news. It endows
the audience with maximum news leads in shortest duration of time. In the contemporary state, since
people are not able to afford time for TV viewing and reading news papers for hours so news is designed
in a way that can offer more content along with least time are used up.
As young people are more into internet, social networking, mobiles, all these aids prohibit them to read
thorough news in the news papers. This is the reason why the headlines are drafted in a way that readers
are by far able to memorize them. This novel outline of the headlines has rather facilitated a new look to
news. Being the most indispensable element of the newspaper, headlines play a foremost role in its
ornamentation as well.
Importance of the research
In every newspaper or magazine, headlines have their own significance. Headlines not just provide
relevant information but also help in defending the unnecessary time and effort. Thus headlines are
crucial part of designing as well as the content.
Appropriate headlines and striking blueprint can even convert a dull newspaper into an engrossed piece of
writing. Headlines allot both news and the newspaper new credentials. A study based on the headlines of
daily newspapers revealed that to make a reader read newspaper, headlines act as a gate way. Headlines
are the part of content that enforce the readers to go through the rest of the news story.
If subsequent to reading news content, one has to figure out what shall be the relevant headline, in such
cases the significance of both news content and the headline plunges down. Headline basically acts as a
link connecting the reader and the news. This is the reason why it is considered that headline can very
well disclose what the story is about.
While reading a newspaper, a reader’s eye initially turns to the headline, illustration and the news
appearance. Outline of headline, its presentation, size all these elements enhance the vitality of the news.
Kind of words being used and the clarity of the headlines influence its readership to an extent. Headline
assigns identification to the news and the newspaper as well.
Before the advent of computers, one type of headlines was used in the newspapers. But into this new
world of information, communication and technology in order to raise the readership of newspaper, array
of fonts are being used in headlines. Whenever a new font is introduced, its readership is also considered.
This is the reason why no such font is used in dailies that may produce interruption amid the reader and
the newspaper readership. A font has to be eye-catching and on the same hand, legible.
Headlines help the reader to understand why particular news has been published along with its meaning.
Hence for the enhancement of news and its value, best suited words, font, outlines are used in headlines.
Subsequent to this, editors and sub editors discuss the impact of headline in relation to this that how much
value it provides to the concerned news.
Headlines make the news appealing and insist the readers to read out the rest of the story. Worldwide
conducted researches elucidate the fact that most of the people just examine the headlines. Headlines are
designed keeping in mind the rules, balance, harmony of the news only. One headline varies from the
other one. It guides the reader and makes him suspicious as well. White space allotted between the
headline and the news content influences the legibility to an extent.
Objective of the Study :
To study the importance of headlines in newspaper readability.
To study the Language and English & technical words used in Headlines.
To study the responses of newspaper readers regarding headlines
Research process: analysis of daily Hindi Newspapers was done. It included Content Analysis (first
research process), Survey (second research process), and Interviews (third research process). Through
these mediums, factors effecting newspaper readership were studied. Based on the report of RNI (The
Registrar of Newspaper for India), the most popular four Hindi Newspapers were opted for the study.
From Oct 2011 to February 2012, for the period of 5 months, all the newspapers were analyzed based on
30-30 points. On the basis of selected points, newspapers were divided into various categories.
Afterwards around 1261 newspaper’s News stories were analyzed. Along with this, in total of 400 readers
were conferred in order to know their responses about the technical words used in the newspapers.
Table 1: more than one headlines for the news in different newspapers
news Dainik Jagran Dainik Bhaskar Amar Ujala Hindustan
Politics 40 60 66.7 43.4
Crime and court stories 36.7 53.3 83.33 33.3
Education, health and social
39.29 46.43 62.96 37.93
Science and information
26.92 33.33 59.9 40.44
Business news 10.34 42.86 62.7 51.72
International news 10.34 57.14 39.29 46.43
Film and entertainment 17.6 33.33 37.50 26.92
Sports 16.7 33.3 53.3 73.5
Human interest 31.3 46.42 54.17 56.67
Local news 23.33 73.33 76.67 33.33
Agriculture and development
12.5 39.13 65.38 46.1
In case of Hindi newspapers, to make political news legible, 66.7%Amar Ujala , 60% Dainik Bhaskar,
40% Dainik Jagran, uses two headlines. In case of crime and court news stories and news related to
education, health and social welfare, Amar Ujala uses two headlines i.e. a maximum of 83.3% and
62.96% resp. whereas Hindustan makes least usage of two headlines i.e.37.93%.
In case of news associated to Science and Technology, Dainik jagran uses 26.92, Dainik Bhaskar 33.33,
Amar Ujala uses 59.9 and Hindustan uses 40.44% of two headlines. Similarly in business news, Dainik
Jagran uses 10.34, Dainik Bhaskar 42.86, Amar Ujala uses 62.7 and Hindustan uses 51.72% of headlines
and sub heads. While talking about international news, Dainik Jagran uses 10.34, Dainik Bhaskar 57.14,
Amar Ujala uses 39.29 and Hindustan uses 46.43% of headlines and sub heads.
As far as film and entertainment news is concerned, Dainik Jagran uses 17.6, Dainik Bhaskar 33.33,
Amar Ujala uses 37.50 and Hindustan uses 26.92% of headlines and sub heads.For human interest stories,
Dainik Jagran uses 31.3, Dainik Bhaskar 46.42, Amar Ujala uses 54.17 and Hindustan uses 56.67% of
headlines and sub heads.In case of sports coverage, Dainik Jagran uses 16.7, Dainik Bhaskar 33.3, Amar
Ujala uses 53.3 and Hindustan uses 73.5% of headlines and sub heads.
For local news, Dainik Jagran uses 23.33, Dainik Bhaskar 73.33, Amar Ujala uses 76.67 and Hindustan
uses 33.33% of headlines and sub heads.At the same time Dainik Jagran uses 12.5, Dainik Bhaskar 39.13,
Amar Ujala uses 65.38 and Hindustan uses 46.1% of headlines and sub heads to make news content more
Table 2: response of newspapers readers to know the significance of headlines
Dainik Jagran Dainik Bhaskar Amar Ujala Hindustan
Frequency %age Frequency %age Frequency %age Frequency %age
59 59.0 63 63.0 56 56.0 66 66.0
Agree 34 34.0 30 30.0 40 40.0 27 27.0
Don't Sure 7 7.0 5 5.0 2 2.0 2 2.0
Disagree 0 0 2 2.0 1 1.0 5 5.0
0 0 0 0.0 1 1.0 0 0.0
Total 100 100 100 100.0 100 100.0 100 100.0
According to the daily newspaper readers included in the study, headlines boost up them to readability of
the story further. 59% Dainik Jagran readers, 63% Dainik Bhaskar, 56% Amar Ujala and 66% readers of
Hindustan accepted the fact that headlines force the readers to read the news. 34% Dainik Jagran, 30%
Dainik Bhaskar, 40% Amar Ujala and 27% Hindustan readers didn’t accept this fact whereas 7%,5% and
2% readers of Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar , Amar Ujala and Hindustan respectively agreed that they
have no concrete knowledge to this fact.
Table 3: readers view on the relation of headlines and news summary
Dainik Bhaskar Amar Ujala Hindustan
%age Frequency %age Frequency %age Frequency %age
Strongly Agree 48 48.0 39 39.0 47 47.0 42 42.0
Agree 25 25.0 30 30.0 32 32.0 28 28.0
Don't Sure 27 27.0 28 28.0 17 17.0 26 26.0
Disagree 0 0.0 2 2.0 2 2.0 4 4.0
0 0.0 1 1.0 2 2.0 0 0.0
Total 100 100.0 100 100.0 100 100.0 100 100.0
According to the readers, headlines play a significant role in a newspaper as headline reading provide
them vital information related to the news, 48% Dainik Jagran readers, 39% Dainik Bhaskar, 47% Amar
Ujala and 42% readers of Hindustan accepted the fact that by reading headlines, they are able to find
maximum information of the news story. 25% Dainik Jagran, 30% Dainik Bhaskar, 32% Amar Ujala and
28% Hindustan readers said that reading headlines give them enough idea about the news content whereas
27%,28% ,17% and 26% readers of Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar , Amar Ujala and Hindustan
respectively agreed that they are able to fetch information from headline itself .
In terms of headline usage and presentation, Amar Ujala stands first among rest of the
newspapers. It uses both headlines and sub head in news stories. Hindustan and Dainik Bhaskar
almost in every two news story, use headlines and sub heads. While Dainik Jagran makes limited
use of sub heads in the newspaper.
While talking on box, photo, column space and headlines, Hindustan is ahead among all the
newspapers as it utilizes box in third forth of the news content , photos in two third of news and
sub heads in more than half of the news stories. On the other hand, Dainik Jagran stands last in
using box, illustrations and sub heads.
90% of the readers accepted the truth that headlines are the fundamental factors of newspapers in
terms of reading and with the help of headline; they are able to fetch the highest information.
Readers must be able to comprehend the news content swiftly for this; Hindi newspapers are
executing more and more use of illustrations, boxes, graphs, pie charts and tables. According to
the editors, newspaper reading has besides taken as visionary. Hence more concentration is given
to headlines in newspaper packaging.
In the newspapers, same kind of headline is used in case of film entertainment and international
stories but in political, crime, information technology, economics, human interest, local and
agricultural news stories, both headlines and sub heads are used to make them more legible.
Dainik Bhaskar and Hindustan make use of English and technical words in headlines in
abundance. Although other newspapers avoid this practice.
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