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Local, crime section preferred by most Arab Times readers Legal Clinic great service by paper: poll

Apoll on people’s preferred sections in the Arab Times gave the following results. A majority of our online voters said they read local news.

About 49 % of votes went for the local section. When the Arab Times spoke to respondents, they said that local news affects them more directly and hence the interest. Proximity is an important factor in news value, and Kuwait’s readers have got that as their priority. When probed further, readers revealed that among local news the items that catch their eye most are news on laws and legislations that deal with visas, deportations, salaries, advertisements on sale, crime and accidents.

The second largest number of voters, 28%, preferred the crime section. This is a kind of cathartic experience, according to some respondents, who are repulsed by crime news. “People like to read crime and accidents because it gives them a false sense of wellness, because when they know that there are people worse off than them, it gives them comfort in a relativistic way.” However, other respondents differed with this view strongly. “We read crime and accidents because it alerts us to the falling levels of safety in the society. We become more wary when we go out, and take due precautions to protect our families.” One of the respondents related his experience of how news on car thefts had invoked him to put a steering-wheel lock, and saved his car from getting stolen. “One of the windows was broken, and there were signs of struggle on the lock, indicating the aim of the break-in was car theft.” Among the respondents who favored crime section most were men. Women said they liked to read stories that give hope like a terminally ill patient recovering to live a normal life or a stolen car being found and so forth.

About 15 % of the voters voted for the Legal Clinic section. Legal Clinic, according to our readers, is a great service by the newspaper. “We get a lot of answers to our everyday problems at work related to indemnity, benefits, leaves, transfers and so on.” Respondents said that people are often confused about laws, “because we get a lot of conflicting opinions on any issue. It’s easy to get an advice on anything, but it’s hard to find out which is reliable. “Some legal advice we get scare us out of our wits. Those who provide them act like experts. However, it’s only when we turn to the Legal Clinic section that we get some real perspective.”

The rest of the sections such as international, business, entertainment and culture, sports, cartoons, op-ed columns and health got very few votes, bordering on 1 % or less. One of the reasons for the drop in interest in these sections was related to the explosion of information on the Internet domain. “Every major international event now reaches you almost instantly, and so we don’t wait for it to come in the newspaper the next day.”

A small minority of respondents said they like to read opinion columns and editorials as they put the events on the international and local stage in perspective. “For example, the nuclear deal between Iran and the US is news. But then we would like some political experts to tell us what the actual interests are that are playing out behind this event and how are they likely to affect us.”

By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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