Who reads what, when, where, and why in Kuwaiti newspapers: A study of uses and gratifications theory

Menawer Bayan Alrajehi

Abstract

The need for understanding the audience as to who reads what for what reasons and what their reading are habits have always been of deep interest to the newspaper industry in Kuwait. Although some studies have been done in this area in Kuwait these were done by the newspapers themselves and the information was propriety. Therefore, there was strong need for a study from a broad academic perspective that will generate information about the newspaper industry that would be reliable and available to the public domain. The purpose of this study is to understand the newspaper reading patterns demonstrated by Kuwaitis within the framework of Uses and Gratifications theory. The study uses telephone interviews to investigate the relationship among demographics, newspaper readership and the Uses and Gratifications theory. This study is distinguished from others because it examines newspaper readership and the applicability of the Uses and Gratifications theory from a broad perspective in Kuwait. This study found that newspaper reading was largely a social practice that was expected of any Kuwaiti, and the main gratifications sought through newspaper reading were social integration and surveillance. Additionally, the study also identified that multiple readers of newspapers existed in most households. Most of the Kuwaiti readers expressed their contentment with the current available newspaper; however, some areas were found that needed improvement in the presentation of news. Also, this study identified that the most preferred personality type associated with the newspaper editor was that of being a person who liked fun. Additionally, the findings of this study indicate that there is a difference between newspaper audiences in Kuwait and those of other countries from the viewpoint of the gratifications expected out of a newspaper. The study concludes that the Kuwaiti readers are similar in some ways in their newspaper reading habits to those in the United States and other countries but there are also significant differences between them.