How to Read the Newspaper for IAS

Do you have a doubt regarding how to read the newspaper for IAS exam or how to read the Hindu or Indian Express or XYZ newspaper? This article explains everything you need to know about reading the newspaper for UPSC civil services exam in detail.

Difference Between Reading Newspaper for IAS and Casual Reading

You must have read the newspaper occasionally or must be reading a newspaper on daily basis. But how is newspaper reading for civil services exam different from casual newspaper reading?

While reading the newspaper for the casual purpose we don’t have any defined objective other than gaining knowledge of the previous day’s news and the important socio-economic developments that affect our daily lives. Additionally, newspapers serve as an entertainment source.

But while reading the newspaper for the IAS exam, we have certain pre-defined objectives to achieve:

  1. Gain knowledge of the important current affairs
  2. Develop insights into the current social, political and economic issues
  3. Keep a record of the relevant facts and figures

It is with these objectives in mind you should approach newspaper reading for the IAS exam.

Now let us learn how the newspaper should be read. For the purpose of this article reference of the Indian Express newspaper is taken. You can some other newspaper like The Hindu or The Tribune which you find more convenient to read.

How to Read the Hindu Newspaper for IAS Video

In this video I explain how to read the newspaper, taking the example of The Hindu newspaper, for current affairs and GK preparation. Please excuse the long pauses as it was my first video ever!

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Start Reading from the First Page

Start reading the newspaper from the first page like you normally do since the most important news are published on the front page. Let’s take the example of the front page of the newspaper.

Which are the relevant news stories on the front page for your IAS preparation?

  1. Justice Joseph downgrade – Polity
  2. Lateral Entry of officers – Governance
  3. Article 35-A hearing today – Polity
  4. India, Iran, US: An Unlovely triangle – Bilateral issues
  5. Muzaffarpur abuse case – Child abuse and rights

The 2nd page is usually the continuation of the stories published on the 1st page.

Also ReadEffective Way of Making Notes for IAS Exam

The 3rd and 4th pages contain local news of the city where you currently reside and these can be read in the end at a glance if you wish. These stories are not important from the viewpoint of IAS preparation.

The Important Topics to Focus on Prior to the Editorial Page are:

  1. Polity and governance
  2. International affairs and bilateral issues
  3. Agriculture
  4. Environment and climate change
  5. Economic and monetary issues, including, banking
  6. Women and child rights
  7. Internal security
  8. International trade
  9. Natural disasters
  10. Science and technology
  11. Sports
  12. Health and Nutrition
  13. Wildlife and Habitat

Do not devote too much time or focus on these issues:

  1. Politics
  2. Local issues
  3. Glamour and social media
  4. Cartoons and horoscope
  5. Petty crimes

The Editorial Page Requires Special Attention While Reading the Newspaper

The editorial page is a very important page and you should develop the habit of reading the editorial on a daily basis.

When you first start to read the editorial it will not make much sense to you, but this is OK. Over a few days of reading you will be able to catch the conversation and from then on editorial reading will be a pleasurable activity for you.

Not all editorials should be read every day. Keep a watch for the important topics from the list of topics mentioned above and read those editorials.

Now let us see which articles are important on the editorial page:

There are 4 articles on the editorial page. Of these, the article Arguments for the Weak is based on Philosophy and not important for IAS Preparation and can be skipped.

The three remaining articles are important and you should read them:

  1. No home for girls – Child abuse and rights
  2. An unlovely triangle – Bilateral issues and international affairs
  3. Monsoon break – Agriculture

Out of these 3 articles, the first two articles are based on the front page stories mentioned earlier:

  1. India, Iran, US: An Unlovely triangle – Bilateral issues
  2. Muzaffarpur abuse case – Child abuse and rights

So you can see that editorial articles are linked to the current events that are under the spotlight for various reasons. These articles help you to develop your unique perspective on such issues and reading editorials is highly recommended.

The feature pages of newspapers where certain stories are explained in detailed are very useful. For instance, the Indian Express publishes a page called Explained in which the events that have been in news are explained in detail.

What to Read on the Other Pages of the Newspaper

In the edition we are referring to the following important news topics have appeared on the Explained page which you should read:

  1. Why a currency war is a worry – Economy
  2. How mosquito vs mosquito can fight dengue – Health
  3. How do roads bother wildlife, and why should anyone bother? – Wildlife and Habitat

The page adjacent to the editorial page is also almost as important as the Editorial page itself and contains useful articles that you should read.

You can skip the Letters to the Editor section on this page and some other sections like Inside Track (which is about insider news of Delhi politics) and sections that exclusively focus on politics or humour unless you are reading them for entertainment purpose.

The next page is about World news which is, again, very important.  In this section keep a watch for news that impacts India in some ways, whether it is bilateral ties or trade relations or regional power equations. You should focus on such news articles.

Also, read articles that are important from the current affairs perspective even it may not be connected to India directly. Let us list such stories in this edition of the newspaper:

  1. Powerful Earthquake rocks Indonesia’s Lombok, Bali Islands
  2. Indian bombing suspect behind pro-Khalistan rally in London

Don’t Skip the Economy Topics in the Newspaper

The next page is the page on Economy which is very important. Keep a close watch for news stories related to the following topics on these pages:

  1. Industrial output and GDP
  2. Banking with special emphasis on Non-performing assets
  3. Currency
  4. Monetary and fiscal policies
  5. Trade and commerce

Finally, we come to the Sports section. Remember, in sports, it is not just Cricket you should focus on; rather you should read the news related to sporting achievements of Indians in other sporting disciplines as well.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Badminton
  2. Track and field
  3. Weightlifting
  4. Wrestling
  5. Shooting
  6. Tennis
  7. Hockey
  8. Golf

How Much Time Should Be Devoted to Newspaper Reading?

Ideally, you should not devote more than 90 minutes to newspaper reading daily. This is what I advocate in my post on IAS Preparation. This time is sufficient to cover the sections mentioned in the preceding paras. Devoting too much time to reading the newspaper will leave you with little time to prepare the conventional subjects and also you will tend to read the non-essential news stories to pass time unknowingly.

Now that you have a good idea about how to read the newspaper for IAS exam it is time you this knowledge to practice to gain mastery of current affairs and general awareness issues for Prelims as well as Mains. I would love to get your feedback in the comments form below.

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