Newspapers is an important means of communicating information, and so undertakes the task of timely and correctly delivering latest information to domestic and oversea people, which is a window for people to get to know the world. This quality of newspapers inevitably leads to special characteristics which ordinary language does not occupy. In general, the reporting of English newspapers shall abide by so-called ABC principles, namely accuracy, brevity and clarity. To achieve the harmony of these three aspects, English newspapers have slowly developed into following characteristics:
First, as the mass media of communication, its language must be common to the mass and cater to reading level of the mass. To achieve this, slangs are often used in English newspapers. Slang is an important composition of English vocabulary. Among the vocabulary of 15000 for common US people, slangs of 2000 are inclusive by them. Furthermore, since last century, slangs become more and more popular in English newspapers. For example, “according to the post, perot has been passed to the then veep rumors that two bush sons have been engaged in ‘improper activities’”(根据华盛顿邮报报道，在布什担任副总统期间，佩洛特曾把他两个儿子可能参与“不体面活动”的消息转告给他。), in this paragraph “veep” is a slang and means the vice-president of United States.
Second, English newspapers are focus on lively and interesting reading, which is even listed as a piece of content of news values, otherwise newspapers cannot be read widely and become popular by ordinary people at all levels. Not all people read newspapers to obtain important news and information all the time. Sometimes, people read them to relax them and get means of entertainment. For this purpose, a lot of humors, jokes or cross-word puzzle, etc. are always inserted into some newspapers to arouse people’s reading interests.
Finally, English newspapers are always brief, which is an important principle for newspapers. Without brevity, people will waste a lot of time to read and obtain necessary information. It’s impossible for people to have enough time to read long newspapers, and accordingly too long and complicated newspapers will lose their stands and finally disappear out of people’s sights.
After understanding these characteristics of English newspapers, we can read them as we like. English newspapers not only give us important news and information but also bring us foreign customs and slangs, lively and interesting stories and games, even our favorite humors.