Press releases have enormous influence on public opinion since the media sets agenda for public discussion. Thus, press releases are essential communication tool for political parties. For press releases to be effective, however, they must be readable. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to evaluate the readability of news releases of the two major political parties (National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP)) in Ghana. Seventy press releases (32 were NDC releases whiles 38 were from the NPP) from the NDC and NPP were selected by convenience sampling. Flesch readability indexes were used to compute readability scores. Frequencies, measures of central tendencies, and one sample T-test using bootstrapping, were used to describe readability of the press releases. In addition, independent sample T-test was used to compare differences in readability between NPP and NDC news releases. The results revealed that news releases by the two political parties were generally ‘difficult’ to read, compared to standard readability of public documents. This was the case since a person must have attained, on the average, over 13 years of formal education in order to be able to read and understand the news releases of the NDC (X Ì…=13.29; σ=1.85) while it required about 12 years of formal education was required, on the average, to read and understand the news releases from the NPP (X Ì…=12.22; σ=2.63). In addition, the results showed that there was no significant difference in readability between NPP and NDC news releases. It is recommended that the political parties consider the readability of the news releases before disseminating them to the public.
Key words: Readability, political discourse, press releases, media.
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