THE SOCIAL CATEGORY THEORY
The Social category theory was propounded by Melvin de Fleur in 1970. The basic assumption of the theory is that members of a given social category determined by (age, gender, location, socio-economic status among others) will seek out similar communication messages, which they will also respond to more or less similarly, other things being equal. The basic strengths of this theory pay deep attention to process in which messages can and cannot have effects. It provides insight into influence of Individual differences and group affiliations in shaping media influence as well as attention to selective processes in helping to clarify how individuals process information. The theory however overestimates the influence of group values on individuals and underestimates the media, focuses on information in media messages, not on more contemporary symbolic media as well as uses attitude change as the only measure of effects, ignoring reinforcement and more subtle forms of media influence.
According to Uses and Gratification theory, people make use of the media for their specific needs contradictory to the magic bullet theory which states the passiveness of media audiences. This theory can be said to have a user/audience-centered approach. Even for communication (say inter-personal) people refer to the media for the topic they discuss with themselves. They gain more knowledge implying that knowledge is acquired by using media for reference. It is the theory which explains how people use media for their need and gratification. According to Blumler (1979) this theory states what people do with media rather than what media do to people. The Uses and Gratification theory therefore explains how people choose different media to meet their information need. This explains the choice people make between the offline newspapers and online newspapers. Also, the Social Category theory states that members of a given social category determined by (age, gender, location, socio-economic status among others) will seek out similar communication messages, which they will also respond to more or less similarly. Thus, media audiences who belong to the same category as listed above are most likely to receive media messages the same way. They are also likely to make same choices of the media they get their news information from. This explains the preference for online and offline newspapers among the different age groups identified for this study.