Introduction to Print Media: Newspapers and History of Printing (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2023)

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By print media we generally mean newspapers. Newspapers collect, edit and print news reports and articles. Newspapers published in the evenings are called eveningers. We read newspapers for information, news and entertainment. Just to be aware of what is happening around us.

History of Printing

  • Before the invention of paper, the ancient men used to write on palm leaves. Such kinds of manuscripts are excavated from our heritage sites. The art of printing was first started in China during Tang Dynasty in 600 AD. The oldest known surviving printed work in a woodblock is a Buddhist scripture of 684 AD which is preserved in Japan now.
  • The first printed book in China was a Buddhist text called “Diamond Sutra” by Wang Chick in 868 AD. Johannes Gutenberg is considered as the father of printing press. He printed the Bible in 1940 using movable printing blocks. Printing technology came to India in 1556. It was the Jesuit priests who brought this technology to our country. The first book printed in India was in Portuguesa language in Old Goa. It was Doctrine Christa by St. Francis Xavier.

The First Newspaper

  • Even during the periods of kins in India and Rome, they used to print and circulate news as proclamations to the people. In China they were termed as ‘tipao’ . These proclamations can be called as the first forms of newspapers. “The Peking Gazette” , published from China, in 618 is believed to be the first newspaper. In the initial stages it was handwritten and distributed among the readers, later it became printed and circulated.
  • The Peking Gazette continued its publication till the beginning of the twentieth century. According to the World Association of Newspapers, the first newspaper in the modern sense was published by Johann Carolus in 1605 named “Relation aller Furnemmen und gedenckwandigen Historien” . In 1609, another newspaper was started from Germany called “File” . Yet another newspaper in the modern concept was published from Venice called “The Gazette” . The “Oxford Gazette” published in Oxford at 1655 was the first one in modern sense. “The Times” , one of the greatest newspapers in the world started publishing in 1784, by John Walter from London in its previous name “Daily Universal Register” .
  • The largest circulated newspaper is the “YomiYuri Shim bun” published from Japan. It has a circulation of 1, 45,57, 000copies per day. The second and third largest circulated dailies in the world are also published from Japan.

Newspaper Printing in India

  • “Bengal Gazette” or “Calcutta Advertiser” or “Hickey՚s Gazette” is the first newspaper of India. It was launched on January 29,1780 by James Augustus Hickey. The first issue had two pages which later increased to four with a size of 35 CMS x 24 CMS. In the beginnings newspapers faced strongly oppose from the governments because they criticized the evil rules of the government. In 1780, the second newspaper was launched from Calcutta “The Indian Gazette” .
  • The “Calcutta Gazette” which started publication in 1784 and the “Bengal Journal” which was launched in 1785 were the third and fourth newspapers to come out from Calcutta. The “Madras Courier” (1785) and “Madras Gazette” (1795) were started from Madras. From Mumbai, the “Mumbai Herald” was launched in 1789. In 1818, Lord Hastings removed strict censorship on the press and Raja Ram Mohan Roy is said to be the person who fought for this. The first language newspaper in India was started in Kannada language, the “Kannada Samachar” .
  • The first Indian language newspaper published by an Indian was also launched from Calcutta, “The Bengali Gazette” by Gangadhar Bhattacharjee in 1816. The Gujarati daily “Mumbai Samachar” published from Mumbai is the oldest existing newspaper not only in India but also in Asia. It was established in1822.

Cultural Awakening and Freedom Movement

  • Towards the end of 19th century, cultural and social reform movement s along with freedom struggle started spreading in India. It prompted the growth of newspaper industry. “The Times of India” (1861) , “The Pioneer” (1866) , “The Amrita Bazar Patrika” (1868) , “The Statesman” (1875) .
  • “The Hindu” (1887) and “The Tribune” (1880) were the important newspapers started during this period. “The Hindustan Times” was started later, in 1923. In the regional languages, some papers that were launched during that period continue even now as leading papers like “Malayala Manorama” (1888) . The pioneer was started by Rudyard Clipping, the author of Jungle book from Allahabad.
  • With Gandhiji starting weeklies such as ‘Navajivan’ , ‘harijan’ , and Young India it give a new boost to the print media. In India, we have 41 newspapers that are centenarian now.

Advent of Modern Technology

The print media is modernised by the technological revolution. Hand composing is replaced by monotype and linotype. Now, desktop publishing is quiet common. Besides, colour printing also made the newspapers more attractive now a days.

Size of Newspapers

Based on size, newspapers are classified into three:

Size of Newspapers

Internet Papers and Editions

Now almost all-important newspapers have internet editions and people prefer to read that in the fast-moving life. Every newspaper has a website and if you visit the website, you can read multiple editions of that for free. The newspapers solely published in internet are called web papers.

Other Forms of Print Media

  • Newspapers, magazines and weeklies are other forms of print media. They are published at regular intervals. A weekly is published once a week and a monthly once a month. A fortnightly is published once in two weeks. A biweekly is published twice every week.
  • A tri-monthly is one which is published every three months. These are also known as quarterlies. Then there are certain publications that come out only once a year which are called annuals.