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Introduction to Mass Communication

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As if the world was just waiting a breakthrough in the printing process, people from advance
countries started exploiting the new invention to vent their feeling on both religious as well as secular
Next hundred years saw a change the world had perhaps not witnessed in the previous thousand years.
More opinions were brought forward, the role of gatekeepers in the world of information was reduced
considerably and new idea-exchange programs started getting very popular all over.
Though it was not the way it appears today, the pioneer work in print as a medium to spread information
was started first by irregular pamphleteering but soon assumed a very formal form of regular publications
during which time tens of thousands of magazines, books, newspapers and newsletters change the
landscape in urban markets across the world.

A glance to early publications

1500s ---- Newssheets appear in Venice, Italy
1605 ----- Relations, France
1690 ----- Public Occurrences, first U.S. Newspaper
1704 ----- John Campbell publishes the Boston News-Letter
1721 ----- The New-England Courant, first printed in 1721, landed publisher James Franklin in jail.
1733 ----- Peter Zenger is put in jail for New York Weekly content, but wins case against New York for
seditious libel
1798 ----- Alien and Sedition Acts forbid criticism of key government officials. Repealed in 1800.
1830s ---- Penny press introduces era of mass communication
1864 ----- Newspapers start using telegraph to transmit news
1848 ----- Associated Press founded
1800s ---- Linotype machines speed up typesetting by making possible the automatic casting of entire lines
of type
1890s ---- Period of yellow journalism. This is followed by era of Jazz Journalism.

Print comes to South Asia

For at least one hundred years people in subcontinent remained unaware of the printing
technology. They, however, had some idea of printed material when ships would come from UK and bring
some newspapers and magazines generally for the Englishmen serving in subcontinent.
In the subcontinent the print media surfaced because of the foreign rulers. India did not know about
printing or mass communication by the middle of 18th century. Since the influence of the English rulers was
more in the South India, most early papers also appeared in the southern cities before the print medium
came to western and northern parts.

Colonial journalism

The history of media in united India is colored by the colonial experience. William Bolts, an exemployee
of the British East India Company attempted to start the first newspaper in India in 1776. Bolts
had to beat a retreat under the disapproving gaze of the Court of Directors of the Company.


The Hickey's Bengal Gazette or the Calcutta General Advertiser was started by James Augustus
Hickey in 1780 and is regarded as the first regular publication from the Indian soil. The Gazette, a two-sheet
newspaper, specialized in writing on the private lives of the Sahibs of the Company. He dared even to
mount scurrilous attacks on the Governor-General, Warren Hastings', wife, which soon landed him in hot
Hickey was sentenced to a 4 months jail term and Rs.500 fine, which did not deter him. After a bitter attack
on the Governor-General and the Chief Justice, Hickey was sentenced to one year in prison and fined
Rs.5000, which finally drove him to penury. These were the first tentative steps of journalism in India.


B. Messink and Peter Reed were pliant publishers of the India Gazette, unlike their infamous
predecessor. The colonial establishment started the Calcutta Gazette. It was followed by another private
initiative the Bengal Journal. The Oriental Magazine of Calcutta Amusement, a monthly magazine made it four
weekly newspapers and one monthly magazine published from Calcutta, now Kolkata.

Madras (Chennai)

The Madras Courier was started in 1785 in the southern stronghold of Madras, which is now called
Chennai. Richard Johnson, its founder, was a government printer. Madras got its second newspaper when,
in 1791, Hugh Boyd, who was the editor of the Courier quit and founded the Hurkaru.
Tragically for the paper, it ceased publication when Boyd died within a year of its founding. It was only in
1795 that competitors to the Courier emerged with the founding of the Madras Gazette followed by the India
. The latter was an "unauthorised" publication, which led to the deportation of its founder
Humphreys. The Madras Courier was designated the purveyor of official information in the Presidency.
In 1878, The Hindu was founded, and played a vital role in promoting the cause of Indian independence
from the colonial yoke. Its founder, Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, was a lawyer, and his son, K Srinivasan assumed
editorship of this pioneering newspaper during for the first half of the 20th century. Today this paper enjoys
the highest circulation in South India, and is among the top five nationally.


Bombay, now Mumbai, surprisingly was a late starter - The Bombay Herald came into existence in
1789. Significantly, a year later a paper called the Courier started carrying advertisements in Gujarati. The first
media merger of sorts: The Bombay Gazette, which was started in 1791, merged with the Bombay Herald the
following year. Like the Madras Courier, this new entity was recognized as the publication to carry "official
notifications and advertisements".
'A Chronicle of Media and the State', by Jeebesh Bagchi in the Sarai Reader 2001 is a handy timeline on the
role of the state in the development of media in India for more than a century. Bagchi divides the timeline
into three 'ages'. The Age of Formulation, which starts with the Indian Telegraph Act in 1885 and ends with
the Report of the Sub-Committee on Communication, National Planning Committee in 1948.

Urdu Press

In 1822 the Persian weekly Jam-e-Jahan Numa first time published in Urdu. Some time it publishes
in Urdu, some time in Persian and some time in both the languages. During the earlier days of journalism
newspapers were either weeklies or biweeklies, none of them was a daily. On January 14, 1850 Munshi
Harsukh Rai started weekly Kohinoor. With a circulation of only 350 it was the largest circulated newspaper
of that time. The circulation of other newspapers on that time was only 100 to 200.
Urdu Guide was the first daily newspaper, which was started by Maulvi Kabeeruddin from Kolkata in 1858.
In the very same year as a second daily Roznamcha-e-Punjab started from Lahore. As a first Urdu daily of
Bihar, Dini Bihar started in 1876 from Arah district. Zameendar, which was the best newspaper of that
time, was started in 1903 from Lahore. It was the first newspaper, which used the news from erstwhile news
agencies. This newspaper highly supported the freedom struggle. At that time the circulation of Zameendar
was 30,000. Before Zameendar, in 1884 Munshi Mehar Baksh started a morning (Naseem-e-Subah) and an
evening newspaper (Sham-e-Wisal). Maulvi Saiful Haq started the daily Rahbar-e-Hind from Lahore in
1885. In 1902 Maulvi Sanaullah Khan started the weekly Watan which regularly published for 33 years.
Maulana Muhammed Ali Jauhar started Naqueeb-e-Hamdard in 1912. Later it called only Hamdard. In the
very same year Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started Al-Hilal. After Zameendar it was the largest circulated
newspaper .On March 20, 1919 Mahashai Krishn started Partap. Partap was the first newspaper, which
started supplements.

Newspapers and movement for independence

Before the freedom following newspapers and magazines were started to support the freedom
struggle. Khilafat, Siasat, Ujala, Taj, Roznama-e-Hind, Ajmal, Hilal, Milap, Partap, Tej, Qaumi Awaz, Jung,
Anjam, Inqualab, Nawa-e-Waqt, Hindustan, Aftab, Jumhuriat, Iqbal, Asr-e-Jadeed, Azad-e-Hind, Sandesh,
Vakeel, Khidmat, Musalman, Azad, Paswan Weer Bharat and Al-Jamiath. Jawaharlal Nehru started Qaumi
Awaz from Lucknow in 1945. Later it also started from Patna and Delhi. This time it is publishing only
from Delhi and is in very poor condition. After Indias freedom Hafiz Ali Khan Bahadur started weekly
Daur-e-Jadeed. Jamat-e-Islami Hind started weekly Dawat. This time it is publishing regularly as Bi-weekly.
Dawat has a particular readership and it is very popular among its readers due to its views on current issues.
Maulana Abdul Waheed Siddiqui started Nai Duniya, which is still publishing under the editorship of his
son Shahid Siddiqui. This time it is the famous Urdu weekly in India. Sahara Group Had started monthly
Rashtriya Sahara but later it became daily. This time it is the most popular Urdu daily of North India
publishing simultaneously from Delhi, Lucknow and Gorakhpur. Recently this group has launched a weekly
Aalmi Sahara.

Press in the US today

The print media include all newspapers, newsletters, booklets, pamphlets, magazines, and other
printed publications, especially those that sell advertising space as a means of raising revenue.
In the United States, at present, there are 1745 daily and 7602 weekly newspapers, and 64,000 magazines.
Most print media, with the exception of magazines, are local, although there are some national newspapers
and trade publications that have become quite successful. Magazines, on the other hand, have always been
national, although there is a trend today toward localization and specialization. Also included in print media
category are directories, church and school newspapers and yearbooks, and programs at theater
presentations and sporting events.


Around 1, 20, 500 people were working in the print industry only after one hundred years of the
first appearance of the US publication in 1690. The size kept on increasing as did many other sections of
specialization. About over two million people directly or indirectly are getting their living from the print
media at present.


The media in print which earlier took the responsibility of spreading information only, has matured
over the decades and now providing healthy services in entertainment, education and welfare of mankind.
The business of advertising now knows no limits in financial and employment size and leading to more
avenues of jobs.

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