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January 29 to be observed as Indian Newspaper Day

28-January-2005
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January 29 to be observed as Indian Newspaper Day

“Just this once, the big news of the day isn’t in the papers. It is the papers.”

January 29th is going to be observed every year as ‘Indian Newspaper Day,’ as per the summons of the Indian Newspaper Society. This is the day when the first newspaper was born and spun into print.

The creatives furnished for the occasion are hard-hitting and compelling. Instances maybe an expanse of empty white space with just two sentences inscribed “If this was just a piece of paper, it wouldn’t have lasted 225 years.” Another would be a crystal clear statement, which sums up efforts by most print entities to inculcate reading habits in the dynamic market situation of today - “Go Back to reading the Newspaper.”

Says Bharat Kapadia, Publisher, Chitralekha, “It is our way of recognising the milestones crossed by the print medium, and the fact that it has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. New media such as the internet may have entered the scene, but it hasn’t changed the stature for print. The newspaper remains the primary mode of information for consumers and occupies a huge part of their daily lives. Advertisers have known and appreciated this fact, which is why trust levels on print remain unchanged.”

Kapadia goes on, “This day commemorates the birth of the first newspaper in India and the journey for so many entities within the print medium. The advertisements generated for this occasion have been developed internally by the INS, and the copy is compelling. It gives the message in a simple yet straightforward way.”

There are studies, which assert that ad monies in print are growing at a far greater pace, than the other mediums. The mileage derived is that much more. Plus, with increasing clutter in television, and lack of involvement levels, the broadsheet is naturally the way out.

Upholding the cause of print and the strong history behind this medium comes an article by M J Akbar who describes the turbulent journey of the first newspaper of India, a weekly titled Hickey’s Bengal Gazette. The article would be run in all the existing English newspapers, and translated suitably for the regional ones.

Excerpts from the article:

“It might be of some comfort to contemporary newspapers owners to realise that the first newspaper, a weekly called Hickey's Bengal Gazette had a second name, the Calcutta General Advertiser. It was published on January 29, 1780, the same year in which Writer’s Building was completed in Calcutta to serve as the office of the junior civil servants of the East India Company. Gwalior became a feudatory state of the British and Haidar Ali an ally of the French when they declared war on Britain and Warren Hastings fought a duel in Calcutta with Sir Philip Francis (neither died, though Hastings had the better of the encounter). No line has better summed up the nature of the media business than the Gazette’s motto: ‘A Weekly Political and Commercial Paper, Open to all Parties, but influenced by None.’ News must be political and commercial.”

“A newspaper must be open to all interests but subject to none. It must give due respect to advertising. When you realise that there was a spelling mistake in the title, and lots of Calcutta gossip on its pages, then all the components of a modern newspaper may be found in the path breaker. What is a newspaper without a typo?”

Hooked on? For more…do check out your broadsheet on January 29th…. It’s a date!

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