Essay on the Technical Revolution of Journalism

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Newspaper publishing today stands on the verge of technical revolution in its 400 years’ history.

The press has expanded a great deal in recent decades through­out the world in spite of the competition with other media like Radio, T V. and the films. In the United States of America the daily press claims a circulation of over 70 million followed by JapaTk.45 milion and USSR 35 million.

However market disparity extends in the pattern of press distri­bution. While Europeans buy about 40% of world’s daily papers.

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North Americans read 25 per cent. The distribution in Africa, Asia and South America is markedly low-about 35 percent against 70 percent of the world population they have.

UNESCO has suggested a minimum of 10 copies of daily paper per 100 persons for the whole world, yet the minimum falls as low as 8 copies in South America, 4 in Asia and just one in Africa.

Newspaper publishing has greatly benefited from the applica­tion of new telecommunication techniques in recent years. These advances have been made more particularly in the developed coun­tries. In many countries there is the facility of facsimile transmission of ideographs as well as monotype and tele-type setting as a means of efficiency and conservation of manpower. This enables the simulta­neous publication of newspaper editions in different cities hundreds of miles apart.

There has been a vast improvement in rotary offset printing with the help of photo-composition, better inking, fast etching methods, the electronic engraving plates and electronic control of registers. Only in backward countries conventional printing in raised type, originated by Gutenberg and Caxton, is done. Its place is increasingly taken by various forms of photo-composition or film- setting on both text and illustrations undertaken in the same process, providing for greater speed, versatility and economy.

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In the developing countries like India, the press is expected to help combat low literacy levels and overcome difficulties of distri­bution to larger rural populations. Recent improvements in trans­portation better air and railway services, autos and construction of rural roads, etc. have helped ease the situation.

Newspapers of the Future:

Despite competition from the Radio and the T. V. the news­paper is undergoing tremendous revolution not only in respect of new ideas and new methods in editing but also the introduc­tion of new printing procedures and machines. The most pertinent progress has been made with the introduction of greater artistry into journalism. According to F. E. Stevens, news­papers have become more decorative almost everywhere.

A great attention is now paid to the way in which news, matter is presented. Modern newspapers vie with one another in putting pleasant outlook by the use of types and illustrations. The aim is to produce brighter newspapers.

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The major consideration, to-day is how to catch the interest and attention of the reader so that he continues to anxiously waiting for the morning newspaper as ever. He should not feel satisfied with just coverage of news and views from the Radio and the T. V There is an attempt to put greater variety in coverage, more human value stories and the lighter type of matter which may inform, instruct and provide entertainment at the same time.

Newspapers are becoming more and more humanised. With the printing revolution already going fast, newspapers are more decorated and interesting. Particularly weeklies and monthlies are using modern methods of off­set printing in which many colours are combined to give a better visual outlook. Also there is detailed planning of each and every feature and there is supervision of each page by an Artist who not only looks to the colour combinations and illustrations but also the arrangement of type matter, headings and other aesthetic aspects. One direction in which interesting developments are taking place is pictorial journalism.

Technical side of photogravure has undergone considerable development in recent years and is now capable of wider application for practical purposes. The new presses are now replacing old ones with gravure sections added to the Rotary presses which run at high speed. Pictures are playing an ever-increasing role and will do so even better in the future.

The application of art and machine to printing has brought into existence a large number of entertainment magazines many dealing with films; or other entertaining aspects of life. Even serious magazines like India Today, Illustrated Weekly, Surya, Sunday, Blitz, etc. are innovating ways to make their magazines as illustrative as possible and their language as easy as can be understood by a layman.

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