Monday, January 14, 2008

Annals of Journalism

This is to be filed under "This Day, That Age." Check out the Hindu editorial from exactly fifty years ago:

THE HINDU appears to-day with a new face. The front page is devoted to news instead of to advertisements. This change, though really just a technical one, has not been made lightheartedly to satisfy some passing whim but after considerable deliberation and in deference to the wishes of an overwhelming majority of our readership. It has not been an easy change for us to make either, because our former format featuring advertisements on the front page has not only stood the test of eighty important and highly competitive years but has made THE HINDU a distinctive publication among the great newspapers of the world. But the reading habits of the public have been changing fast in the last two decades, and a newspaper, alert and sensitive to public opinion, has to take note of what its readers desire and keep pace with the spirit of the times. We have moved into an age when events go rushing by in such headlong fashion that a reader to-day has often no time even to pause “to open his paper” for the news but must get it the moment he picks his paper up. The sweeping trend for newspapers has therefore been to move the main news of the day to the front page and to-day we join their ranks. Thus THE HINDU which throughout its long career has striven to give a lead to its readers on matters of moment, now takes a lead from its readers in the matter of its facial appearance. That is the significance of the change effected in our format this morning.

If you are so inclined, you might also want to read the accompanying column by N. Ram the Hindu's current Editor-in-Chief.