Evolution of Journalism

If you will, try to imagine your prehistoric ancestors emerging from their caves and reaching out to their environment. Archeologists, who refer to this era as the Ramapithecus Age, tell us that cave person possessed the basic senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Different from creatures of the 20′ century, their brains and the cultural nervous system began slowly to evolve and later generations gradually acquired the basic tools of communication. They began to distinguish between pleasurable and unpleasant experiences. More refined perception and a more sophisticated brain and central nervous system developed simultaneously and aided in satisfying basic needs, light to see, air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, sleep to strengthen, and shelter to protect them from the environment. By about 300,000 B.C., their nervous systems and brains, as well as their genetic features, began to resemble those of present-day man. Two hundred thousand years later embryonic language began to develop, replacing a communication based mainly on touch. Regardless of whether this language developed through learning or instinct, the genetic evaluation had now been joined by language evolution. By about 7000, B.C., Homo sapiens had evolved genetically to their present form, and the ability to communicate had gained another medium: pictographic. These wall etching, inside caves and temples, remain vivid picture message that depicts the life and religious beliefs of these first humans. Then these etchings became highly stylized, and the first symbols of language came into existence. Primitive alphabets, sometimes consisting of more than 600 characters, marked the beginning of recorded history.

The man was now able record socio-cultural events, attitudes, values and habits and trace the development of the moral codes. Many of these techniques continued into modern cultures, such as those of North American Indians who recorded famous battles, songs and the lives of chiefs for posterity, cultures learned about and studied other cultures. The historical perspective developed so that, when planning our futures, we could examine our past.

As civilization continued to expand interpersonal communication was used cross-culturally. Relay runners would carry messages to distant places but this system of purveying information was still very slow, and mostly determined by how fast a messenger could run or ride. In some cases the messages took months and even years to reach their destination.

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Even in the ancient and early medieval times, bulletins, news pamphlets and other propaganda material, used to be pasted on the walls. Sometimes, royals’ proclamations or edicts were also pasted on the walls or inscribed on the stones. The kings in ancient time used to get written reports from their departments and their spies or agents, writer’s of the newsletter also sent news to the persons who were residing far away from the capital of a country. The newsletter thus is quite an early institution.

Undoubtedly, the history of journalism is closely linked to the development of the printing press. The credit for the invention of the art of printing goes to the Chinese. It is said that the Chinese were the first to use movable types for printing press. Even paper was first of all manufactured in China. The first book was printed by a Chinese in 868 A.D. The Chinese Court Gazette is said to be the oldest newspaper published at Peking.

The knowledge of the art of printing spread to the west from China. The Chinese had developed the movable types between the 9th and 11th century. In the 15th century Johannes Gutenberg, a gold smith of Mainz developed a moveable type In the middle of the 16’h century the morning newspaper took shape in Europe. In the year 1609, two news sheets namely “Avisi” from Germany and “Relations” from Strasbourg started coming out regularly.

BY 1621, the English printers started their own news sheets In 1621, a single newssheet called Corunto was published in English. In 1665 the Oxford Gazette made its first appearance In 1550, the Jesuits brought the first printing press to India. In the beginning, only religious books were published in Portuguese, Tamil and Malayalam. In the subcontinent news writing in the shape of newsletters had become quite prevalent during the Mughal period although the manuscript reports were also copied some times for wider use. The first attempt to start a newspaper in Calcutta was made by one William Bolts. But in reality, James Augustus Hickey started the first newspaper, the Bengal Gazette. His newspaper consisted of two sheets only. East India Company started the next newspaper named as the “India Gazette”. The first Urdu newspaper of the subcontinent was Jamie-Jahan Numa, which came out in 1822 from Calcutta. Details of further papers up till now will be discussed in later pages.

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