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Mass Media.

The mass media fall into three categories based on the technology by which they are produced:
print, electronic and photographic. The primary print media are books, magazines and
newspapers. The primary electronic media are television, radio, sound recordings and the web.
The one primarily photographic medium is the movies.

The major mass media are print (books, magazines, and newspapers), film (principally
commercial motion pictures), and broadcasting (radio and television). More recently, the internet
is taken to be among the medium used for mass communication.

The development of the mass media.

The mass media system we have today has existed more or less as we know it since the 1830s. it
is a system that has weathered repeated significant change with the coming and increasingly
sophisticated technologies-the penny press newspaper was soon followed by mass market books
and mass circulation of magazines. As the 1800s became the 1900s, these popular media were
joined by motion pictures, radio, and sound recording. A few decades later television combing
news and entertainment, moving images and sound, all in the home and all, ostensibly, for free.
The traditional media found new functions and prospered side by side with television. Then more
recently, came the internet and World Wide Web. Now, because of the internet’s impact, all
media industries are facing profound alterations in how they are structured and do business, the
nature of their content, and how they interact and respond to their audiences.

Preliterate societies in the oral tradition had no media as we know them now. Except for the
occasional use of drums and signal, they were dependent on the human voice to conquer distance
and memories to preserve ideas across time. As a result, social, political and economic
development was agonizingly slow before writing and media were available, and human
existence remained relatively simple for centuries.

Writing changed al that, but it took some time. The first medium people used extensively was the
stone. Stone documents could not easily be moved around. Therefore writing could not be used
as it is today. Within a few centuries, however, portable media came into use, and ancient
societies began to preserve and accumulate ideas in written form. Some developed libraries of
scrolls and tablets, which provided a base of accumulated knowledge for the beginnings of
science and higher education.

The transition to writing

The earliest attempts that we know of to represent ideas with pictures-the first step toward
writing are paintings on walls of caves discovered decades ago across the globe. Their tools were
bones, sticks and primitive brushes used to color images. Their pigments were made of animal
fat mixed with charcoal and powdered earth of several colors.

The meanings of such pictures to the people who made them, and the reasons for which they
were prepared, remain unknown. In all its forms, writing was a tool for storing and later
recovering ideas that were expressed earlier. In other words, writing is a system for information
storage. Writing also permits people who did not record ideas originally to recover the meanings
and implications of those who did.

The invention and spread of writing

Some anthropologists believe that our ancestors began to communicate with the rudiments of
language more than 300, 000 years ago. Virtually nothing is known about how people developed
speech, because until about 4000 B.C they did not begin to leave records in the form of codified
writing that can be understood today. Yet, even the preliterate people relied on complex systems,
other than writing, for storing and exchanging information. They left representations on many
surfaces-pottery, baskets, sticks, cloths, walls, animal skins, bark, stone, and even leaves. On
these media they rendered a rich variety of signs, symbols, drawings, and decorative motifs to
convey socially important ideas. In addition they used hairstyles, clothing, tattoos, scars, jewelry,
crowns and other objects and ornaments to signify rank, status, power, marital status,
achievement, occupation, family membership, and dozens of additional meanings vital to life in
their societies.

At some unknown point between 5000 and 4000 B.C people in several areas of the near east
began to use drawings to represent ideas in somewhat more uniform way. Generally they used
pictures of what they knew, such as birds, a bundle of grain, a boat, the head of a bull, or parts of
the human body. Writing in a technical sense began to emerge when such graphic signs came to
represent standardized meanings among a given people. Well known ideographic systems of
writing were those developed by the early Egyptians, the Chinese and the Maya of the new

A much simpler system was to link the graphic symbols not to ideas or thoughts, but to sounds.
A phonograph is a graphic symbol that is linked to a specified sound by convention or rule that
prevails among those who speak a particular language. The alphabet that we use today is an
obvious example.

This consists of consonants and vowels linked to the twenty six letters. Along with additional
numbers and numerals, additional numbers symbols representing various measures, punctuation,
contractions, and so on, it is possible to handle any set of ideas that need to be expressed in a

It took thousands of years to develop the modern alphabet. It was inherited it largely from the
Romans , who copied most of it from the Greeks who probably got it via the Phoenicians, who
seem to have put it together from the earlier forms adopted by the Assyrians, who made use of
the system of the Babylonians , who adopted the system of the Sumerians.

It is to the romans that the western societies owe its greatest debt. They gave us books in the
form that we know them today, with letters covering both sides of the page and sheets bound at
the edge between boards or covers. They greatly refined the alphabet, technologies for writing on
various surfaces, and formats for sentences, paragraphs, and punctuation, much as we use them


In the mid-1400s Johannes Gutenberg, a tinkerer in what is now Germany, devised an innovation
that made it possible to print pages using metal letters. Gutenberg’s revolutionary contribution
was in applying metallurgy to the printing process, which went back to ancient china. The idea of
movable metal type occurred to Gutenberg in the mid-1430s. Instead of wood, which often
cracked in the pressing process, he experimented with casting individual letters in a lead based
alloy. He built a frame size of a books page and then arranged the metal letters into words. Once
a page is filled-with letters and words and sentences-he put the frame into a modified wine press,
applied ink, laid paper and pressed. The process made it possible to produce dozens, even
hundreds or thousands, of copies.

Printing and the printing press existed long before Gutenberg perfected his process in or around
in or around 1446. The Chinese were using wooden block press as early as A.D 600 and had
movable clay type by A.D 1000. Gutenberg printing press was a significant leap forward.

The impact of print

Although Gutenberg developed his printing press with limited use in mind, printing bibles, the
cultural effects of mass printing have been profound. Movable type made printing easier and
faster, as the printer could quickly set up lines of type and quickly print documents. This new
efficiency in printing reduced costs of printing documents. This also reduced the cost of printing.
When books became less expensive, more people could buy books.

Handwritten materials were expensive to produce, and the cost of an education, in time and
money had made reading an expensive and luxury. However, with the spread of printing, written
communication was available to a much larger population, and the need for literacy among the
lower and middle classes grew. The ability to read became less of a luxury and more of a
necessity, eventually literacy spread, as did education. As more people learned how to read, new
ideas germinated and cross pollination of ideas occurred. Thus, the printing press helped advance
the European renaissance, which saw startling new advances in the arts between the fourteenth
and seventeenth centuries, as well as the scientific revolution which began in the mid-1500s.

Dominant authorities –the crown and the church- were now less able to control communication
and, therefore, the people. New ideas about the world appeared, new understandings of the
existing world flourished.

In addition, duplication permitted standardization and preservation. Myth and superstition began
to make way for standard verifiable bodies of knowledge. History, economics, physics and
chemistry all became part of the culture’s intellectual life.

Printed materials were the first mass produced product, speeding the development and
entrenchment of capitalism. Use of printing press helped fuel the establishment and growth of a
large middle class. No longer were societies composed of rulers and subjects, printing sped the
rise of democracy. No longer were the power and wealth functions of birth. Power and wealth
could now be created by the industrious. No longer was political discourse limited to accepting
the dictates of the crown and church. Printing had given ordinary people a powerful voice.

The printing press fostered the reformation, a religious movement that began in Germany in the
early 1500s. the reformation an effort by some members of the roman catholic church to change
what they saw as wrongful beliefs and activities within the church, resulted in many followers
leaving the catholic church in protest( thus they were protestants) and forming new Christian

Printing was responsible for building and disseminating bodies of knowledge, leading to
scientific and technological development and refinement of new machines

Books in history

The introduction of mass produced books in the 15th century marked a turning point in human
history. Before then, books were handwritten, usually by monks, who copied existing books onto
blank sheets of paper letter by letter, one page at a time.

Gutenberg’s innovation touched off a verifiable communication revolution in the western world.
As the use of the printing press spread, more and more books appeared in the ordinary languages
of the people. Thus, when printing spread, developments in science, philosophy, and religion
slowly became available to almost anyone who was literate and could purchase a book. As
presses and the technology of printing were improved during the 1600s and 1700s, and as paper
became more available, the number of books printed each year mounted.

Books are diverse and hard to characterize in general terms. Some books are sacred, some are
sensational, some eagerly read for pleasure, some are assigned for reading in college courses.
Some publishers publish only books that will sell many copies, whereas others like universities
presses publish books because they think the works are intellectually or artistically important and
ought to be read.

The major categories of book forms or genres include the following; professional books-
reference or professional education books aimed at doctors, lawyers, scientists, researchers,
managers and engineers; elementary, high school, and college books; religious books-bibles,
hymnals and prayer books; subscription and reference books-encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries,
glossaries, and thesauruses, audiovisual and multimedia-videotapes, CD-ROMs

The book industry is bound by many of the same financial and industrial pressures that constrain
other media, but books, more the others, are in a position to transcend those constraints. Books
are seen as powerful cultural force for these reasons;

 Books are agents of social and cultural change

 Books are an important cultural repository
 Books are windows for the past
 Books are important sources of personal development
 Books are wonderful sources of entertainment, escape and personal reflection

Although advances in technology have altered the methods of producing books, the medium has
changed surprisingly little since the nineteenth century. The industry is more commercialized
and larger today. Books today are the most respected medium. They allow the slow, thorough
development of ideas that serious and complex subjects demand. The future of the books thus
seems secure. New media continue to appear, and it is not impossible that books might someday
be obsolete. At present however, the book remains the only form of communication that allows a
topic to be set forth in great detail and great depth. For this reason, the death of books in the near
future is unlikely

History of Newspapers

The trends in Newspaper development reveal key changes in technology, audience composition
and Market structure among others. Dominick J.R (1993:80-84) argues that the changes have
been possible because of three factors; first, the invention of the printing press which simplified
production of more copies quickly, and cheaply. Second, the level of literacy had grown, more
people could read hence make an effective audience, and third, the existence of mass audience or
mass society.

Recently, both in developing and developed countries; the Newspaper is still one of the trusted
mass communication medium probably because of its content being most useful for future
reference as compared to other medium especially electronic. However, the dynamic nature of
the mass audience still poses a great challenge to the future of the Newspaper. Yet, the current
globalization move as it changes various social, cultural and economical structures; has not
spared the newspaper. Developments in technology, up-and-down global economic trends,
dynamic social-cultural values and other factors have greatly influenced the Newspaper market
structure and audience composition. Knowing exactly what entails these changes and the
responsible factors for each of the changes; puts the Newspaper managers and advertisers in a
better position to perform their duties in accordance to the market demand hence satisfy their
atomized audiences.

General trends in the Newspaper development

Human beings exchanged news long before they could write. They spread news by word of
mouth on crossroads, at campfires or at markets. Messengers raced back from battlefields with
reports on victories or defeats. Criers walked through villages announcing births, deaths,
marriages and divorces. Stories of unlikely occurrences spread, in the words of one
anthropological report, "like wildfire" through preliterate societies.

The news therefore, has at one point or another played a part in everyone’s life. Whether it is a
weather report giving flash-flood warnings, information on political campaigns, or an obituary
citing the death of a person make the people crave for it. Until the recent development and
affluence of the Internet as a news source, newspapers have globally been the primary source of
current events.

The technology necessary to print a newspaper is a simple one; ink is pressed onto paper,
however the technology necessary to make the newspaper as a mass medium is more
complicated and it started with the growth of early printing technology.

Many historians suggest that Chinese first invented movable typing machines and also
discovered the process for making paper (Dominick 1993:80). However the invention of the
printing press and the introduction of movable type to the Western world associated with a
German Johannes Gutenberg revolutionalized the printing industry.

The 39-year-old Gutenberg came up with a printing press in 1436, where, by arranging stamps
displaying the letters of the alphabet, one could construct a page of literature to be copied
numerous times. This became known as the Gutenberg Press, one of the greater inventions in the
fifteenth century held. Although a giant improvement from hand copying, this method still
required the re-arrangement of the letters each time a new copy was to be printed.

According to Dominick (ibid), the bulk of early printed work consisted of books and religious
tracts. As more books were printed, more people turned to education and their uncertainties
expanded. With education more people became curious about how they lived, how others lived
and how their government was run. Merchants and business people realized that knowledge of
economic conditions and commercial information from other towns and other countries could be
beneficial to their own efforts.

For centuries, civilizations have used print media to spread news and information to the masses.
The Roman Acta Diurna, appearing around 59 B.C, is the earliest recorded “newspaper”. Julius
Caesar, wanting to inform the public about important social and political happenings, ordered
upcoming events posted in major cities. Written on large white boards and displayed in popular
places like the Baths, the Acta kept citizens informed about government scandals, military
campaigns, trials and executions. In 8th century in China, the first newspapers appeared as hand-
written newssheets in Beijing

Rome had a particularly sophisticated system for circulating written news, centered on the daily
handwritten news sheets, which were posted by the government in the Roman Forum from the
year 59 B.C. to at least A.D. 222 and which were filled with news of such subjects as political
happenings, trials, scandals, military campaigns and executions.

China, too, had early government-produced news sheets, called the tipao, which were first,
circulated among officials during the Han dynasty (202 B.C. to A.D. 221) and was printed at
some point during the T'ang dynasty (618 to 906). (Mitchel Stephen found in Collier’s

The early newspapers were generally printed in one of the two formats: in the style of the Dutch
papers, or "corantos," in which the reports were packed densely only two or perhaps four pages;
or the style of the early German weeklies, which were pamphlets in which the news was spread
over eight to twenty-four pages. The various English publishers, including Butter and Bourne,
who sometimes competed but often worked together on series of early English newspapers, first
used the Dutch style, but switched to the German style by 1622.

News items in these early newspapers were still printed pretty much as they came into the print
shop. News of a battle in the Thirty Years War, which was then raging on the Continent, might
appear under the name of Vienna, Frankfort or Prague or any other of the handful of cities in
which it might have found its way into a letter or a newspaper that in turn found its way to that
print shop. A newspaper might report under one date that a city was under siege and then under
another date that it had fallen. It was a system of journalism that was easy on printers but not on
readers. One of the first attempts to change this system, to actually edit stories into more readable
narratives, was made in London.

In Holland, printers began turning out to the “corantos” or current of news, around 1620. They
spread to Britain where news about the thirty years war was in great demand. These early
forerunners of the newspaper carried mainly foreign and commercial news.

The corantos later was replaced by the diurnals, daily reports of domestic and local events
usually concerned with the doings of the King and parliament. Some five centuries ago in
Europe, merchants would distribute newsletters written by hand containing information
regarding the weather, economic conditions, wars and human-interest stories.

Although this was the first known form of distributed written information, the country accredited
with the creation of the first newspaper is Germany. In the late fifteenth century, a cross between
a brochure and a pamphlet was dispersed among the people, the text containing highly
sensationalized stories along with description of the current news events.

The Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, was the first newspaper published in
America, printed by Richard Pierce, and edited by Benjamin Harris in 1690. It filled only 3
sheets of paper measuring six by ten inches, the equivalent of filling half of the front page of a
newspaper today (14" x 23"). The paper had intended to be issued once a month. It was later
discontinued because of writing contents which were against the ruling authority.

The sudden discontinuation of “Publick Occurrences” would mean the last news offered to
Americans for the next few years. Instead, newspapers published in London were read even
though the "first true newspaper in English was the London Gazette, published four years later in

The fact that newspapers had been so scarce in Europe, America, and many other continents was
due to many factors. To find a literate audience was not an easy task after Europe was emerging
from the black age. Paper was extremely expensive, and hard to come across, and the task of
printing was long and laborious, because it was primitive. The latter was still a problem even
with the invention of the printing press in 1436.

In 1704, the Boston News letter was published by John Campbell the local postmaster and it
contained only one advertisement. This was produced weekly and continued to be so even when
William Brooker was appointed Postmaster to replace Campbell. Campbell refused to authorize
the use of the title "News-Letter" to anyone else so Brooker called his newspaper the "Boston

Seven months later, Philip Musgrave was awarded the position of Postmaster in Boston and
replaced Brooker. At this time, James Franklin, the printer of the Gazette, was also replaced. He
wanted to start his own newspaper even though friends and family dissuaded him from doing so
by telling him that Boston already had a sufficient number of newspapers.

Despite this, Franklin went ahead and published his own newspaper, the New England Courant.
The first issue was printed on August 19, 1721 making it the fourth newspaper published in
America. (Dominick 1993) Later other papers were started as competition grew. Most of them
were partisan, siding with the colonies while others tried to steer middle ground. This period saw
the establishment of the political press, which openly supported a particular party, faction or

The political press 1790-1830: The politicization of newspaper did not end with American
victory in the revolutionary war. Partisan leaning of the press was transferred into another arena,
the debate over the powers of the federal government. Newspapers grew with the country in the
first twenty years of the new century. The daily newspaper began in 1783; further several
newspapers arose in response to the needs and interests of minority groups.
Penny press: In the early 1800's the development of continuous rolls of paper enhanced the
original Gutenberg Press as did a steam-powered press and a way to use iron instead of wood for
building presses. This added efficiency of printing made the prices of printed goods more
reasonable hence the term "penny press".

This phrase originated when newspaperman Benjamin Day dropped the price of his New York
Sun to a penny-a copy in 1833. Here the development in technology affected the newspaper
market structure and historians have accredited the "penny press" as the first true mass medium.

Day’s paper was daily and sold for a penny a comparable reduction to other dailies that were
selling for six cents. At this time major changes in journalism that were prompted by the success
of the mass press during the 1833-1860 period resulted to changes such as the basis of economic
support for newspapers (advertising ) that led to avoiding the over reliance to subscription
revenue and street sales.

The penny press proved that a low-priced paper, edited to interest ordinary people as its audience
composition, could win what amounted to a mass circulation for the times and thereby attract an
advertising volume that would make it independent. This was the beginning of changes in the
Newspaper marketing structure as influenced by the demographic and psychological factors of
its target audience.

Yellow journalism: though much known for sensationalized journalism, it brought positive
features in the news writing; in the first place it brought enthusiasm, energy and verve to the
practice of journalism along with aggressive reporting and investigative stories. It further
brought wide exposure to prominent authors. Yellow journalism helped popularize the use of
layout and display devices such as banners, headlines, pictures, color printing that would go on
to characterize modern journalism and human interest stories.

The origin of Linotype marked significant advancements in the history of printing. This was a
method of creating movable type by machine instead of by hand. This was introduced in 1884
and marked a significant leap in production speed. In terms of the use of computers in the field
of printing, especially newspapers, the progression is unbelievable. From the first daisy-wheel
and dot matrix "impact" printers to common use of the non-impact printers: ink-jet, laser and
thermal-transfer, printing presses are on the brink of becoming a thing of the past.
Other changes included the patterns of newspaper distribution; definition of what constituted
news and the techniques of news collection after the invention of telegraphy in 1844. In the early
years of the newspaper, editors obtained most of their news simply by waiting for the post to
bring out-of-town newspapers or letters, waiting for someone to stop by with an interesting piece
they might have heard from a traveler at a tavern.

News gathering efforts were more advanced in London. The first major breakthrough came
when, in the late eighteenth century, newspapers gained the right to send observers to sit in the
gallery in Parliament. No note-taking was permitted in those years. There emerged a number of
reporters in different Newspapers of the time, and a kind of competitive market structure was
being established in the Newspaper industry.

Initially, William "Memory" Woodfall, editor of the Morning Chronicle, was the most successful
in writing accounts of the debates, but soon James Perry, one of England's most enterprising
journalists, outdid Woodfall by sending teams of reporters to cover the debates in relays.
Reporters in the gallery were finally permitted to take notes in 1783, making knowledge of
shorthand the crucial qualification for the job.

News from police court became a staple of the early penny papers. As the circulations of these
penny papers grew, editors were able to hire additional reporters. The Herald sent one reporter to
cover the Mexican War in the 1840s; it sent 63 reporters to cover the Civil War in the 1860s.

However, the most dramatic improvement in the speed, breadth and reliability of news coverage
came with Samuel Morse's invention of the telegraph. Newspapers became the major customers
of the telegraph companies, and the cost of telegraph transmissions led to the formation of wire
services like the Associated Press (AP), which was founded as a cooperative venture by New
York newspapers in 1848. That year, Bennett's Herald boasted that it printed "ten columns of
highly important news received by electric telegraph" in a single issue.

The telegraph for the first time enabled newspapers to fill their pages with news that happened
yesterday in cities hundreds, then thousands of miles away. With the successful completion of a
transatlantic cable in 1866, American newspapers could suddenly print news from Europe with
similar promptness.
According to Berlo David K. (1960: 98) between 1865 and 1900, the dynamic capitalism of an
expanding America, utilizing vast natural resources and the new machines of the industrial
revolution, transformed the economy, industrialization, mechanization and urbanization brought
extensive social, cultural and political changes: the rise of the city, improved transportation and
communication, education advances, political unrest and the rise of extensive labor.

Berlo David K. (ibid) writes that the mass media could not fail to go through great changes along
with the society they served. In the world of newspapers, the era is known as that of the new
journalism a designation used by people who lived through that time to describe the activities of
the master editor of the period, Joseph Pulitzer. The newspapers that were low priced,
entertaining and objective in basic hard news, supported social and economic reform.

Newspapers in the 20th century operated on mass production where centralization and
consolidation was already noticeable in the railroad, grocery, and hotel and department store
industries. Further the innovation in printing- linotype machines, high speed presses engraving
plants, which meant that purchases of new equipment were inventible.

The 1920s era were known as the jazz age, and the papers that catered to a new group of readers
won the dubious honor of being identified as jazz journalism. Their sensationalism was
accompanied by the two identifying techniques of the period: the tabloid format and great
emphasis on photography (Berlo, 1960).

After the Second World War 1945-1969, economic forces continued to shape the American
newspaper industry. Some trends of the postwar period were created by advances in print and
electronic technologies, but others had begun even before the war, for instance, the post war
economy forced the newspaper industry to move even further in the direction of contraction and

In the late 1960s, the literature of the mass media began to herald a new journalism that
borrowed the title of the innovations of the 1880s. Its reportorial and writing techniques were
variously described as tell-it-as-you-see-it, impressionistic, saturation, humanistic, investigative
and even interpretive.
The trend merely reflected the widespread frustration of the era and demand that the conservative
establishment give heed and power to others. Earlier, such writing techniques were not in great
use and didn’t matter as a format in newspaper writing.

Another trend was the competition among media for advertising revenue; however the rising
television industry cut significantly into the print media national advertising revenue. The
newspaper had to change their marketing strategies so as to sustain their revenue base from
advertisement and circulation income from the audience.

Invention of a software called Aldus page maker in the 1970’s allowed news organization and
individuals to design and layout pages electronically with greater use than had previously been
the case.

According to DeFleur M. L and Dennis E.E (2002) the system was developed by a newspaper
and computer company executive, Paul Brainerd, who later become branded the father of
Desktop publishing. Due to these developments and the introduction of offset printing process,
many individuals and organizations developed their own highly professional newspapers.

Desktop publishing was a simplified method of creating type and laying out pages, it has recently
come into wide use on both daily and weekly newspapers. The system consists of one or more
personal computers, some specialized software for layout, and a laser printer. Far cheaper that
other typesetting equipment, it enables publishers to produce small newspapers profitably even
in markets with limited advertising potential.

In further developments, when newspapers adapted to radio they were forced to reevaluate
themselves in light of a new and more powerful medium: television. Between 1940 and 1990,
newspaper circulation in America dropped from one newspaper for every two adults to one for
every three adults. Despite this sharp decline, television’s omnipresence did not render the
newspaper obsolete. Some newspapers, like USA Today, responded to the technological
advancements by using color and by utilizing the “short, quick and to the point” stories that are
usually featured on television.

Dominick (1993:111) writes that newspapers have moved into the last half of the 20th century,
several trends in their content were apparent. Most obvious was a change in newspaper
typography and layout all with the ultimate goal of making the modern newspaper easier to read.
Photography and color were being used more liberally and many papers showed a willingness to
depart from the typical eight column format that has been the traditional.

Newspapers have moved beyond their traditional news coverage formula emphasizing politics,
crime and tragedy. They examine social issues and devote space to articles concerning the
personal lives, health and needs of their readers or audience.

Many papers are carrying more of what might be called feature stories. Sections entitled, life,
lifestyle, living and leisure are becoming more common, as papers are blended moreof these
materials with their hard news. Also the issue of having various editions for different regions
came into the picture. This blending of news content makes it possible to reach and cater for
various audience needs and wants.

Trends of Newspaper development in Kenya

According to Odero, M. and Kamweru, E. (2000:28-37) the early Christian missionaries are
generally credited with introducing the first “newspapers” in Kenya in the late years of the 19th
century. These pioneer missionaries, in the course of spreading the gospel, transcribed, translated
and documented inprint the oral stories, proverbs and songs of the natives among whom they

The earliest documented regular publication in Kenya was Taveta Chronicle, first published in
1895 by the Reverend Albert Stegal of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). The Chronicle
was circulated among Europeans in the local area and also shipped to interested individuals in
Britain. The first English language weekly was the Leader of British East Africa and Uganda
Mail, a paper that identified closely with settler interests and was published in Mombasa from
August 1899 to August 1904.

Upcountry, the Fort Ternan Times was published briefly in 1905 in the Kericho area, targeting
settlers, soldiers and railways staff. In 1916 the Anglican Church launched Lenga Juu (Aim to
Heaven) in Rabai, near Mombasa while Catholic Diocese of Nyeri started Wathiomo Mukinyu
(The true friend).
The first English newspaper published in Nairobi- in 1905- was the Nairobi News, which styled
itself “the Planters’ Paper” in salute to its staunch pro-settler stance. It soon folded and onto
scene came the Times of East Africa a year later. Next was the weekly Nairobi Star, followed by
the Advertiser which lasted two years before going bust in 1906.

With many English publications voicing the European concerns, other interest groups had to find
their own public voice. Consequently and Indian and African press sprung up. Such papers
included Gujerati, The Indian Voice for Indians, the East African Chronicles.

Also local publications sprang up, such paper included one inspired by the Kikuyu Central
Association (KCA), Tangazo edited by Harry Thuku. In the 1920s and 30s, Thuku’s Tangazo
and KCA’s Muigwithania (1928) edited by Jomo Kenyatta were part of a steadily growing
alternative voice to the official government point of view.

With the onset of the Second World War, apparently aware that as in 1918, former African
soldiers would return from the war more enlightened and agitate for their people’s rights, the
colonial government once again began producing newspaper specifically for Africans. And so
Baraza arrived in September 1939, the Swahili weekly replaced another government Department
of Information Swahili weekly, Habari za Vita (War News) that was in circulation during the war
years. (Odero, M. and Kamweru, E. ibid)

When the political temperature rose at the dawn of the 1950s, with African and Indian discontent
fuelled further the need to have more newspapers to propagate their concerns during the blatantly
discriminative policies of the colonial regime.

As the crisis of the emergency and the war against the Mau Mau freedom fighters eased off in
the late 1950s, the government conceded to limited political activity among the Africans. The
district political associations that emerged launched their mouthpiece publications notably, the
Uhuru, Sauti Ya Mwafrika, Hundwe, Mfanyi Kazi among others.

Of the mainstream publications, The Standard stands as the oldest still running newspaper. It
began life in Mombasa in 1902 as The African Standard, the brainchild of Alibhai Mulla
Jeevanjee, an Indian Parsee merchant who ventured into the newspaper world by investing part
of a fortune he made on a contract he made supplying the construction of the Uganda railway.
He employed an expatriate editor for his publication which was targeting primarily civil servants
and businessmen in the coastal town (Mombasa) that in the turn of the 20th century was the
capital of Kenya.

In 1905, he sold it to Rudolf E Mayer and A.G.W Anderson who renamed it the East African
Standard. One of the first non-European publications to oppose colonial politics was the East
African Chronicle (1919) of industrialist and democrat, Manilal Ambalal Desai. Desai attacked
colonial discrimination against both Asians and Africans, thereby setting the spark for inclusive
political activism that saw him join forces with individuals who would emerge as the pioneers of
Kenya’s independent struggle in the likes of Harry Thuku, Jomo Kenyatta, Achieng Oneko and
all who went to launch their own publications and newspapers. (Odero, M. and Kamweru, E.
ibid) Desai’s Chronicle was the mouthpiece of the East African Indian National Congress of
which he was president.

The Daily Nation started life in 1958 as Taifa – The Nation, owned by the East African Press
Exchange Ltd BBC correspondent and ex-civil servant Charles Hayes and Althea Tebbut. Taifa-
The Nation fitted the basics of the kind of press investment the Aga Khan wanted to make. He
bought Hayes’ interest and renamed the new company East African Newspapers (Nation Series).
Aga Khan also gained the distinction of being the first in

Africa, to introduce a state of the art printing press and prepress production technology at the

The paper was actually launched on March 20th 1960 as the weekly Sunday Nation. The Daily
Nation was launched in October the same year, and later followed by the country’s first Swahili
daily, Taifa Leo.

Advanced production technology also gave the pioneer tabloid format Daily Nation various
advantages over The Standard which appeared slow to respond to changing times. The Nation
attracted more readership because it was now more presentable and attractive with content that
appealed to the audience needs.
During independence in 1963, Kenyan leaders were optimistic that the political freedom would
be useful to Kenyans in mapping their own destiny, especially in regard to the freedom of the
press, which had been inhibited by colonialists. The euphoria of the day propelled the
circulation of the Nation group of newspapers

Daily Nation, Sunday Nation and Taifa Leo, which were judged by readers to be sympathetic
to nationalists aspirations while lights were dimming at the then East African Standard, regarded
as pro-colonial newspaper along with its dynamic Swahili edition- Baraza.

Until early 1960s, East African Standard was the dominant mainstream newspaper. The Nation
Group took advantage of this euphoria and in a rush, in 1960, launched three newspapers in a
span of three years. Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan, it has grown to become the biggest
newspaper group in East and Central Africa and one of the most successful on the continent.

The success of the Nation Group could be attributed partly to technological innovation which led
Nation newspaper to be among the first newspapers outside of North America to utilize
phototypesetting systems. It has updated this equipment over the years, phasing out hot metal
and eventually embracing computerized direct input. The original press was replaced in 1972
with Michle Gross-Dexter Urbanite rotary press capable of printing 40,000 newspaper copies an
hour and enabling the use of full color for news photos and advertisements. (Odero, M. and
Kamweru, E. ibid)

Currently there are more technological advancements in the Nation Media Group, its production
capacity has increased tremendously, and circulations are much expanded as compared with the
past years. On November 7, 1994 the Nation Newspapers Limited launched a weekly regional
newspaper, The East African, to cater for the expanding business and political interests of
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The up market 36-page size paper is released every Sunday.

Newspaper in the digital Era

As digital technology beckoned, the newspaper industry worldwide has also changed and
adopted the latest technology. Use of computers and the Internet via the World Wide Web
(WWW), many newspapers companies embarked on production of online and digital editions of
their papers. Initially, online newspapers were free but as reported by Dominick J. (2005:95), the
era of free news is rapidly coming to an end.

Key development changes

Online newspaper, just like print newspaper, gathers, evaluate and organize information. What
differentiates online newspaper from the print newspaper is the way it distributes the product to
the audience. The paper is transmitted digitally to computers and handheld wireless media unlike
the print newspaper which rely on ink, paper, printing presses and vans for distribution.

The Newspaper through this mode has no limitation on the amount of the news, can be updated
continuously and it is also interactive with its audience. Dominick J. (ibid) writes, the paper has
no page numbers and pages are not split into columns, and have no top or bottom parts unlike the
print one. The text font for the online newspaper also differs from the print ones. He further
clearly indicate that in 1994, 20 daily newspapers had websites worldwide while in 2000, over
1100 were online

In Kenya the Nation Media and The Standard Group have extensive online newspapers that are
updated continuously. On the other hand digital edition of newspaper is not the same as the
online one. Ordinarily digital edition contains same content as that in the print newspaper but in
a format that can be read in a computer screen.

Since wireless connections to the internet have become possible with the introduction of digital
technology, it has equally become easier for many people to access newspapers in their handheld
information devices. These devises include cell phones, personal digital assistant (PDAs) and
even laptops and palmtops. Some newspaper companies even deliver video and audio clips to
some subscribers with special digital assistants.

Many optimists in information and communication technology (ICT) foresee a situation where
newspaper will be sending news to even tablet PCs, a device only weighing three pounds, and is
an inch thick and the size of a sheet of a regular letter paper. This is supported by Freidman T.
(2006) that it is a great indicator on how invention of handheld devices or steroids is likely to
change the access and reading of newspapers. Expectations are high that the gadgets will
improve the economic situation in the world because potential buyers can access the
advertisements in their phones while they are in their purchasing spots.

History and Development of Radio Technologies

Radio is the transmission of signals by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies
below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating
electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space. Information is carried
by systematically changing (modulating) some property of the radiated waves, such as
amplitude, frequency, phase, or pulse width. When radio waves pass an electrical conductor, the
oscillating fields induce an alternating current in the conductor. This can be detected and
transformed into sound or other signals that carry information.

Originally, radio or radiotelegraphy was called "wireless telegraphy", which was shortened to
"wireless" by the British. The prefix radio- in the sense of wireless transmission, was first
recorded in the word radio conductor, coined by the French physicist Édouard Branly in 1897
and based on the verb to radiate (in Latin "radius" means "spoke of a wheel, beam of light, ray").
"Radio" as a noun is said to have been coined by the advertising expert Waldo Warren (White
1944). This word also appears in a 1907 article by Lee De Forest, was adopted by the United
States Navy in 1912 and became common by the time of the first commercial broadcasts in the
United States in the 1920s. (The noun "broadcasting" itself came from an agricultural term,
meaning "scattering seeds widely".) The term was then adopted by other languages in Europe
and Asia. British Commonwealth countries continued to mainly use the term "wireless" until the
mid 20th century, though the magazine of the BBC in the UK has been called Radio Times ever
since it was first published in the early 1920s.

In recent years the term "wireless" has gained renewed popularity through the rapid growth of
short-range computer networking, e.g., Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), WiFi, and
Bluetooth, as well as mobile telephony, e.g., GSM and UMTS. Today, the term "radio" often
refers to the actual transceiver device or chip, whereas "wireless" refers to the system and/or
method used for radio communication, hence one talks about radio transceivers and Radio
Frequency Identification (RFID), but about wireless devices and wireless sensor networks.
The early history of radio is the history of technology that produced radio instruments that use
radio waves. Within the timeline of radio, many people contributed theory and inventions in
what became radio. Radio development began as "wireless telegraphy". Later radio history
increasingly involves matters of programming and content.

Who Invented the Radio?

In the history of radio and development of "wireless telegraphy", several people are claimed to
have "invented the radio" leading to a great radio controversy. The most commonly accepted
claims are:

 Jagadish Chandra Bose

 Guglielmo Marconi, who equipped ships with life-saving wireless communications,
conducted a reported transatlantic radio communications experiments in 1901 and
established the first commercial transatlantic radio service in 1907.
 Alexander Stepanovich Popov
 Nikola Tesla, who developed means to reliably produce radio frequency currents,
publicly demonstrated the principles of radio, and transmitted long distance signals. In
1943 the US Supreme Court upheld Tesla's patent number U.S. Patent 645,576.

The reason it is not obvious who invented radio is that the technology is a product of many
different discoveries and developments.

Various scientists proposed that electricity and magnetism, both capable of causing attraction
and repulsion of objects, were linked. In 1802 Gian Domenico Romagnosi suggested the
relationship between electric current and magnetism, but his reports went unnoticed. In 1820
Hans Christian Ørsted performed a widely known experiment on man-made electric current and
magnetism. He demonstrated that a wire carrying a current could deflect a magnetized compass
needle. Ørsted's experiments discovered the relationship between electricity and magnetism in a
very simple experiment. Ørsted's work influenced André-Marie Ampère to produce a theory of
electromagnetism. During its early development and long after wide use of the technology,
disputes persisted as to who could claim sole credit for this obvious boon to mankind. Closely
related, radio was developed along with two other key inventions, the telegraph and the

Growth of Broadcasting in Kenya


English radio broadcasting begun in 1928. The broadcasts targeted white settlers who monitored
news from their home and other parts of the world. The first radio broadcasts targeting Africans
came during the 2nd World War to inform parents and relatives of African soldiers what was
happening at the war front.

In 1953, the first broadcast service was created for Africans. African Broadcasting Services
carried programmes in Kiswahili, Dholuo, Kikuyu, Kinandi, Kiluhya, Kikamba and Arabic.

1954: Formation of the Kenya Broadcasting Services (KBS)

In 1954, the Kenya Broadcasting Services (KBS) was established. Regional stations were set up
in Mombasa (Sauti ya Mvita), Nyeri (Mount Kenya Station) and Kisumu (Lake Station).

1959: Formation of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

In 1959 the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation was established by the British colonial
administration with the objective of providing radio and television broadcasting. This was based
on a proposal for the formation of a public corporation on the advantages and disadvantages of a
television service for Kenya, and the impact of such a service on radio broadcasting by the Proud

Between 1959 and 1961, based on the Proud Commission's recommendations, the colonial
administration contracted a consortium of eight companies to build and operate a television
service. The consortium, cognizant of the irreversible developments towards Kenya's political
independence, created the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation as an autonomous public
organization. The idea was to have the corporation wield as much independence as the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). By the end of 1962, a transmission station and recording
studio had been set up, and television was officially launched the following year.

Between 1964 and 1990, television and radio were owned and controlled by the state, and the
two media exercised great caution in reporting politically-sensitive news. During this period,
several attempts were made to move away from the broadcasting system set up. The Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting replaced annual license fees with a one-time permit fee, and the
drive for commercial self-sustenance was replaced by a politically-inspired initiative for
increased local content and a sharper nationalistic outlook. The objective was elusive, however,
as the VoK television was only able to achieve a 40% local programming content by the mid-
1980s against the target of 70% local content. Television also failed to become an authoritative
national medium: studies in 1985 showed that only 17% of electronic media audience regarded
television as the best source of information, compared to 86% who rated radio as their prime
news source.

Several reasons were advanced for poor performance of television. Besides being a preserve of
the educated minority in the country, the spread of ownership of television sets was severely
curtailed by the poor penetration of the national electrical power grid. Even worse was the poor
transmission the country received from the 55 small transmission and booster stations, whose
weak signals generally cover small areas or are constrained by the country's rugged topography.
As such, household audiences have been growing mainly within the major urban areas, or near
large rural centers served by electricity and near a booster station.

1964: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation renamed Voice of Kenya (VoK)

Following her independence in 1963, Kenya decided to nationalize KBC in June 1964 and
renamed it Voice of Kenya (VoK) as a department under the Ministry of Information,
Broadcasting and Tourism.

Its new role, as the government mouthpiece, was to provide information, education and
entertainment. And while the government adopted a capitalist approach to economic
development which embraced private sector participation in all areas of the economy and even
welcomed participation in a number of electronic broadcasting activities, private ownership of
broadcasting concerns was disallowed as the government worried about the threat to national
sovereignty posed by the foreign ownership of the broadcasting apparatus.

In 1970, a new television station opened in Mombasa to relay programmes and produce local
dramas, music, cultural and other programmes.

In 1978, Kenya television transitioned to color.

1989, Voice of Kenya renamed Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

In 1989, the VoK was renamed Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and accorded semi-autonomous
status founded on the premise that it would adopt a more commercial-oriented stance. Although
the corporation unveiled grandiose plans to expand news coverage and improve local
programming content, it was unable to chart out an independent editorial position, and is still
widely seen as a part of the government propaganda machinery. Some progress has however
been made in increased weekly on-air periods, and enhancement of color transmission. Until the
early 1990s, the corporation relied on cheap but time-consuming air-mail services for the supply
of foreign news footage even though the country was serviced by Intelsat. Since 1994, the
corporation has been re-transmitting large chunks of the BBC World Service Television several
nights per week.

The Liberalization of the Broadcasting Sector

The gradual liberalization of broadcasting sector began in the late 1989 when the government
licensed the privately‐owned Kenya Television Network (KTN) to broadcast in Nairobi.

 In July 1990, Stellagraphics Ltd (STV) was licensed to broadcast television signals in
Nairobi but started broadcasting in 1996
 In 1995, Capital FM became the first private FM station to be licensed by the
The liberalization has resulted in a vibrant broadcasting industry in Kenya, particularly in the
areas of FM sound and TV broadcasting. Subsequently, the demand for broadcasting frequencies
has outstripped the frequency availability, especially in urban areas.

By 30th April 2007, over 110 television channels and 264 FM frequencies had been assigned
countrywide to 23 TV and 62 FM sound broadcasters.

KBC also operates a national network on AM Medium Wave sound

According to the Ministry of Information and Communication, there are currently over 25 TV
transmitters in Kenya.