Book Review
Media Monolith
by Mark Tungate,2004,pp 260

Worldwide,newspapers seem to be growing in strength.Says the World Association of Newspapers(WAN) that in spite of the TV,the Internet and other digital distribution channels, it is the print media,the newspapers that has reported sales growth of 2.3 per cent last year.And more interestingly,it is India and China that are the growing market for newspapers.India is the world’s second largest market for newspapers after China.In India 88.9 million copies sold daily.Seven of the best selling dailies of the world are published in Asia while China,Japan and India account for 60 of the top 100 newspapers in developing markets.But we don’t know which are the titles that are best rated from India.While we know for sure what are the best newspaper brands in the Western markets.Here is a brief survey.
Newspapers of the world have a very interesting history.Newspapers serve to inform the public about news and developments in the countries and the world and also help to shape public opinion.
In this world newspapers have a varied story pattern.In India too we have newspapers that were started during the British regime and also newspapers started to fight for freedom
Newspapers and the journalists are now seen as part of any modern democracy,even in dictatorships newspapers played a role.
Even now,press freedoms highly rated and also highly suppressed even in democracies like USA.
In India we have a fairly free press and there are individual journalist heroes.Press freedom is vital but it is not easy to define.Anyway,now the newspapers face a threat from the multi-TV news channels,though experts predict about the decline of newspapers.This is the one more reason why newspapers are also seen as highly identical to national identities.Entry of foreign newspapers are also highly restricted for newspapers have to promote a peoples freedoms and also protect their national and local cultures and certain traditional values.

The world’s great newspapers make a fascinating study.All the modern countries that are known and influential in the world are known for their economic and cultural attainments.The cultural attainments of a people are reflected, in my opinion, in the newspapers they read.
Here is a brief survey of the world’s great newspapers.The London based Times is certainly the most famous and the most ancient,it was founded in 1785.
If London became famous ,one reason is the famous Fleet Street.To walk down the street even now is an education and a source of much enlightenment.Every step on the road you tread upon some famed name or other in the newspaper business.There is the famed bar,El Vino’s where famous journalists used to meet and exchange gossip and the street today is deserted for in 1986,The Times was bought by an Australian media Moghul and he moved the press to nearby Wapping when he wanted to introduce modern technology and this was resisted by the powerful print unions.
Now,The Times is very much a changed format,it is printed in tabloid form and style.I stopped reading The Times soon after I left Oxford and for old time’s sake whenever I am in the British council library I just give a glimpse at the paper.That is all.
Britain is a nation of famous newspapers,so many of them,The Telegraph,The Guardian,Financial Times and the Observer and many.Guardian is still widely read all over the world,through its weekly edition and the Financial Times(FT)is a byword for quality writing,high-minded in many ways,the elite’s newspaper and it covers besides business and economics,arts,books and in-depth intellectual articles.A treasure is its weekend edition.
Britons are great newspaper readers,they read and read and read!All sorts of newspapers.
That is why they are also reliable ,rather competent opinion makers.You have all the best talents that are brought to this business,academics,writers and freelancers who are adventurous and they travel and write with so much knowledge,authority and insight.
Americans are also great newspaper producers and readers.The most influential are the New York Times,The Wall Street Journal and International Herald Tribune.Tribune is published from Paris and when I was in Paris this became my daily staple for it is the only English newspaper to be published from the French capital.It is based just off the avenue Charles de Gaulle,just near Arc de Triomphe.It is now owned by the New York Times and it was started in Paris in 1887!The founder who also founded the New York herald in 1835 had his son and wife based in Paris for some reason.That triggered the thought of bringing out a publication from Paris,for the cosmopolitan class.Now,the Washington Post and New York Times are the co-owners.The paper is the most advanced technology-drive paper and is printed at 21 different print sites and distributed to 186 countries across four continents.There is now an Indian edition printed and distributed from Hyderabad.American readers make up only third of the readership.It is a truly international-minded newspaper,one can say.More than 25 different nationalities work,Americans,British,French,Swiss and so on.Now,it is getting partners in many countries and there are these co-branded IHTs in different countries,from Greece to Japan!The circulation today is 90,000 copies.
The New York Times
This is the world’s biggest newspaper.It is more than 100 years old.It celebrated its centenary in 1951.The owners family name is Sulzberger,the current chairman is the great grandson of the founder. There was a controversy about its practice of printing second hand news as original and that led to lots of controversies and the paper’s reputation was save by it appointing the first”public editor” to protect readers interests,a practice now followed by many newspapers and also in India.
New York Times readers are not average Americans,they are well-educated,likely to have post-graduate degrees and a household income of more than USdollars 75,000.That is a very unknown piece of news!It claims to maintain its position of credibility,authority and trust.But we have a different version from a veteran Indian journalist who was based in New York and Washington for long,namely,Mr.M.V.Kamath of the PTI and later Times of India.Kamath says how biased the American newspapers could be and he cites his own instances when the India-Pakistan debate was going on at Security Council when the New York Times published the full text of the highly biased version of the Pakistani rep while the Indian reply was condensed in one and half column!
El Pais,the great Spanish newspaper
Mark Tungate,the author of the book,Media Monoliths,says that that in common with Corriere della Sera in Italy,El Pais is a product of political and cultural upheaval.
The paper was launched on 4 May 1976.After the dictator Franco died in 1975,there were lots of political changes,political reforms,the socialists came to power,there was a counter-revolution and against the background the leftist newspaper,El Pais fed a hunger for democracy and modernity(page 115).It is a symbol of contemporary Spain,says the author.It is printed in several places,inside and outside Spain and it reaches a wider world of Spanish peaking people in Europe and Latin America.It faces competition from a rival, El Mundo,launched in 1989,attracting younger readership.El Pais runs TV ads in an aggressive manner and the media is highly politicized in Spain and also the TV,it seems.So,it is an intensively competitive game,the business of publishing newspapers in Spain.El Pais circulation is about 4 lakh and odd thousand copies.
Die Zeit-the great German newspaper

It is a weekly,anutie Zeit! Heavy publication,serious and severe!It has won plaudits from the US based Society for New Design.This is now a newspaper and has three editors,one is the former Chancellor of Germany.It was founded by one courage lady ,an aristocrat and the newspaper represents the anti-Hitler resistance and the newspaper is a German institution now.It is almost like the UK’s Economist magazine.It reached a circulation of 500,000 and yet it is not appealing to the”Fun Generation”.It runs several innovative promotion activities like ,say,Die Zeit live where it invites people to a reading by Gunter Grass or a debate with editors and the Opposition leader,then,the current
Chancellor,Angela Merkel!e
This magazine is worth following for it gives Germany and its intellectual,cultural and moral tones its serious outlet.
Corriere della Sera
The Italian famous newspaper of 125 years old!Founded in 1876,just after 15 years of the modern Italy’s birth,the newspaper is Italian history’s reflection.It is produced from Milan,the country’s financial powerhouse.Milan is also the cultural capital,the famed La Scala,Italy’s great opera house is in Milan and thus Corriere reflects the Italian economic,cultural and intellectual wealth.The famous journalist,Oriana Fallaci was a journalist on this paper and it was she who first interviewed Ayatollah Khomeini.Every other famous Italian writer has appeared on the pages of this journal.The newspaper is concentrated in Milan where it sells 25 per cent of its production, 50 per cent in Lombardy and in other places it drops to a second position to rival Republica.An 125 year reputation is not an ordinary thing and it is an image of what Italy is all about.
French newspapers
Liberation,it is located at the place de la Republoque in Paris and it is a child of the French revolution and though born at a different period of history,it is a campion of individual rights.It celebrated its 30th anniversary recently.It was launched in 1971,but it grew out of the students revolution year of 1968.This tabloid type newspaper was created by none other than the Marxist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre,the existentialist philosopher.This was also the period that gave the world,among other things,the French New Wave cinema.
Liberation is not the only French newspaper.There is the most famous and serious Le Monde,selling 361,000 copies,Ouest France, selling 764,000 copies a day.There are others,equally good and influential like Le Nouvel Observateur,L’Express and Le Point.The English love and read their newspapers,while the French love to read their magazines,says one observer.The rebellious students of 1968 mutated into as ‘ Bobos’,bourgeois bohemians.They are property owners with money and families.

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