News reporting in Nigeria (Naija) has a long and interesting history, local print media (newspapers, magazines, etc) were first published when a missionary, Rev. Henry Townsend established Nigeria’s first printing press in 1854 to publish church news and events. The press went on to publish Nigeria’s first newspaper called “Iwe Irohin Fun Awon Ara Egba Ati Yoruba” or “Iwe Irohin” in short form in November, 1859 which is 159 years ago.
Iwe Irohin was published twice a month and was priced at 120 cowries equal to one penny and had a circulation of approximately three thousand at the time. The newspaper published church news & activities, cotton and cocoa statistics and the latest happenings in Abeokuta. As early as 1860, the newspaper was making money from advertisements from local companies and government agencies. It was first printed solely in Yoruba language and an English version was established in 1867. The printing press was however burnt down in 1867 after the Egba people expelled the Europeans from their land.
Nigeria’s second newspaper was called Anglo-African and it was founded by Robert Campbell, it was published in Lagos , after these first two others such as Lagos Times, West African Pilot (founded by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to help with the fight for independence) and Gold Coast Colony Advertiser were established.
Soon after Nigeria’s independence in 1960, several other newspapers were established such as Punch, Sun, Daily Trust, Vanguard and many more which are still in circulation today.
Online Newspapers in Nigeria
With the advent of the internet, many physical processes changed and news reporting was not left out. Existing newspaper companies such as Vanguard, Punch and others took their news online and thus provide the latest breaking news across politics, business, sports and more at the click of a button without the need to pay for physical papers daily and without having to wait for the next day before seeing events currently happening.
While the internet is an easier and better platform for users, newspaper companies seem to generate far less income online than they do with physical papers due to the free nature of internet news. The internet also enabled hitherto unknown journalists and web loggers (Bloggers) establish news websites and blogs as the startup and running costs are far lower than setting up a physical newspaper printing press.
Some of the successful new online newspapers and blogs include Nairaland run by Oluwaseun Osewa, Linda Ikeji’s Blog run by Linda Ikeji, BellaNaija run by Uche Eze, Naij.com run by Genesis Technology Partners and many more. Online journalism has been both a blessing and curse because while it is free, easy to access and can update in real time, there is the problem of the proliferation of fake news.
The evolution of news reporting in Naija hasn’t stopped as Social Media News Pages are slowly but surely taking over from news websites and blogs, a good example of this is Instablog9ja on Instagram with over 1.8 Million followers, the page updates its followers on the latest news in Nigeria daily as they happen.
Where will news reporting evolve to next? Well, let’s all keep our fingers crossed for the next big thing!