Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Journalism: From Typewriter to Laptop

Dr Rabin Man Shakya

Remember when reporters had to type their news stories on a typewriter instead of directly typing them on the computer or laptop? Or when the press photographers had to use regular cameras to take photos of the events and come back to the dark room for developing and printing the photos.

It was a part of Nepalese media scenario of just 20 years before, when I started working as a journalist.

Well, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge of river Bagmati and the miracles of technology have caused a sea of change in the media and social media scenario.

In fact, the history of journalism has witnessed a lot of vicissitudes, journalism in itself is a chronicle of innovations and qualitative changes. Try to remember the historical photo of the first issue of the Gorkhapatra, the grand old lady of Nepalese journalism.

It was in the beginning of 1992 when I joined the Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), the national news agency of Nepal as an Assistant Editor at the English desk. I continued to work at the RSS for about five months. After that, I went on to work for The Rising Nepal (TRN) also in the year 1992, when TRN was still the only broadsheet daily English newspaper of Nepal.

Well, when I started working at the media outlets like the RSS and TRN twenty years ago, journalists and reporters used typewriters, tape recorders and ordinary cameras.

Laptops, digital cameras, cell phones and other modern electronic gadgets were things I never dreamed would play any significant role in the rapid success of the newspaper industry.

Still, when I moved to the US in 2002, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on were concepts that I never imagined. What comes next is yet to be determined.

Will the increasing use of modern technology in journalism and media have positive effects or will its effects be seen as a jumble of both positive and negative?


  1. quite a thought, man. the media landscape, mainly technology, is changing so fast that everything becomes past ... before you can figure it out fully

  2. Robin: A major technological change came about at the Gorkhapatra Sansthan in the early 1980s when it moved from hot metal composition to electronic phototypesetting and from letterpress flat-bed printing to web offset, an historical even in Asia. Yes, we have in our lifetime seen unimagined changes in the communication revolution and, as you have rightly put, we don't know where it will take us.