Most of the newspapers available during the colonial era were not published daily. There was a need to publish a newspaper that would inform the people of the daily events happening in the colonial era. The Daily Times was the answer to that challenge.
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
- trace the birth of the Daily Times
- define government ownership of the paper
- x-ray major highlights of the paper
- state clearly the subsidiary publications of the paper.
3.0 MAIN CONTENT
3.1 The Birth of the Daily Times
The greater popularisation of the newspaper as a result of the political ferment of the early 20s and the significant expansion in advertisement patronage stimulated by post-war economy (that is after 1918) increased the attraction of the daily newspaper as a sound, commercial proposition. Some enthusiasm for daily newspapers was also provoked by Governor Clifford’s lament of the absence of such publications, in the country in his famous address to the Nigerian council in 1920. The absence of a daily press prevented the wide dissemination of news throughout the country which is customary in the West Indies, and which for example, is affected in Ceylon by the publication in Colombo of two morning and two evening newspapers on every weekday.
This statement contributed to public appetite for daily newspapers. The above scenario gave rise to the launching of the Nigerian Daily Times on 1st June, 1926, established as a company on June 6, 1925. The first 2,000 copies of Nigerian Daily Times, as it was then called, hit the streets of Lagos a year later.
First edited by Ernest Ikoli, the paper’s editorial policy was liberal, espousing in part, “hearty support for Nigerian progress and advancement” and “a strong sense of sane nationalism.” The paper was the brain child of four gentlemen: V. Ronald Osborne, Adeyemo Alakija, Leonard Archer and Richard Barrow. Its incorporated company was the Nigerian Printing and Publishing Company (NPPC).A copy of the newspaper sold for a penny.
In what ways do the early newspapers differ from the Daily Times?
3.2 Government Ownership
In 1975, the Federal Government acquired forcefully 60 percent shares of the Daily Times of Nigeria (DTN) from their original 17,000 owners. The acquisition of the DTN was done through the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON).
This change of ownership was the third time ownership of the organisation would be changing hands. The first time was in the 1930s when H.B. Paul, a Liverpool publisher, bought its controlling shares. Paul later sold it to Guy Bartholomew, publisher of the Daily Mirror, 20 December, 1947- this was when the name, The Nigerian Daily Times was dropped for Daily Times.
3.3 X-ray of Major Highlights of Daily Times
The Daily Times assembled and worked the first privately owned rotary printing machine in Nigeria.
- It became the first non-government owned newspaper in the country, to set up its photo-engraving type setting and type-casting plant.
- It employed skilled foreign journalists who brought professionalism into the newspaper. It also filled greater portion of the newspaper with materials from paid writers as well as views from its readers.
- If pursued a deliberate policy of Africanisation by training journalists, printers and machine operators whose skills enriched Nigerian journalism.
3.4 Chain Ownership of the Paper
We mentioned earlier that Daily Times was involved in chain ownership. They are Sunday Times, Spear (magazine) Home Studies, Evening Times, Women’s World, Business Times, Headlines, Times International and the Lagos Weekend. Due to factors we may not discuss here, some of these publications are out of circulation now.
The Daily Times was a child of necessity. Though there was a great need to publish a newspaper that reflected the daily happenings in Nigeria, the birth of the Daily Times revealed the possibility of actualising a bunch of advertisements in one medium. This also contributed to its instant success.
We have taken note of the factors that led to the birth of the Daily Times the nature of government ownership of the medium, the highlights of the newspaper and the chain ownership of the newspaper.
6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
- What factors actually contributed to the birth of the Daily Times. 2. Mention the highlights of the Daily Times.
- Why did the Federal Government take over the Daily Times? 4. Mention some of the other publications of the Daily Times.