March of Printer’s Ink: From Colombo Journal to Ceylon Today

Newsstand Sri Lanka – image courtesy

“Sri Lanka’s newspaper history dates back to Colombo Journal (1832) which apparently had a short but feisty life before it invoked the ire of the British Raj. Nearly two centuries and hundreds of titles later, the long march of printer’s ink — laced with courage and passion – continues.

“How long can this last?

Print journalism’s business models are crumbling in many parts of the world, with decades old publications closing down or going entirely online. This trend is less pronounced in Asia, which industry analysts say is enjoying history’s last newspaper boom. Yet, as I speculated three years ago when talking to a group of press barons, we’ll be lucky to have a decade to prepare for the inevitable…”

These are excerpts from a short essay I originally wrote last week to mark the first anniversary of Ceylon Today newspaper, where I’m a Sunday columnist. It was printed in their first anniversary supplement on 18 Nov 2012. has just republished it today, making it easily available to a much wider audience. Read full essay:

March of Printer’s Ink: From Colombo Journal to Ceylon Today, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Another excerpt: “In the coming years, waves of technology, demographics and economics can sweep away some venerable old media along with much of the deadwood that deserves extinction. The adaptive and nimble players who win audience trust will be the ones left to write tomorrow’s first drafts of history.”

Image courtesy Reuters

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