Updated on May 24, 2019
Before the Internet, we get international, national and local news from the newspapers.
There were 10+ newspapers in our younger days. Most households subscribe two or more newspapers. One can sell old newspapers by weight.
There were many morning newspapers and a few evening newspapers.
Most papers were printed at night in batches. The early batches were dispatched by road and rail to other cities. The later batches have a “STOP PRESS” section to cover the breaking news. They are sent to news stands and to the local subscribers.
The English newspapers include Nation (by U Law Yone and team), and Guardian (by U Sein Win and team).
The Burmese newspapers include Kyemon (modeled after the Daily Mirror), Yangon, Tun, Hanthawaddy, Oway, Bama Khit (and later Moe Gyo), Myanmar Ah Lin, Man Daing, Ah Htauk Taw (known for gossip), Tagun (“Banner” known for sports) and Ludu (in Mandalay).
News agencies and Reporters
Most newspapers get the international and/or national news from news agencies such as Reuters, AP, and UPI.
They get local news from their reporters and from other people willing to submit or share the news.
I would write reports of the Rag Regatta, Monsoon Regatta and Annual Regatta and give it to selected newspapers. Later, I would type reports of the golf tournaments at Rangoon Golf Club (RGC) and Burma Golf Club (BGC) provided by Saya U Soe Paing.
Each paper has a signature.
The papers have columnists such as Zawana and Thagadoe.
Some carry cartoons, serial novels and daily horoscope.
Some carry information about the horse races in general and their picks for the “Treble Tote” .
Some papers have political affiliations. They had prominent roles during the AFPFL split between “Thant Shin (Clean AFPFL)” and “Ti Mye (Stable AFPFL)”.
Changes after the Coup d’etat
Things changed after the coup d’etat on March 2, 1962.
NAB (News Agency Burma) was formed to (a) compile news from the news agencies (b) select news (c) translate the selected news (d) distribute them to the then six national newspapers (four in Burmese/Myanmar and two in English). Tet Toe (U Ohn Pe) was Chief Editor of NAB.
Two newspapers were established with Sayagyi Shwe Oo Daung as Chief Editor of the “Loke Tha Pyithu Nay Zin” and Saya U Khin Maung Latt as Chief Editor of the “Working People’s Daily” (WPD).
Grapevine says that the then Number One promised “full authority” to the two Chief Editors. The promise did not last long. U Khin Maung Latt was asked if he wanted to be an Ambassador. Daw Khin Myo Chit stepped in and replied that “Ko Latt would go back to teaching”.
I wrote articles (on computers), poems and translations (including a short story “Nge Thay Lo” by U Thu Kha) for the Guardian and WPD. I received fifteen kyats for a poem or article. U Thu Kha and I got fifty kyats each for the short story and its translation.
I was requested to write for the Sarsodaw Nay Supplement. I was shown the type set copy of my writing about Ananda Thuriya (“A Man of Infinite Valor”). It did not appear in print. The higher authorities did not want the readers to appreciate “Dhammata”.
The six Chief Editors were formed into two groups to review the submissions. Each group would be penalized if an item published in one of their newspaper was found to be “sensitive”.
U Soe Myint (then Chief Editor of Guardian and later father-in-law of U Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EC76)) approved my writings.
Those were the days.