Before the Internet, we get international, national and local news from the 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 “latest” news.
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.
For example, 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 RGC (Rangoon Golf Club) and/or BGC (Burma Golf Club) provided by Saya U Soe Paing.
There were ten (or more) newspapers in our younger days. Most households will subscribe two (or more) newspapers. One can sell old newspaper (by weight).
In the early days, most were morning newspapers. A few were evening newspapers.
The English newspapers include Nation (by U Law Yone and team), and Guardian (by U Sein Win and team).
The Burmese/Myanmar 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).
Some papers have political affiliations. They had roles during the AFPFL split.
The papers have columnists such as Zawana and Thagadoe.
Some carry information about the horse races in general and their picks for the “Treble Tote” .
Some carry cartoons, serial novels and daily horoscope.
Each paper has a signature.
After Coup d’etat
Things changed after the coup d’etat on March 2, 1962.
Several newspapers were shit down or nationalized. Censorship with varying degrees was introduced.
NAB (News Agency Burma) was formed to
- compile news from the news agencies
- select news
- translate the selected news
- distribute the news and translations to the six national newspapers (four in Burmese/Myanmar and two in English).
Two new papers 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”. 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 by U Thu Kha) for the Guardian and WPD. I received fifteen kyats for most of them. 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”). The higher authorities did not want the readers to appreciate “Dhammata”; so it did not appear in the newspaper on Sarsodaw Nay.
The six editors were formed into two groups. 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 KMZ) approved my writings (mostly about Computer Applications).