Which are the Best English Newspapers in India?
If you are looking for an answer for this, then here in this post, we present you the top 10 English Newspapers in India.
But first, let’s look at some Brief history of English Newspaper in India.
The history of English newspapers in India dates back to the year 1780 when Hicky’s Bengal Gazette was launched by James Augustus Hicky. These were soon followed by other English newspapers including India Gazette, Calcutta Gazette, Madras Courier and Bombay Herald, all started by British officers and merchants of the East India Company.
The first fully Indian-owned English newspaper was the Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce, launched on November 3, 1838, by Rao Bahadur Narayan Dinanath Velkar, who published it thrice weekly. This newspaper met immense popularity and soon began publishing daily.
In 1860 Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce was bought over by its British editor, Robert Knight. This publication grew from strength to strength changed hands over the last 180 years to survive and flourish as India’s most respected newspaper, The Times of India.
Current Scenario of Indian newspapers
Over the last few years, India is witnessing a media boom. A report for the year 2016 issued by Audit Bureau of Circulations (India) projects print media in India will have a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.3 percent per annum up to 2021.
India’s northern region witnessed a growth of 7.83 percent in the number of dailies and copies circulated during 2016 while South India’s print media grew by 4.95 percent. Western India showed a growth of 2.81 percent and Eastern India at 2.63 percent, the report adds.
Hindi print media grew at an amazing pace of 8.76 percent followed by Telugu at 8.28 percent, Kannada at 6.40 percent, Tamil with 5.51 percent and Malayalam print media with 4.11 percent. Shockingly, English print media in India grew by only 2.87 percent in 2016.
Plight of English Newspapers in India
These figures should serve as an eye-opener for India’s English dailies since they clearly indicate that people’s reading habits are rapidly changing. Once the mainstay of Indian media, English newspapers now stands relegated to the sixth position. There are several reasons for this decline that cannot be mentioned without causing severe controversy.
However, India is home to some high-class English newspapers.
10 Best English Newspapers in India.
1. The Times of India
As mentioned earlier in this article, The Times of India remains India’s most popular English language newspaper. It is published by the Mumbai-based media company, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), which is now part of the larger Times Group.
The Times of India is published from over 36 locations across India. According to available information, some three million copies of The Times of India are sold daily making it one of the largest circulated Newspaper in India.
2. Hindustan Times
With a readership in excess of one million people, Hindustan Times is the second most popular English newspaper in this country. The history of Hindustan Times dates back to 1924 when it was established by Sunder Singh Lyallpuri to support India’s freedom movement against British colonials.
Lyallpuri was also the founder of India’s Akali movement. Hindustan Times began its journey from New Delhi. Over the last few decades, the paper has successfully spread its operations to other parts of India including Mumbai, Patna, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Ranchi and Kolkata. It remains the most popular English daily published from north India.
3. Indian Express
Ranking third on our list of best English newspapers of India is the Indian Express. The newspaper was founded in 1932 by Ramnath Goenka. Unfortunately, Indian Express rankings among top English newspapers of India have slipped over the last few years.
A few years ago, it vied for the No-1 position with The Times of India with both dailies making conflicting claims over readership and circulation.
Though Indian Express mentions Mumbai as its headquarters, the daily appears to have largely scaled down its operations. Despite, in 2014, it ranked as the third most popular English newspaper in the Indian Readership Survey.
4. The Statesman
The Statesman, a broadsheet English daily with headquarters in Kolkata is one of the oldest surviving newspapers in India. It was first published in 1875. The Statesman is also a member of the prestigious Asian News Network (ANN), a grouping of reputed newspapers across Asia.
The Statesman is a newspaper for serious readers, who prefer news presented in concise, no-frills language. Currently, The Statesman also publishes simultaneously from New Delhi, Bhuvaneshwar and Siliguri.
Though The Statesman has a reported circulation of about 200,000 daily copies, it remains as one of the most venerated newspapers of India and its news is widely quoted by foreign media.
5. The Telegraph
Leading with a reported circulation of nearly half a million copies daily is another English newspaper from Kolkata, The Telegraph. It is owned by the Kolkata based media group, Ananda Bazar Patrika (ABP).
The Telegraph is a relatively newcomer to India’s English dailies scene. It was launched from Kolkata on July 7, 1982. In about 35 years of existence, The Telegraph has spread to five editions- Kolkata, North Bengal, South Bengal, North East India (Guwahati) and Jharkhand.
Additionally, The Telegraph also publishes from Bhubaneshwar in Odisha as part of its Jharkhand edition. The Telegraph is tipped to emerge among the top three English newspapers of India due to its unique and largely unbiased news coverage.
6. The Hindu
The Hindu is topmost English dailies from south India. It began as a weekly in September 1978 and eventually became a daily broadsheet newspaper. According to Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, The Hindu ranks second as most widely sold English broadsheet dailies of India, with a reported sale of over 1.2 million copies per day.
The Hindu now publishes from several locations in India including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayawada, Vishakapatnam, Kochi, Coimbatore, Madurai, Mohali, Allahabad and other regional centers.
7. Deccan Chronicle
Deccan Chronicle also traces its roots to pre-independence era. It was first published in 1938 from Hyderabad, now the capital of Telangana state of India. The claimed daily readership of Deccan Chronicle is about 1.2 million.
Though Deccan Chronicle remains widely popular in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it has spread its reach to other states of India’s south including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Deccan Chronicle maintains news bureaus in every major city and state capital in India.
It is considered as the pioneer of English language journalism in the Deccan areas of India, which included parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka during colonial times and during the reign of erstwhile Nizam rulers.
8. Deccan Herald
Bangalore-based Deccan Herald was launched soon after India’s independence. Following its first issue in 1948, Deccan Herald became a popular daily not only in Bangalore but also other parts of Karnataka and neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
During its earlier days, Deccan Herald was seen by some observers as a competitor to Chennai-based The Hindu. Though exact circulation figures for Deccan Herald are unavailable, unofficial estimates claim, this top English newspaper of India has a daily circulation of around half a million copies.
Deccan Herald has been slow to expand. Though Deccan Herald publishes from nearly a dozen locations in its native Karnataka, the only expansion outside the state was in 2011, when the daily launched a New Delhi edition.
9. Free Press Journal
Free Press Journal, fondly called FPJ has a history of ups and downs since its launch in 1930 by founder editor Swaminathan Sadanand. It was founded with the objective of supporting press freedom of sorts to homegrown English dailies that came under severe censorship when British rule in India was crumbling in the aftermath of World War-II and growing calls for independence.
Mumbai-based FPJ suffered heavily during 1990s due to the launch of several English dailies in the city within a short span of time. Regardless, FPJ has regained its position among the top 10 English dailies of India.
In line with its stated policy to maintain prices of newspapers affordable for the common man, Free Press Journal continues to sell at just Rs 2 per copy on weekdays and Rs.3 for the Sunday edition.
Notables who have worked for FPJ include Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and India’s celebrated cartoonist, RK Laxman who created the iconic ‘common man’ caricature. FPJ also publishes from Ujjain, Bhopal and Indore.
10. Asian Age
Asian Age is the only English daily from India to have an international edition. It was launched in February 1994 by noted Indian politician and the current Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, from Mumbai.
Over the years, Asian Age has been bought over by Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd, which also owns an eponymous Hyderabad-based daily listed above.
Asian Age publishes from New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata as well. Though circulation figures of Asian Age itself are unavailable, its website claims to reach over a million readers daily along with Deccan Chronicle. Asian Age has an editorial partnership with one of the most reputed English dailies of the world, New York Times.
11. The Sentinel
True to its name, The Sentinel has served as a watchdog for India’s democracy in the far-flung states of North East. Launched in 1983 from Guwahati, Assam, The Sentinel now publishes from other North Eastern states including Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
Additionally, The Sentinel has daily editions published out of Dibrugarh and Silchar. It can rightly be called the most popular English language newspaper of India’s north east since it catered single-handedly to the eight states of that region long before major Indian media houses entered.
For several years, The Sentinel was the only topmost English daily available to residents of North East India. With increased focus on the development of North East, The Sentinel is playing a key role in keeping English speaking people of the region informed and entertained with its world-class coverage of news and current affairs.
Registrar of Newspapers of India, the regulatory authority for print media in this country had over 110,000 registered titles for daily newspapers at the end of the financial year 2015-2016. The number will have gone up marginally during fiscal 2017-2018.
Surprisingly, the list of the top 20 Indian daily broadsheet newspapers features only a single English publication- The Times of India- ranked eight. The highest readership and circulation in India is of Hindi daily newspapers followed by Malayalam and Tamil.
Some media experts claim, the decline in popularity of English print media is due to surge in reading news over mobile apps offered by top newspapers. Others claim Hindi print media has become popular since they focus more on coverage of local issues relevant to indigenous populations.