A HUNDRED YEARS THAT FULFILLED A NATIONAL OBLIGATION

A hundred years in any field of endeavour is a unique achievement indeed. Doubly so for a newspaper which has withstood the passage of time and going from strength to strength in catering to the needs of its readership.

The Ceylon Daily News, which chalks up its centenary today, can look back with pride to where it has reached and what it has achieved after its long and chequered journey. Tribute is due to all those who toiled to make the newspaper what it is today, during its evolutionary stages.

The Daily News, over the years, has brought historical and groundbreaking events, upheavals, wars, plagues, and famines, both in this country and abroad, to the attention of the public through the pens of professionals in the field that the Daily News was famous for, in those halcyon days.

The newspaper continues to strive to maintain this quality in catering to its vast readership to the best of its ability. The feedback we get is encouraging indeed. It boasts of a fine team of journalists who strive for excellence and report events and incidents accurately. The newspaper has the capacity to meet the demands of its vast and diverse readership through its special segments.

During the war against terrorism, the Daily News was one of the few newspapers which reported the action from the battlefront and gave the news as it happened. It was the same in the thick of events in the political battles as well, providing balanced reportage, although we are a state-owned entity. The Daily News is no stranger to both bouquets and brickbats which we take in our stride as journalists who are impervious to such matters but continue with the job of providing news and entertaining reading to the public.

The insurgency in the late eighties was a hard time for the Daily News as for its sister publications. The ‘ban’ imposed by rebel elements on all Lake House newspapers saw a drastic drop in circulation.

There were even death threats on Lake House staff including journalists of the Daily News. However, the newspaper was published without interruption and the staff worked round-the-clock to bring out the paper disregarding the danger, as true journalists who are equipped to defy the odds.

Times have changed. From being a monopoly in the field of publication to meeting the vast competition in the modern day, the newspaper has stood stolidly and striven to provide the best to its readers.

It was not always plain sailing. The Daily News, with its sister publications, had to face many challenges and vicissitudes during its long journey. There was the infamous takeover of Lake House by the then government which was a major setback and saw the content and the quality of the product take a beating.

However, it still managed to retain its vast readership, chiefly due to the rare skills of the journalists the newspaper is able to boast. Its editorials were made standard reading to students by their parents and teachers for the unique quality of the prose of the now long-departed stalwarts.

The Founder of the Lake House Group, the late D. R. Wijewardene recognised the need for reaching out to the public with information at a time the independence movement was gathering momentum. The Daily News, it must be said, fulfilled this role admirably, providing the English readers the opportunity to be up to date on the ongoing developments.

In its long journey, the newspaper was brought out in various forms, formats, and styles and is, today, produced by the state-of-the-art technology by a fine production team, in a way that appeals to readers.

The Daily News has fulfilled a national role in keeping the public informed of matters over its century-long journey and while we turn a new page into the newspaper’s next landmark, we hope to receive the same support and patronage of our beloved readership which we received in ample measure over the years. 

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