Introduction to Odia News Media
In Odissa, print journalism has over a century’s history, driven first by missionaries and later by reformist movements. The media industry in Odissa, much like the others around the world, has been intricately linked to the region’s contemporary socio-political scenario. Consequently, it has witnessed major shifts over time, primarily in relation to changes in political regimes and their policies.
Published with the aim to promote Odia culture while holding government policies accountable, Bodha Dayini was the first Odia magazine. It was launched in 1861 from Balasore. Later, in 1866, the first Odia newspaper — Utkal Deepika — came into being. Under the influence of Bichitrananda and Gouri Shankar Ray (editor), the paper strived for the unification of Odia-speaking regions and safeguarding Odia interests. Promoting the Odia language and literature was also one of its main agendas.
In 1869, the Utkal Subhakari came into being, under the tutelage of Bhagvati Charan Das of the Brahmo Samaj. This period in the late 19th century Odissa (then a part of the Bengal Presidency) saw a great flourish in newspaper publication, resulting in several newspapers such as Utkal Patra, Utkal Hiteisini, Utkal Darpan, Sambada Vahika, and Sambalpur Hiteisini, among others. In part, this surge was being driven by the rising nationalist movements against the Colonial regime. Naturally, they were quite vocal in their commentary on the freedom of press and expression.
In 1905, the first English newspaper in Odissa came into being. Named the Star of Utkal, it from published from Cuttack by Babu Khirod Ray Choudhury. At the time of rampant starvations in 1907-08, this newspaper led the critical voices against the Food Policy of the contemporary Bengal Government.
Nearly a decade later, in 1913, journalist Sashibhushan Rath founded Asha, a weekly newspaper which marked the beginning of a new phase for Odissa’s media. Especially popular among the citizens of the Ganja area, it drove substantial public opinion in favor of separate and autonomous Odissa province. Through the writings of many renowned and motivating personalities, it also spoke for the betterment of the Odia language.
That apart, The Odia, Navya Bharat, Swaraj, Dainik Asha, and Odia Daily, were some of the prominent newspapers in the pre-independence era.
Following Independence, Odissa’s journalistic landscape took a sharp turn towards Trade Unionism, abandoning its erstwhile missionary intentions. In this, Dr. H.K. Mahapatra — the founder of Prajatantra (1930) — played a major role among others. In 1948, the English daily named The Eastern Time was launched as a sister newspaper of Prajatantra.
The Cuttack edition of Amrit Bazar Patrika, as well as Matrubhumi, Kalinga, The Janashakti, and Dharitri, were some other post-independence newspapers. It’s interesting to note that most of these Odia newspapers which, to a great extent, is still the case today. Nonetheless, there’s a substantial readership in the region, alongside a strong preference for regional and linguistic sentiments.
In this article, we present a comprehensive list of the current newspapers and news channels in Odissa, dividing them into the following categories:
A. Newspapers & News Websites in Odissa
B. Odia News Channels
A. Newspapers & News Websites in Odissa
Under this category, we discuss some of the major, medium, and small newspapers and news websites that are currently active in Odissa. As already mentioned, most of these are Odia-language newspapers and news websites. Nonetheless, there are also a few English-language newspapers and news websites which we would also discuss in the following paragraphs.
The Prameya newspaper is one of the top three newspapers in Odissa in terms of circulation and readership. The newspaper is owned and published by Summa Real Media Pvt. Ltd., which is a non-government, unlisted company established on the 12th of January 2010. Prameya was among the early endeavours of this media house and has been in circulation for nearly a decade now. Like most other newspapers in Odissa, Prameya is printed in Odia, although their website is predominantly in English.
Alongside the newspaper, Prameya has a substantial online presence, especially with their website but also their social media handles. While dedicatedly focusing on regional issues and sentiments, Prameya covers news from around the country. It also has a separate section for news from Bhubaneswar. In terms of topics or categories, as well, the Prameya has a wide repertoire.
Akin to most major news sources, Prameya covers topics on politics, business, sports, and entertainment. Yet, their scope extends beyond these common spaces. That said, the Prameya has a dedicated coverage of issues on health, campus life, crime, culture, women, and food. Furthermore, there is a blog/opinion section on their website, in which, they publish in-depth op-ed pieces on several, diverse and contemporary issues.
In pace with the digitizing world and for maximum outreach, the Prameya also has mobile applications for Android.
Published since the 4th of October 1984, Sambad is one of the largest circulated Odia language dailies. It was founded by Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, a businessman cum politician, who has been the newspaper’s publisher and editor-in-chief to date. Patnaik’s company – Easter Media Limited, which holds the Sambad Group – is one of the largest media conglomerates in India. Headquartered in Bhubaneswar, the Sambad is printed from several cities across Odissa, including Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Balasore, Jeypore, and Angul.
According to the publication’s website, the Sambad newspaper, especially the English version, is the rebranded version of Odisha Sun Times. Apart from Mr. Patnaik, Sambad’s editorial team involves other prominent names of Odia journalism. Sambad’s executive editor – Ayaskant Das – was associated to organisations like OTV and The Common Times in the past. Same applies to their team of writers and content creators, all of whom have substantial experience in the industry and have been associated with big names The News Insight, Financial Express, and so on. Surya Narayan Pradhan is among the senior-most writers for Sambad. The paper also contains regular columns from the politician and MP, Varun Gandhi.
In the history of the Odia news industry, Sambad is held in high regard for being the first on several fronts. Indeed, according to their website, Sambad is not simply a newspaper, but the face of “a movement for socio-economic changes”. Above all, the newspaper was the first vernacular daily in Odissa. Presently, its circulation is above 4 lakhs with a readership of nearly 70 lakhs.
Apart from covering local and national news on politics, sports, economy, art, and culture, the Sambad publishes several supplements, such as Suprabhat, E2, Sambad Mahanagar, Rabibar, Katha, and Paurusha. Alongside this, the newspaper has a substantial social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Founded in 2011 by the Dharitri Group, the Orissa Post is one of the most prominent, “home-grown” English-language daily newspapers in Odissa. Presently, it is printed in broadsheet format from several cities – Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Angul, and Rayagada. Under the editorship of Tathagata Satpathy, the Orissa Post is revered as one of the most reliable sources of relevant and intuitive information in Odissa. Further, owing to the newspaper’s pro-people and youth-oriented stance towards journalism, it holds a significant position in the region’s socio-political and economic landscape.
The publication’s primary area of focus includes regional, national, and international news. That apart, it also offers substantial and comprehensive coverage on business, sports, and entertainment-related topics. Alongside this, the Orissa post also publishes op-ed pieces, as well as news and other articles related to science and technology. While assuming an arguably “liberal” stance, the newspaper is vocal about unfavourable government policies and actions.
Apart from a moderately high circulation, the Orissa Post has a substantial online presence owing to its website, ePaper, and social media. Moreover, it also has a mobile application for Android.
In 1985, Pradyumna Bal published the first edition of Pragativadi from Bhubaneswar. Over time, the newspaper has become one of the most read Odia daily – “a household name across the state”, as their website claims. Presently, in 2020, the paper runs under the editorship of Samahit Bal. Often, the Pragativadi is regarded as one of the most affordable sources of news in Odissa.
For over 40 years, the newspaper has been well-known for its knack for honest journalism, thus enjoying a formidable readership in the region, especially among the higher and educated rungs of society. As such, a major aim of this publication is to communicate and speak to those who play a role in the governance and polity in the region: panchayat leaders, opinion leaders, and so on. Consequently, it also has a dedicated and “conscious readership that doesn’t flip through the pages”.
The Pragativadi covers a wide range of topics, including regional, national, and international news. On their website, they also have a blog for opinion pieces. Moreover, their users can access the platform using Android applications, apart from the free daily ePaper.
This Odia-language daily was first published on the 24th of November 1974 under the tutelage of Bhubaneswar’s Samajbadi Society. Although the newspaper started web offset printing in 1986, the “real growth of Dharitri”, as their website claims, happened towards the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the next decade.
Catering to both urban and rural readers, the Dharitri is especially popular in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Apart from the reliability of news coverage, this newspaper gains popularity because of its many supplements, such as Health and Science, Nari, Krushi Jeevan, Vichitra, Krida, and so on.
Orissa Diary is an online news portal launched in 2004 by a group of young and enthusiastic Odias who, at that time, lived outside Odissa. Eventually, they established the Orissa Diary Foundation and the Odisha Media Info Service (OMIS) Pvt. Ltd. Under these, they launched several other portals, such as Education Diary, E-India Diary, and more. Rashmi Ranjan Parida is the portal’s founding editor.
Focusing primarily on Odissa, the portal speaks to the sentiments, concerns, and cultures of the Odia people. That apart, the portal covers news on national, business, and sports-related topics.
A part of the Odisha TV network, the Odisha Reporter is an Odia news portal established in 2013. Their goal, in their own words, is to “connect netizens to the latest information about Odisha and beyond”.
Apart from local, national, and international news, the portal covers a range of other topics. These include politics, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, astrology, and interestingly, social media. Under this last segment, the portal covers interesting, important, and contemporary happenings on social media. Moreover, it also publishes several guest columns, written by eminent and emerging writers on a range of topics.
Launched in 2004, Odisha Bhaskar is an Odia-language daily, published from Bhubaneswar, Angul, and Berhampur. While focusing on regional news from Odissa, the paper also covers national and international news on topics such as crime, entertainment, sports, health, career, business, and so on. They also have ePapers of each of their editions.
Literally translating as “Employment News”, the Nijukti Khabar is a weekly Odia publication. True to its name, it covers employment opportunities in various industries across Orissa. Nijukti Khabar is one of the leading newspapers for admission and employment-related news in the region, especially in Odia language.
Founded in 1996 by Basant Kumar Biswal, the Samaya is one of the first coloured Odia dailies. Presently, in 2020, Stakadi Hota is the editor of this newspaper. Published from Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Angul, Bhadrak, and Berhampur, it covers topics politics, sports, literature, culture, agriculture, and more.
In publication for over a century since its publication in 1919 by Utkalmani Pandit Gopalbandhu Das, The Samaja is one of the oldest newspapers in Odissa. Presently, the newspaper is owned and run by the Lok Seva Mandal or Servants of the People Society, a Delhi-based organisation founded by Lala Lajpat Rai.
The Odia Pua was founded in 2003, printed and published from New Delhi, with branches in Bhubaneswar and Puri. In 2020, Shyamsundar Sahoo is the editor of Odia Pua, with Manmohini Sahoo as the assistant editor. The paper has a wide domain with regional, national, and international news on politics, commerce, entertainment, and more.
Odisha Samachar, better known as eodishasamchar.com, is an Odia and English news portal founded by Regan McCook. They publish news on politics, education, health, business, sports, tourism, and culture. Apart from that, they also have a separate segment called “Special” which, as the name suggests, covers contemporary issues of specific importance.
Launched in 2004, Odisha.com is one of the first vernacular news portals of the region, created with the aim of “Connecting Odias”. Apart from news on politics, business, and entertainment, the portal covers topics such as environment, religion, education, and crime. Further, it also publishes interviews of prominent personalities.
The Dinalipi is an Odia daily, first published in 1981 by Amarendra Dash – the owner of Suryo Media. With Batakrishna Tripathy as the editor-in-chief and Annapurna Dash as the editor, this newspaper is printed from Bhubaneswar. Apart from its main segments, the paper has weekly supplements for economic news, health, cinema, and more.
The Anupam Bharat
Roughly translated as “The Unique India”, the Anupam Bharat is an Odia-language newspaper that covers local, national, and international news. It has a special interest in sports, while also publishing several columns on multiple topics. Apart from the newspaper, the publication has a website, ePaper, and an Android app.
B. Odia News Channels
In this section, we discuss some of the major Odia news channels, which also have supplementary online news portals. Alongside the several newspapers in circulation across Odissa, these TV channels are also among the popular and relied upon sources for news in the region.
Founded in 2015 by the Summa Real Media, Prameya News7 is a 24-hour Odia news channel. It is headquartered in Bhubaneswar, has a 200+ strong team, and is commonly known as News 7. Among others, the channel is run by stalwarts of the Odia media industry, such as Shri Gopalkrishna Mahapatra, the group editor of Prameya, and Shri Sunil Das, the CEO.
As such, the channel runs a wide range of shows on diverse issues and topics. Still, the most sought-after aspect of News 7 is their undeterred journalism, as well as their independent string operations through which they have uncovered several wrongdoings in Odissa. While the Sarathi Baba expose of 2015 brought the channel to fame, over time, they have conducted many crucial operations such as those relating to the Dal Scam, sand mafias, casting couches in Odia film industry (“Ollywood”), and so on. That apart, the channel also conducts prime time debates with diverse panels.
As a supplement to its TV channel, News 7 has an active online news portal. Here, it covers a range of local, national, and international news on topics such as politics, crime, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, and so on. Moreover, it also has dedicated sections for “Special Reports” and religious news. The channel’s social media handles and mobile applications are also among the essential elements of its online presence.
Odisha TV or OTV is one of the pioneering media ventures in Odissa, as well as in the Odia language. Listed among the early private channels of Odissa, this one was founded by Jagi Mangat Panda in 1988, who remains a key figure associated with the channel even today. Starting out on the cable TV, the channel eventually shifted to satellite TV in late 2006. As a part of the Odisha Television Network, the channel is headquartered in Bhubaneswar.
Over time, OTV has become one of the popular sources of news and current affairs in the region, thus enjoying a dedicated and steady viewership. Some of its most famous programs include Gapa Sapa, Janamancha, News Fuse, and Sakalara Khabara, among many others.
Led by Mr. Panda, the channel boasts of an able and highly experienced team of journalists and media professionals, such as Kasturi Ray (Senior Editor), Bikram Keshari Jena (Chief Sub Editor), Vikash Kumar Sharma (Chief Sub Editor), and Pradeep Singh (Chief Sub Editor), to name only a few.
Odisha TV also has online news portals in both English and Odia, where they publish content related to education, employment, and entertainment, apart from local, national, and international news. They also have a dedicated guest column that features the writings of several renowned and promising authors and researchers. Furthermore, there’s also a Live TV segment on the website.
This Bhubaneswar-based, 720p HDTV-format, Odia TV channel has, over time, become one of the most popular in Odissa. This is even though the channel is quite new, having been launched in April 2005. Presently, the Kalinga Media & Entertainment group owns and runs this Non-government company and channel. Apart from India, the channel is also broadcast in Mauritius, Kenya, and Fiji. In India, Kalinga TV is available to the users of Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV, and Videocon D2H, among others. Also, depending on the region, it’s viewable on the local cable networks.
In 2020, the renowned Odia journalist, Soumyajit Pattanaik, is the channel’s chief editor. Prior to assuming responsibilities at the head of Kalinga TV, he worked with The Asian Age, The Hindustan Times, and OTV.
The channel has an active and well-maintained online portal by the same name, where it publishes news items on a variety of topics. Moreover, it also has a substantial presence on social media, alongside its mobile applications.
Founded in 2009 by Eastern Media Pvt. Ltd., Kanak News (earlier named Kanak TV) is an Odia news channel based in Bhubaneswar. Available on both cable and satellite TV, this channel is “free to air”. Among other things, the channel intends to be a voice for change in the region: an idea expressed by the tagline Patibartanara Swara.
The channel’s online portal is a source for regional, national, and global news. It also has some special segments on lifestyle, “bad news”, entertainment, and other exclusive issues. Further, Kanak News also has a good enough presence on social media.
For more than a century, the print media has been proliferating in Orissa. Needless to say, the region’s media landscape has undergone several changes over this period, both big and small. Much like media in other parts of India, in Orissa, the most vivid dividing line – the point of massive transformation – has been the independence. However, despite changes, certain aspects of Orissa’s print media industry have been consistent, since independence and also before.
As evident from the dominance of Odia-language newspapers, print media in the region has been a vocal proponent of regional sensibilities, language, cultures, and problems. This, by far, has been a differentiating element of Odia newspapers at large. This, however, is not to say that the other language newspapers aren’t read or circulated popularly, but only that the majority prefers Odia news sources.
Furthermore, since the pre-independence era and even today, the Odia media industry has usually been holding governments, present and past, accountable for their wrongdoings. There have also been many instances of courageous and honest journalism, even to the extent of major exposes. In doing so, newspapers in Orissa have, indeed, stood true to their role as the fourth estate of governance: in a way, safeguarding the interests of the people.
While the Odia media industry brings the voices of its people to the world, we, at MediaBuzz, are dedicated to staying right on its tail, to bring to our readers an up-to-date coverage of every possible news source. Our team is built with professional writers who have an unquenchable enthusiasm for finding out trends in the field of journalism. That said, we are more than happy to receive any suggestions which can help us make our list better.
Do help us out in our quest to know more by answering these questions in the comment section:
- Which are the top 3 Odia newspapers, according to your tastes?
- Do you prefer reading Odia-language newspapers over other news sources? If yes, then why?
- What is your opinion about the focus on regionalism among most newspapers in Orissa, especially those published in Odia?
- Have we missed out any relevant news source in our list? Please mention which ones.
- What is your view on the authority’s control over news in Orissa? What do you think about the political turns of the different newspapers?
- Which Odia news sources, do you think, are doing the best at maintaining neutrality?
- What do you think about our categorization of news sources in this article? Would you suggest any other category?
- Did any particular newspaper or website catch your attention?
- Do you read any of these English and/or Odia newspapers already? Are any of these your favorite?
- Is there any crucial information we have missed out on, related to English and/or Odia newspapers in Orissa?
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