By Anya Schiffrin
Journalists love thinking about journalism so I was happy recently to spend some time reading 18th and 19th century Indian newspapers, part of the collection housed at the Jawaharal Nehru Library in New Delhi. With my new book BAD NEWS: How America’s financial press missed the story of the century just published, I was looking at early examples of business and economics coverage. In addition to its outdoor canteen that serves samosas and masala chai for 25 cents, the Nehru library has a formidable collection with everything from old communist party papers and the Bombay Spectator to the famous “Hickey’s Bengal Gazette or the original Calcutta General Advertifer” and the missionary newspaper “Friend of India.” These short papers carried all sorts of amusing advertisements on the front page. Instead of classified ads for cars, they advertised carriages imported from London, bolts of indigo and all sorts of scary medicines. There were also plenty of announcements for clipper ships bound for China and looking for cargo consisting of opium.