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Inquirer Newspaper Managing Editor’s statement that radio invention precedes newspaper is untrue!

Claim: The Managing Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper claimed that “radio was the first before newspapers came about.”

Inquirer Newspaper Managing Editor’s statement that radio invention precedes newspaper is untrue!

Verdict: False. A BBC report shows the radio was invented in the 1800s, while other credible reports show the first newspaper was made in the 1600s.

Full Text

The Managing Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper, Christiana Jimmy, appeared as a guest on World Radio Day, on a famous early morning radio show, The OK Morning Rush on OK FM in Monrovia.

When quizzed by the host, Madam Jimmy said, “As to what extent do you think radio is impacting the world,” she responded, “Radio is impacting the world at a very significant speed.” She added that “radio was the first before newspaper came about.” 

Her response which spanned from 1:41:40-1:41:52, attracted lots of responses from the online and offline audience of the show, given that she and the other guests are popular and influential voices within the Liberian media landscape.  

Ironically, in the interview, Madam Jimmy cautioned journalists and media practitioners to be careful of what they say on the radio because the medium has a wide reach. She also added that the caution is due to how journalists play an instrumental role in information dissemination.

Based on the comments made by Madam Jimmy, DUBAWA decided to set the records straight on the history of mass communication to discover which of the inventions came first, the radio or newspapers.


The history of mass communication is a common subject of interest to many journalists, fact-checkers, and mass communicators. Several authorities have written for decades about how the various mass communication technologies have evolved and how each has impacted the generation, as seen here, here and here.

Hearing Christiana Jimmy say the radio came before the newspaper was curious. DUBAWA contacted Madame Winnie Jimmy, also the Vice President of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL),) to ask for the source of her claim. 

She referenced UKEasy’s July 26, 2021 work ‘Radio as a Medium of Mass Communication,’ from which she sent screenshots of portions of the work via a messenger chat exchange, among which she specifically highlighted a part that reads: “Radio was the first truly mass medium of communication, reaching millions’.

Inquirer Newspaper Managing Editor’s statement that radio invention precedes newspaper is untrue!
Highlighted screenshot from Madam Jimmy 

The UKEssays’ work Madam Jimmy referenced states a disclaimer: “Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Is radio truly the first mass communication tool to reach millions of people?

It is common knowledge that mass communication started with the introduction of the printing press, giving birth to newspapers. Johannes Gutenberg, credited with the printing press and newspapers, served several thousand readers even before radio as a medium of mass communication.

Again, Sutori, a popular US-based website, shows that the first newspaper was made in the 1600s. Before the invention of the newspaper, the site furthered the handwritten news sheets circulated widely in Vincennes as early as 1556.

Whereas newspapers emerged in the 1600s, the radio was invented in 1800.

A report from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) showed that in the early 1860s, the Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, derived four equations that together describe the behaviour of electricity and magnetism. They predicted the existence of a previously unknown phenomenon: electromagnetic waves. These waves were first observed in the early 1880s, and over the next two decades, a succession of scientists and engineers built increasingly elaborate devices to produce and detect them.  Eventually, this gave birth to a new technology: radio.  The report further noted that the Italian Guglielmo Marconi is commonly described as the father of radio.

According to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio in 1895 and transmitted electrical signals through the air. The experiences were, in effect, the dawn of practical radio.


Checks from the BBC and other sources show that the newspaper was invented in the 1600s. In comparison, the radio came about in the 1800s, and the claim from the Inquirer Newspaper Managing Editor that “radio was the first before newspaper came about” is untrue.

”The researcher produced this explainer per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship in partnership with The Stage Media – Liberia, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.”

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