Lagos Times was first published in 1880, starting a tradition of active and diverse debate in the mass media. The Lagos Daily News became the first daily in 1920 and ran until 1936, providing with the West African Pilot an urban perspective on Nigeria's campaign for independence.

Today Greater Lagos is home to numerous newspapers and magazines, most privately owned and retaining their editorial independence against the odds. Among government-owned newspapers are the Daily Times and the Lagos Horizon, owned by the Federal Government and Lagos State Government respectively. Older privately owned dailies include the Punch, Guardian, Concord, and Vanguard ; all four also publish during weekends. The Post Express and P.M. News (an evening paper) were established in the late 1990s. The list of weekly news and lifestyle magazines published in greater Lagos include Newswatch, African Guardian, African Concord, Tempo, ThisWeek, and Tell. In turn, titles such as Quality and Lagos Life are devoted to soft human stories, gossip, and lifestyles.

Private radio and television stations have been in operation since 1993. At least nine television channels and several radio stations are received with varying clarity in the city and metropolitan Lagos. Some private TV channels are seen to compete effectively with government-owned stations and are relied upon to furnish views not necessarily reflecting official preferences.