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Tuesday, 13 September 2016


The Roman Acta Diurna (Daily Events) was arguably the world's first newspaper. It was a series of short announcements containing official intelligence of battles, elections, fires, games and religious rites. They were kept as public records, posted up in the forum in Rome, and sometimes copied for dispatch to the provinces.

The Dibao was a publication issued by central and local governments in imperial China. The reports contained imperial rescripts (an emperor's official reply to a question) and official news.. Different sources place their first publication as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) or as late as the Tang Dynasty (June 18, 618–June 4, 907).

In medieval Europe the main source of news was the newssheet, which was hand-written by official scribes and read aloud by town criers

The development of the printing press in the 15th century resulted in the newsbook, or news pamphlet, which flourished as a means of disseminating information on particular topics of interest.

By the final decade of the 15th century, publication of newsbooks was running at more than twenty a year in England alone, matching a regular supply on the Continent.

In the 1530s, a printing press was set up in Mexico City, and the first Mexican news pamphlet was published there in 1541.

Avvisi, or Gazzettes (not gazettes), were a mid-16th-century Venice phenomenon. They were issued on single sheets, folded to form four pages, and issued on a weekly schedule. In 1563 the Venetian republic set a precedent by charging an admission fee of one gazeta (approximately three-fourths of a penny) to public readings of the latest news concerning the war with Turkey , thus recognizing a commercial demand for news, even on the part of the illiterate.

The first newsletter generally recognized as a definite newspaper was the Strasbourg Relation, first printed in 1609 by Johann Carolus.

Title page of Carolus' Relation from 1609, the earliest newspaper

The earliest periodical publication with "news of the day" was the German Frankfurter Journal, a weekly publication started by Egenolph Emmel in 1615.

The first English newspaper, The Weekly Newes, was first published in London by Archer and Bourne in 1622.

The London Gazette, the oldest surviving English-language newspaper, was first published as The Oxford Gazette on November 7, 1665. Earlier that year the worst outbreak of plague in England since the Black Death had forced King Charles II to remove his court from London and relocate to Oxford. The Oxford Gazette emerged from this turmoil as courtiers were unwilling to touch, let alone hold to read, newspapers published in the capital for fear of contagion.

When the King returned to London as the plague dissipated, The Gazette moved too, with the first issue of The London Gazette being published on February 5, 1666. "Published by Authority" by journalist Henry Muddiman, the newspaper was sent by post to subscribers and became an authoritative and reliable source of news.

Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, the first newspaper to appear in the Americas, was published for the first and only time in Boston on September 25, 1690. The paper contained four 6-by-10-inch pages, but filled only three of them. No second edition was printed because the paper was shut down by the Colonial government four days later.

The Daily Courant, the first daily national newspaper in the world begun publication in London in 1702

The first regular newspaper in the United States, the News-Letter, was first published in Boston, Massachusetts in 1704.

By 1712, newspapers had become so big (broadsheet), the British government began taxing newspapers based on the number of their pages.

Ann Franklin became the first woman to hold the title of newspaper editor, when she was appointed the editor of The Newport Mercury in Newport, Rhode Island in 1762.

The Pennsylvania Packet & General Advertiser, launched in 1784, was the first successful regular daily newspaper in the United States.

The Times, the first newspaper of that name, began publication in London as The Daily Universal Register on January 1, 1785.

The Pittsburgh Gazette became the first US newspaper west of the Alleghenies to be published with its first edition July 29, 1786. The paper's name was later changed to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It is still printed daily in Pittsburgh.

The first edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, was published on January 1, 1788.

Front page of The Times from 4 December 1788

The Star and Evening Advertiser, the first daily evening newspaper, was first published in London on May 3, 1788.

The first edition of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, was published by W.S. Bourne in London on December 4, 1791. Believing that the paper would be a means of wealth, Bourne instead soon found himself facing debts of over £1,500. Bourne's wealthy businessman brother made an offer to the government, which agreed to subsidize it in return for influence over its editorial content. As a result, the paper soon took a strong line against radicals such as Thomas Paine and Joseph Priestley.

Noah Webster was a strong supporter of George Washington. In fact, he was such a strong supporter of the first president, that he established the first daily newspaper in New York City so that he could defend his hero. The American Minerva was first published on December 9, 1793.Webster was one of the first to make the daily newspaper a political force in America.

America's first Sunday newspaper, The Baltimore Monitor, was first published in 1796.

The Times of London was printed for the first time by automatic, steam powered presses on November 28, 1814. The presses were built by the German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, signaling the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience.

Diario Oficial El Peruano (The Peruvian Official Daily) was founded on October 22, 1825 by Simón Bolívar, making it the oldest newspaper still in existence in Latin America.

The French newspaper Le Figaro was founded in 1826. It derives its name from the character of Figaro who is featured in the plays of Beaumarchais, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro.

10-year-old Barney Flaherty became the first newsboy/paperboy on September 4, 1833, after he answered an ad in The New York Sun. 

In 1835, with $500 in capital, James Gordon Bennett launched the New York Herald, a one-penny daily paper aimed at a mass audience. Its editorials, unlike those of other papers, were not tied to the views of a particular party, and its coverage extended to sports and fashion, as well as to business and finance. He also featured sensational stories focused on sex and crime, made heavy use of illustrations, dispatched correspondents to far-flung regions, and stressed getting the news fast. By 1839, the Herald's circulation exceeded The London Times and was considered the most comprehensive newspaper in the country

The Times of India, the world's largest circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper was founded as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce on November 3, 1838.

09-22-2011 cover of The Times of India.Wikipedia Commons

The Illustrated London News is generally accepted to be the world's first illustrated newspaper. The first issue was published on May 14, 1842 priced at sixpence selling 26,000 copies.

Vorwärts!, was a biweekly newspaper published in Paris from January to December 1844. Edited by Karl Marx, it was described as the "most radical" European newspaper of its time.

The Cambridge Chronicle, America's oldest surviving weekly newspaper, was published for the first time in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 7, 1846.

The Oregon Spectator became the first newspaper published in American territory west of the Rocky Mountains in 1846.

The Illustrated London News published the first-ever Christmas supplement on December 23, 1848, with an illustration of the royal family by their Christmas tree at Windsor.

The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun was first published on November 2, 1874. The Yomiuri Shimbun is currently credited with having the largest newspaper circulation in the world. (9,690,000 in 2013).

First issue on 2 November 1874

The New York Times first began publication as the New-York Daily Times on September 18, 1851.

The first edition of The Washington Post was published on December 6, 1877. Three years later it added a Sunday edition, becoming the city's first newspaper to publish seven days a week.

The Cornell Daily Sun printed its first issue in Ithaca, New York in 1880. The Sun is the nation's oldest, continuously-independent college daily in the United States.

The first edition of the Los Angeles Times was published on December 4, 1881.

The New York Tribune became on July 3, 1886 the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating; the time-consuming process of setting type by hand. The machine was originally called "Blower" and later renamed "Linotype" (short for "Line of type"). Within six years of this day's demonstration, 1,000 Linotype machines had been made.

Linotype Simplex 1895. By Dr. Bernd Gross  Wikipedia

The first issue of The Wall Street Journal, the world's most circulated business daily newspaper, was published on July 8, 1889. It was founded by Charles H. Dow, of Dow Jones & Company, primarily to cover business and financial news.

The world's first Sunday newspaper color supplement was published in the New York World in 1893.

The first edition of London's Daily Mail was published on May 3, 1896, selling for a half penny.

The first comic strip was "The Yellow Kid," in the New York World in 1896. The cartoonist was Richard Felton Outcault.

Robert S. Abbott founded The Chicago Defender in 1905 for just $7. With the top circulation of any Black-owned newspaper in the United States it made him a multi-millionaire and contributed to The Great Migration.

Pravda was founded in Moscow by a wealthy railway engineer, V. A. Kozhevnikov in the early 20th century. He started publishing it in the light of the Russian Revolution of 1905. The paper was moved to Vienna in 1909, where Russian exile Leon Trotsky, took over its editorship. In 1912, the Communist party under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin decided to make Pravda its official mouthpiece. The paper was shifted from Vienna to St. Petersburg and the first issue under Lenin's leadership was published on May 5, 1912, the anniversary of Karl Marx's birth.

Vladimir Lenin reading Pravda

The Daily Mail became the first transoceanic newspaper on January 5, 1944 with the launch of the Transatlantic Daily Mail. It was a digest of the London edition, printed in New York.

On Coronation Day 1953, the Daily Mirror sold 7 million copies, the largest -ever daily sale by a daily paper in Britain.

The Sunday Times launched the first color supplement  in Britain with model Jean Shrimpton on the cover in 1962.

John F. Kennedy would read six newspapers while having breakfast.

In 1986 Today became the first daily newspaper to carry color pictures in Britain.

The fictional newspaper Daily Planet, where Lois Lane and Clark Kent (Superman) work is owned by Bruce Wayne (Batman).

Sources Encyclopedia Britannica, Daily Mail

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