A publication of the World Editors Forum


Sun - 17.12.2017

First newspaper dates back to 1605 (not 1609)

First newspaper dates back to 1605 (not 1609)

If you are an editor, remember Johann Carolus, maybe the first editor of our history! The World Association of Newspapers has accepted evidence produced by one of the world's leading printing museums that 2005 marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of the first newspaper in print. Scholars have generally put the date at 1609, the year of the first preserved editions. The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany, which houses the world's first printing press, has told WAN that the 'birth certificate' of the newspaper, 'Relation' (see photo), was unearthed in the town archives of Strasbourg, now in France but at the time a part of the so-called 'Deutsches Reich'. Martin Welke, founder of the German Newspaper Museum, who is also the 'father' of the discovery together with Professor Jean Pierre Kintz, a Strasbourg historian, told WAN that the publisher of 'Relation' was a certain Johann Carolus, who earned his living at the turn of the 17th century by producing hand-written newsletters, sold to rich subscribers at very high prices, reproducing news sent to him by a network of paid correspondents. "In 1604, he bought a complete printing shop from the widow of a famous printer," said Dr Welke. "In the summer of 1605 he switched to printing his... newspapers, because it took him 'too much time copying by hand'"."

"Carolus also calculated that he could earn a lot more money "by printing a higher circulation for a lower price". In October that year, Carolus wrote a petition to the Strasbourg city council asking for "protection against reprints by other printers". And the rest is history... The Gutenberg Museum will celebrate the 400th anniversary with a big exhibition in July 2005 retracing the evolution of newspapers over their entire history. Dr Welke is the trustee of this jubilee event. Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr



Bertrand Pecquerie


2005-03-01 16:14

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