I would like to start with a brief description of the early history of news publishing in England and how it got into the paper. This exhibition traces the development of journalism and the newspaper in England, from the pre-existing corant-form manuscripts to the introduction of newspapers in America in the late 17th century to the birth of the first newspaper in England in 1702. The invention of the news traces the beginning of the European news system to the creation of the postal system first by the Romans, then by France and the Holy Roman Empire, and finally by the German emperors in the early 16th century.
In sixteenth and seventeenth century England, when the government banned the printing of national news and newspapers had not yet been invented, letters were the most common form of news transmission. Word of mouth was extremely unreliable and died out with the invention. In 1642, as government control of the printing presses collapsed due to the English Civil Wars (1642–1651), newspapers such as A Perfect Diurnall began printing local and foreign news. In 1642, when the civil war broke out in England, the public demand for news was insatiable, and the number of newspapers and pamphlets grew.
Newspapers circulated so rapidly in England after the early eighteenth century that the government at the time considered reintroducing censorship. Such was the threat of government action that newspapers and their predecessors until the sixteenth century focused mainly on foreign news and reported domestic news very cautiously.
In the last decade of the century, news releases have become increasingly numerous and have taken the form of information pamphlets. For some time they were preserved in the form of queues of manuscripts in printed newspapers, but by the middle of the century they disappeared.
The distribution of newspapers, especially in the provinces, the loosening of restrictions on national news, the cessation of England’s participation in the continental wars for four decades, all affected the distribution of newspapers. Due to censorship, which operated mainly at a regional and local level in German-speaking countries, 18th-century newspapers devoted 70 percent of their content to foreign newspapers and just under 30 percent to news from the Empire. In almost all newspapers of the 17th century, but also in the 18th century, one can see a preference for foreign news. However, tightly controlled monopoly newspapers tend to be an exception to this rule, but their reporting was not critical.
In most continental countries, advertising was printed mainly in newspapers specifically designed for this purpose (French affiches, German Intelligenzblatter), but in eighteenth-century England there was a tradition of newspapers combining commercial advertising and political news. By the end of the 19th century, advertising had become widespread and became the main source of income for newspaper owners. Modern electronics, which has installed a television in almost every home in the Western world, has also revolutionized the process of newspaper printing, allowing news articles and photographs to be broadcast and published simultaneously in many parts of the world.
Newspapers from all major countries became much more important in the 19th century due to a series of technical, economic, political and cultural changes. As in the days of the handwritten chronicle, in the early 17th century, Italy was the region with the most printed news. In the 1400s, businessmen in Italian and German cities compiled handwritten chronicles of important news and distributed it to their business contacts.
The regular distribution of news is largely dependent on the infrastructure of the postal service, which was developed in the German Empire, France and England in the late 15th century. Andrew Petgley believes that this development of the international postal system is necessary for news dissemination. This handwritten journal circulated in many parts of Europe until the time of the French Revolution, but soon in the early 17th century, the development of a reliable postal system led to the creation of the first printed editions, which were issued alongside the journal.
William Caxton introduced the first English printing press in 1476, and the first newspapers appeared in England in the early 16th century. To aid in the categorization and interpretation of news published by newspapers, many new print genres were created beginning in the late 17th century. In the 19th century, the first independent newspapers made a major contribution to popularizing the concepts of literacy, human rights and democratic freedoms. The first real newspaper was the Relation aller Fuernemmen und gedenckwurdigen Historien Weekly (“the collection of all outstanding and memorable news”), which began publishing in Strasbourg in 1605.
Everyone would be European, as there were no American newspapers in the 16th and 17th centuries (one exception is noted below). Sheets of paper (French canards, German Flugblaters or Neue Zeitungen), the first printed news items, began to appear in the 16th century and carry news of unusual events such as battles, royal deaths, and “miracles” such as two-headed calves. In international affairs, the most important newspapers of the seventeenth century are the so-called Gazettes dHollande, newspapers published in French but published in Holland or in other parts of Europe where the censorship systems of the major powers have not penetrated. The characteristics we find in today’s newspapers – editorials, feature stories, advice for lovers, news, advertisements – all arose before the end of the first decade of the eighteenth century.
The invention of news ends with the advent of newspapers at the end of the eighteenth century. The public’s thirst for news during this tumultuous period produced the first known periodicals in England. A real boom struck not only London, the traditional information hub (about 20 newspapers, including 14 newspapers in 1790), but also the provinces, where in the 18th century. about 70 newspapers were published.