The History of Newspapers
Today, people can use newspapers to find out many things. One can use
the newspaper to check sports scores, get the day's news, read "feel good"
stories, or even find out their horoscope. It was not always that way. From
the "Acta Diurna," reported in the ancient Roman empire, to the New York
Times, newspapers have come a long way. In this report, the distance that
newspapers have traveled since their inception is going to be outlined.
Before literacy was commonplace in societies, town criers would announce
the news of the land to the land's people. These criers used oratory skills
to spread the news on crossroads and the marketplace. Messengers would be
commissioned to report to the town after battles to report a victory or a
defeat to the townspeople. As people became more civilized and language and
literacy was developed, news that was delivered by spoken word was starting
to be written down.
In 59 BC, Julius Caesar released the "Acta Diurana." This was a daily
gazette which was printed and hung in the Roman Forum. This gazette would
report news of Rome, such as military campaigns, executions, and trials. The
Chinese also started government-produced news sheets called the taipo. While
the "Acta" was the news for the entire populace of Rome, the taipo was only
for the government officials until about 618 AD Those were the only noted
types of printed news until 1456, when Gutenburg invented movable type.
Soon after the printing press was invented, there was a written account
of a tournament in Rome in about 1470. There were letters written by
Christopher Columbus which were circulating Barcelona before Columbus
returned from Spain in 1493. For about one-hundred-thirty years, there were
pamphlets, sheets of paper, and books being printed and circulated with news
events. Although these were written accounts of news utilizing movable type,
they were not considered newspapers. Modern newspapers as we know them began
in the late1500's.
In 1566, the Venetian avisi began. This publication was regularly
distributed throughout Venice. There was information about wars and politics
in Italy and also the rest of Europe. They were printed weekly. This set
the stage for other newspapers to follow the format outlined in those papers.
They employed the style of using a dateline. This is only speculation, but
this packet says early newspapers in Venice used the city where the news came
from and then it put the date next to it. Perhaps that is where our dateline
comes from. Early in the 17th century, regularly printed newspapers became
more of the rule as opposed to the exception.
Weekly newspapers began circulation in Frankfort and Vienna (1615),
Hamburg (1616), Berlin (1617), and Amsterdam (1618). England was not far
behind as corantos were being printed. Corantos were single sheet tracts
dealing with current foreign affairs. In 1655, the "Gazette"...