Still, some newspapers have persevered.
The “Maryland Gazette,” now “The Capital,” is the oldest surviving newspaper in the United States. Founded in 1727, the paper has been printed throughout the Annapolis area as the operation moved.
Interestingly, Jonas Green, the paper’s second publisher, was a protege of Benjamin Franklin.
While Green was publisher, the paper sold for 12 shillings, sixpence – a little more than a dime in today’s money. For advertisers, it cost five shillings for a week, then one shilling after that. When advertisers couldn’t afford that, Green would trade for supplies as money was difficult to come by.
Green was also strongly in favor of Colonial rights, refusing to pay the tax associated with the Stamp Act. Instead of paying the tax when forced, he temporarily suspended operations. When Green died, his wife took over and continued to run the paper as an independent operation. The paper remained in the Green family for 94 years.
The “Maryland Gazette” proved to be a mainstay of the region, surviving the martial law during the Civil War, and later having its circulation expand to bi-weekly after being purchased and merged with “Evening Capital” in 1919.
“Wiener Zeitung” was founded in 1703 under its original name, “Wiennerisches Diarium.” This Austrian newspaper is one of the oldest globally and is still in circulation to this day.
The paper was originally a tool for the Government of the Republic of Austria to make formal announcements. The paper was published bi-weekly and around eight pages in length. In wartime, the paper offered insights into conflict by publishing notes written by the Austrian army.
The paper also served as a source of regional and international news. Births, weddings, and obituaries we printed in the paper too.
What makes this paper interesting is that as of 1988, the paper is owned by GmbH, a private company, but the government remains the publisher. The government still uses the paper to make formal announcements.
Today, the printed version is no longer available, but it is available online.
The “Whanganui Chronicle” was originally founded in 1856 and remains one of New Zealand’s oldest and most popular newspapers. Based in Whanganui, a city located on the west coast of the North Island, it services several regions and towns.
The first printing of the paper only happened thanks to the ingenuity of Henry Stokes and Reverend Charles Nicholls, who constructed a wood and iron printing press to publish the first edition of the paper. The paper’s motto started as “Verite Sans Peur,” which is French for “Truth without Fear.”
The paper proved successful and quickly expanded to tri-weekly publishing in 1871. The “Whanganui Chronicle” had local competition from “The Evening Herald,” but the two papers merged in the 1970s.
Ownership of the paper changed in 2014, and readership has grown, too. As of September 2020, readership rose to 23,000, an increase of 8,000 from 2019.
Many Papers Have Survived
In researching this article, it is clear that many newspapers have survived the struggles that have killed so many others. Local newspapers seem to do better, with more regional newspapers having merged many times just to stay afloat. Most papers have reduced their publication schedule and rely on publishing content online rather than physical papers being printed and delivered.
If you can support your local newspaper, do that. Not only is it for a good cause, but it will help to keep you informed on what is happening in your area.