2022-10-03 Brittany Ballard

National Newspaper Week – A Look Back into History

Step back into the folds of history to learn how newspapers first came to be

Did you know that the first week of October every year is National Newspaper Week? This observance, sponsored by Newspaper Association Managers, first started in 1940 – meaning that this year marks the 82nd annual National Newspaper Week!

While the news may not look the same as it did in 1940, it’s still important to billions of people around the world so that they can stay up to date on current news both locally and globally. And that’s why National Newspaper Week is so important to us here at Naviga. It’s a great time to recognize the service of newspapers and their employees!

“The newspaper is a greater treasure to the people than uncounted millions of gold.”


When Was The First Newspaper Published?

When you read the daily news, do you ever wonder when the first newspaper was released? The first documented type of print news was published in the 16th to 18th century, invented by the Austrian scholar Michael von Aitzing at the 1583 book fair in Frankfurt. These prints were called “Messrelations”, which is Early Modern German for “trade fair report,” and kept people up to date on political and military news that happened between editions.

Even though Aitzing was sharing printed news, his works weren’t technically newspapers. It didn’t take too long for them to come about. The first newspapers started at the turn of the 17th century – also in Germany! They were Relations: Aller Furnemmen, printed by Johann Carolus, and Aviso Relations over Zeitung, printed by Lucas Schulte – though, Carolus’s publication is usually identified as the original newspaper. These two newspapers paved the way for the rest of Europe to take up the pen to report the news and by 1641 almost every country in Europe had a newspaper.


The First Newspaper in the United States

The American colonies didn’t see newspapers until 1690 – almost 50 years later! The first regularly published newspaper is identified as “Publik Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick” and was produced by Benjamin Harris in Boston. Its first publication date was September 25, 1690. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long because the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony didn’t approve of Harris’s opinions.

From the very beginning, we see the struggle that extends even to today to keep newspapers free to deliver the truth.


How Did National Newspaper Week Get Started?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, National Newspaper Week was first observed in 1940 – which was right in the middle of World War II. According to National Day Calendar, it built on California’s Newspaper Appreciation Week. Since the World War II brought restrictions to the press in Europe, there was a lot of emphasis in the first several years on the dangers of the loss of a free press.


How You Can Observe National Newspaper Week

If you want to observe National Newspaper Week, it’s very simple to get involved:

  • Write a letter thanking the newspaper team for their work
  • Give your favorite newspaper a shout out on social media (using the hashtag #newspaperpower)
  • Share some of the amazing resources from nationalnewspaperweek.com

From all of us here at Naviga, we want to say “Thank You” to all publishers, editors, reporters, and columnists who work day in and out to provide us all with the latest news from around the globe. We are honored to be able to work hand-in-hand with you to ensure that the work you do is seen as widely as possible.

Happy National Newspaper Week!