Where Was the First Newspaper Printed?
The first newspaper was probably the Tsing Pao (“News of the Capital”), a court journal published in Beijing (Peking). It is said to have started as early as the 500s, and continued publication until 1935. In the beginning, it was printed from carved wooden blocks, and was published by the Chinese government to inform people of important events.
There was also a government “newspaper” in ancient Rome. It recorded current events, and was called the Acta Diurna (“Daily Events”). They were carved in metal or stone and posted in public places.
Around 1450 German inventor Johannes Gutenberg (circa. 1397–1468) introduced the movable-type printing press, which spurred the development of the modern newspaper. By the 1600s several newspapers were in circulation in Germany.
The rotary press (a huge, automated roll-fed press that could print on sheets of any size) was invented in the 1800s and made wider circulation possible throughout the world. This invention allowed newspapers to become a common and widely available means of communication. By the 16th century, people were paying for newspapers.
In Early modern Europe the increased cross-border interaction created a rising need for information which was met by concise handwritten newssheets, called avvisi. In 1556, the government of Venice first published the monthly Notizie scritte, which cost one gazetta, a small coin.
These avvisi were handwritten newsletters and used to convey political, military, and economic news quickly and efficiently to Italian cities (1500–1700)—sharing some characteristics of newspapers though usually not considered true newspapers.
However, none of these publications fully met the classical criteria for proper newspapers, as they were typically not intended for the general public and restricted to a certain range of topics.