Today, the news became daily.
Newspapers predated printing technology: Governments in ancient China and Rome produced handwritten news sheets, and the leaders of Venice similarly published a newsletter starting in the early 1500s. It’s quite likely these newfangled inventions put some town criers out of work, but they weren’t really newspapers in terms of freedom of expression, availability, and regularity of publication. They were official government organs, and most countries were busy at work in the 17th century trying to shut down or limit any use of newsprint to promote ideas other than those of the nobility (or that didn’t enrich them). The UK’s Licensing of the Press Act of 1662 could get a printer fined or imprisoned if the Stationers Company hadn’t first approved the operation (the Stationers also imposed a form of copyright protection, though did so by operating as a monopoly over all forms of publishing)
Then things changed, as entrepreneurs won the rights to publish, and somewhat frequent and widely-available newspapers sprung up across Europe. When licensing lapsed in the UK in the late 1600s, papers like the Post Boy, Observator, and Domestick Intelligence joined Gazette’s in Edinburgh and London popped up, borrowing from coffeehouse conversations, church sermons, and featuring paid requests for information or solicitations for buying and selling categorized as “advertisements.” These publications were often just as biased as the government publications with which they now competed. The one-page Daily Courant first appeared on this day in 1702 and is widely regarded as the first daily newspaper in English, though primarily because it contained the word “daily” in its title. The government would still shut down papers its felt were treasonous and pass new newspaper taxes in 1712, but by then the genie was out of the bottle. Newspapers would go on to publish multiple issues on any given day.
If books were the websites of the printing press Internet, were newspapers its blogs?