Some Facts About Newspapers (No Foolin’!)

  • The newspaper synonym ‘gazette’ comes from a Renaissance-era Venetian currency, the gazetta.  One of these small coins was the price a citizen paid in 1556 for the Notizie scritte, official printed announcements of government affairs.
  • Our project’s digitization efforts encompass the years 1890-1920; the  period known as the “Golden Age” of print media.  Newspapers had their widest readership and greatest influence during this era.
  • Increasingly, the Web is the contemporary medium of choice for accessing newspaper content.  According to the Newspaper Association of America, newspaper Websites draw over one-third (37%) of all Web users—an average monthly unique audience of 72 million as of 2009.
  • According to 2008 figures collected by the World Association of Newspapers, the top newspaper by circulation is the Japanese-language Yomiuri Shimbun, with an average daily circulation of 14,067,000.  (This is about 6 times the circulation of USA Today!) In fact, the top five papers by circulation are all from Japan. While no one disputes that Japan is a nation of dedicated newspaper readers, some have claimed that the circulation numbers of Japanese papers are routinely inflated by “Oshigami,” the institutionalized process of circulation exaggeration.
  • What are the oldest newspapers still being published today?
    • Oldest in the World:  Post- och Inrikes Tidningar (Sweden), began 1645
    • Oldest in English Language:  The London Gazette (UK), began 1665
    • Oldest in the United States:  The Hartford Courant (CT), began 1764
    • Oldest in Oregon:  The Portland Oregonian, began 1850
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