The first edition of the Daily Courant, England’s first national daily newspaper, occurred on March 11, 314 years ago.

It was published by E. Mallet from the paper’s premises on Fleet Street, the London Boulevard which had been a centre of the printing industry since William Caxton’s contemporary Wynkyn de Worde set up business there in 1500.

Sources: London Ghosts and HubPages

The paper consisted of a single page with two columns and adverts on the back. The focus was on reporting foreign news.

The Daily Courant pledged to “give news daily and impartially” and allow its readers to make up their own opinions: “Nor will [the Author] take it upon himself to give any Comments or Conjectures of his own, but will relate only Matter of Fact; supposing other People to have Sense enough to make Reflections for themselves.”

The paper published regularly until 1735, when it merged with the Daily Gazetteer. More information at Columbia Journalism Review and at  Money Week.

There has been some controversy regarding who published the Daily Courant, with some sources pointing to Edward Mallet, others attributing it to Elizabeth Mallet, and some staying out of the dispute by giving credit to just E. Mallet. See A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life and TYCI for information on the subject.

A time line of the History of British Newspapers is available at News Media Association. You may also find Encyclopædia Britannica’s entry on “Newspaper” interesting.

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