The oldest newspaper in the world closes its doors after 320 years – DW – 02/07/2023

The Wiener Zeitung, which was founded in 1703 and is considered the oldest newspaper in the world still in circulation, published its last print edition on Friday and will continue in its digital form after a significant reduction in staff, local media reported on Saturday (01.07.2023).

“116,840 days, 3,839 months, 320 years, 12 presidents, 10 emperors, 2 republics, 1 sheet,” the Wiener Zeitung sums up its story on its last front page.

The event marked the final step in a years-long dispute between the Austrian government and the newspaper over the future of the State Daily.

Founded in 1703 as the Wiennerisches Diarium, then renamed the Wiener Zeitung in 1780, the previously private bi-monthly newspaper was nationalized by Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1857, becoming the country’s official newspaper.

“It has been passed by a majority,” Norbert Hofer, the third speaker of parliament, said of a new law to fundamentally move publishing online from 1 July.

The newspaper would maintain at least ten publications in print annually, depending on available funds.

he wiener zeitung The World Association of News Publishers told AFP that the newspaper was classified in 2004 as one of the oldest newspapers still in circulation.

The paper’s role as an official newspaper, its main source of income, will be transferred to a separate online government platform. The government argued that this was in line with the European directive to centralize and disseminate official information on the Internet.

Closure protests

In the meantime, Wiener Zeitung will set up a media center, a content agency, and a training center for journalists.

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“Some fear that the government only wants to keep the Wiener Zeitung with its 320-year history, while no one knows what the future publication will look like, whether it will still be serious journalism,” deputy editor Matthias Ziegler told AFP.

Nearly half of the newspaper’s more than 200 employees, including 40 journalists, could be fired, according to their union.

Wiener Zeitung Austria It has a circulation of about 20,000 copies on weekdays and almost twice that on weekends.

European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova told the Austrian news agency APA that she was “not satisfied with the situation”.

“I think the Wiener Zeitung has played a good role in informing people over the years.”

Several hundred people took to the streets of Vienna on Tuesday to protest the government’s move.

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