A Short History of the News

News reporting has been going on for an incredibly long time.

In fact, it’s up there with some of the oldest professions in the world. The first recorded relaying of the news was when the Egyptian Pharoahs used couriers to visit every part of the empire, carrying new edicts and events for the people to be aware of.

This practice was picked up by the Romans, and later by the Chinese. And in a foreshadowing of the innovative ways they would later become famous for, the Chinese were also the first to move their news distribution to paper – previously they had used silk bolts.

The Egyptians and Romans used stone or metal, so this move to paper made things much more affordable (as well as making the news much easier to update).

Italy was the first state in early Europe to start disseminating news this way. While newssheets were primarily used for cross-border communications, the common people still got their fix – town criers kept everyone updated.

Despite Italy having picked up the idea first, Germany was the first country to publish a newspaper as we would recognise it today.

Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien (or, ‘Account of all distinguished and commemorable news’) was published in Strasbourg in 1605.

France soon got in on the act, establishing the first ever news agency in 1835 – Agence France-Press set the standard that we still adhere to today. A reporter gathers information, brings it to the agency for processing and then mass dissemination.

Today of course, there are a few more options than the simple newspaper.

Since the 19th Century we’ve added television, radio, online agency and social media reporting. There has never been a time in history when we have more access to news and what’s happening around the world.

And while the quality of the news can at times seem dubious – what with 24 hour reporting, budget cuts that remove editorial staff, and the completely unregulated nature of personal reporting – it’s utterly exciting.

We have so many avenues to explore and so many opportunities to use the news, rather than just absorbing it.