Infographic: Printing Newspapers in Early Modern Germany

With the development of the bibliography comes the advantage of getting a clearer view on statistical aspects of newspaper publishing in Germany between 1609 and 1650. This post seeks to highlight some of the findings concerning the dimension of overall numbers of published titles, the frequency of places of correspondence and the average number of reports in an issue.

Furthermore, two case studies can enlighten practices of reporting regional news. The first study examines how news from Britain made it into the German newspapers and shows, that the majority of reports was brought to the Low Countries and made it into the system of correspondence in cities such as Amsterdam, The Hague and Dunkirk. Secondly, situated right in the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, Franconia is one of the commercial and cultural focal points of Early Modern Germany. The data gathered from the inspection of surviving copies shows how tight the net of correspondents that existed throughout the region, enabling readers to find out about events from more than 20 towns.

The full poster can be downloaded here.

 The Printing of Newspapers

1After the advent of the newspaper in Strasbourg in 1605, printed serials were established in a variety of larger and smaller towns in the Empire relatively quickly. The number of apers published rose steadily, despite falling back in the later years of the Thirty Years War.

 

Distribution of Places of Correspondence

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Each issue contained a number of reports (on average between 6 and 15), drawn from different centres of news gathering (described here as ‘places of correspondence’). The pie chart shows the importance of the economic and political centres of Cologne, Vienna and Venice in the business of news exchange, and the predominant East to West flow of news reports.

 

Distribution of Number of Reports

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Allthough printes usually worked together with a fixed number of correspondents, the number of reports per issue varied to a certain degreed. Sometimes the post was not delivered in time, or sometimes even nothing noteworthy happened, so no dispatch was sent to to the printer. However, most of the newspapers had between 8 and 10 reports, with a statstical middle of 8.9 reports per issue.

 

Case Study 1: News from Britain

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The ‘dateline’ given with a news report did not necessarily coincide with the location from which news was first reported. This case study of news from Britain show that only less than 1/3 of all British news reports (368) appeared under the headline of a British town or ‘From England’; most British news (1118 reports) reached the continent via Dutch towns.

 

Case Study 2: News from Franconia

5The two largest cities in Franconia were Nuremberg and Würzburg, both important centres of commerce, and, in the case of Nuremberg, a critical part of the nexus of protestant Free cities. In the 1630s Franconia was also a major theatre of warfare. Of more than 1,100 news reports emanating from this region 716 refer to a specific town and 393 report, more generically, ‘From Franconia’.

 

Notes and Sources

The figures represent the first stage of inspecting the German press between 1609 and 1650. The number of inspected issues as of May 2014 is 4,325 (of 10,214 known issues), representing 43.3% of the total.


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