The Expression "Photon-Stained Wretches" Doesn't Have Quite the Same Feel

The world's oldest newspaper, the Post-och Inrikes Tidningar of Sweden, has not only gone digital but also shut down what once would have been redundant to call its "print edition."

According to Editor & Publisher (via Tedra Osell):

The newspaper, founded in 1645 by Sweden's Queen Kristina, became a Web-only publication on Jan. 1....Queen Kristina used the publication to keep her subjects informed of the affairs of state, Holm said, and the first editions, which were more like pamphlets, were carried by courier and posted on note boards in cities and towns throughout the kingdom.

Today, Post-och Inrikes Tidningar, which means mail and domestic tidings, runs legal announcements by corporations, courts and certain government agencies -- about 1,500 a day according to Olov Vikstrom, the current editor.

The paper edition was certainly not some mass-market tabloid. It had a meagre circulation of only 1,000 or so, although the Web site is expected to attract more readers, Vikstrom said.

(more here, but not much)

Obviously this reinforces my sense of having somehow gotten slightly ahead of the curve. (I left Lingua Franca just a few months before it collapsed, then made the major switchover to writing online two years ago, before that started looking like a really good idea.) But it's also pretty sad, the marker of the end of more than the paper itself.

The figure referred to in the news article as "Queen Kristina" is, by the way, the one who froze Descartes to death.

February 6, 2007 2:00 PM | | Comments (1)

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Maybe it's time to switch things up, and use the web to revive a few seventeenth-century papers. I'd nominate the Athenian Mercury for starters.

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