320-year-old newspaper to end print run

Picture taken on April 26, 2023 at the Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian national library) in Vienna, Austria, shows an issue from January 1, 1780, of the Wiener Zeitung newspaper, as it was renamed from “Vienna´s diary” (Wiennerisches Diarium) to “Wiener Zeitung”. —AFP 

Vienna: The Austrian parliament decided Thursday to end the print run of one of the world’s oldest newspapers Wiener Zeitung and move it online.

The decision came after a years-long spat between the Austrian government and the newspaper around the fate of the state-owned paper.

The paper, founded in 1703, initially circulated under the name Wiennerisches Diarium and was later renamed to Wiener Zeitung in 1780. The Daily was a private entity until it was nationalised by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in 1857, becoming the country’s official gazette.

“It is adopted with a majority,” Norbert Hofer, the third president of the parliament, said of a new law to shift the publication online from July 1.

However, the old paper will keep a minimum of ten print publications per year, relying on the budgets available.

The World Association of News Publishers told the press that, in 2004, the Wiener Zeitung was ranked as one of the oldest newspapers still in circulation.

The newspaper’s primary source of income as the official gazette will move to a separate state-owned online platform.

The Austrian government claimed that this was in accordance with a European order to centralise and issue official information online.

Meanwhile, the Wiener Zeitung will establish a media hub, a content agency, and a training centre for journalists.

According to its trade union, almost half of the newspaper’s over 200 employees, including 40 journalists, could lose their jobs due to the shift. 

The Wiener Zeitung has a circulation of about 20,000 on weekdays and about twice as much on weekends.

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