According to various journalism histories, newsletters were used in the Middle Ages to help well-known trading families communicate with each other. In the German city of Augsburg , for example, the Fuggers family published a newsletter of business information related to its financial business. Such newsletters, which were published between 1568 and 1604, had information about the availability and the price of goods. The newsletters had the same goal as many business newspapers and media outlets of today: To transmit important information about the markets and to analyze that information. Matthews called them “reports of those who have heard the echo of events as they reverberated through the markets of the world” and said they “represent the news as it might appear on the unedited, continuously moving tape of a press agency’s teletype: true reports and false rumors, trivial occurrences and important events.” Among the topics discussed in the Fugger newsletters were deaths of kings and queens, wars, the arrival and departure of ships, the burning of the exchange in Antwerp , executions and the demise of the Spanish Armada at the hands of the British in 1588.

<< Back to the Timeline