The world’s oldest newspaper has printed its last daily edition almost 320 years after it began.
Wiener Zeitung is a daily newspaper based in Vienna that will no longer be printing daily editions. A recent law change has made it unprofitable as a printed product.
The law, which was passed in April by Austria’s coalition government, ended a legal requirement for companies to pay to publish public announcements in the print edition of the newspaper, terminating Wiener Zeitung’s role as an official gazette.
This change resulted in an estimated €18m (£15m) loss of income for the publisher, according to Der Spiegel, and has forced the paper to cut 63 jobs, including reducing its editorial staff from 55 to 20.
It will continue publishing online and hopes to distribute a printed edition each month, though that plan is said to still be in development.
The newspaper was founded in August 1703, and has been published by 12 presidents, ten kaisers, and two republics.
In its first edition, it said it would provide a straightforward account of the news “without any oratory or poetic gloss”.
In 1768 it reported on a concert starring an “especially talented” 12-year-old. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was his name.
After Austria lost the First World war, the newspaper published a special version with the abdication of the last Habsburg imperial, Kaiser Karl.
In its last daily print edition on Friday, it ran an editorial blaming the government’s new law for the end of its print run and said: “These are stormy times for quality journalism … On more and more platforms, serious content vies for attention with fake news, cat videos and conspiracy theories.”
In April, its weekday circulation was only 20,000 copies. However, this number doubled on weekends.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was one its final interviewees, along with the former Austrian chancellors Franz Vranitzky and Wolfgang Schüssel.
The EU commission vice-president Věra Jourová told the Austrian news agency APA that she was “not happy with the situation” at the newspaper. “I think the Wiener Zeitung played a good role in informing people over the years,” she said.
The newspaper has only had one forced interruption in its three centuries. After Austria was incorporated into Hitler’s Germany, the paper was shut down by the Nazis in 1939. It began printing in 1945, when Austria was still under the allied occupation.
The world’s oldest surviving newspaper is now thought to be the German publication Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung, which was first published in 1705.