Elizabeth Mallet, the Director of London’s First Daily
Location: The Daily Courant
Adresse: Fleet Street, London EC4
On March 11, 1702, the first daily newspaper in Britain was published in London. It was called The Daily Courant and it was launched by a woman, Elizabeth Mallet, the first editor in history, from her offices next to the King’s Arms pub in Fleet Bridge. The times required that a woman’s name not appear on the paper but, rather, the neutral “E. Mallet”. And so it was. The paper was comprised of a single sheet with two columns, with foreign news on one side and advertisements on the back. Who knows how the paper would be seen today, perhaps with admiration or a bit of skepticism, this publisher who, along with her husband David Mallet, between 1670 and 1680, dominated the news world at the time, printing, among other things, the discourses of condemned prisoners before their public executions, held in Tyburn. Elizabeth Mallet might seem atypical compared to the environment of the publishing world today. She once said that she intended to publish foreign news items without additional comments or personal conjecture, feeling that her readers had “enough common sense to think for themselves” and draw their own conclusions about the facts. However, this courageous publishing endeavour didn’t end well and, after only forty days after the first issue, Mallet sold The Daily Courant to Samuel Buckley (future editor of the The Spectator) who moved it to offices in the Little Britain area of London. The Daily Courant survived until 1735, when it merged with the Daily Gazetteer.