|Owner(s)||Johnston Publishing (NI)|
|Political alignment||British unionism|
|Headquarters||6-9 Donegall Square South |
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The News Letter is one of Northern Ireland's main daily newspapers, published Monday to Saturday. It is the oldest English language general daily newspaper still in publication, having first been printed in 1737.
The newspaper's editorial stance and readership, while originally republican, is now unionist. Its primary competitors are the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. The News Letter has changed hands several times since the mid-1990s, and since 2005 is owned by the Johnston Press holding company Johnston Publishing (NI). The full legal title of the newspaper is the Belfast News Letter, although the word Belfast does not appear on the masthead any more.
Founded in 1737, the Belfast News Letter was printed in Joy's Entry in Belfast. The Joys were a family of Huguenot descent who added much to eighteenth-century Belfast, noted for their compiling materials for its history. Francis Joy, who founded the paper, had come to Belfast early in the century from the County Antrim village of Killead. In Belfast, he married the daughter of the town sovereign, and set up a practice as an attorney. In 1737, he obtained a small printing press which was in settlement of a debt, and used it to publish the town's first newspaper at the sign of 'The Peacock' in Bridge Street. The family later bought a paper mill in Ballymena, and were able to produce enough paper not only for their own publication but for the whole province of Ulster.
Originally published three times weekly, it became daily in 1855. The title is now located at two addresses - a news section in Donegall Square South in central Belfast, and a features section in Portadown, County Armagh. Before the partition of Ireland, the News Letter was distributed island-wide.
The paper publishes several weekly and infrequent supplements, such as Farming Life and Catwalk. It also prints many titles for other publishers including Trinity Mirror and Guardian Media Group. It also prints the Ulster-Scots Agency publication, The Ulster-Scot.
|Year (period)||Average circulation per issue|
|2005 (July to December)|
|2007 (January to June)|
|2008 (January to June)|
|2011 (January to June)|
|2013 (January to June)|
|2016 (January to June)|
|2017 (January to June)|
|2018 (January to June)|
|2018 (July to December)|
|2019 (January to June)|
... Sam McBride, political editor of the unionist-leaning Belfast Newsletter.