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Welsh newspaper celebrates 150 years in print

Despite reports by the BBC last year that some Welsh newspapers had experienced circulation drops by as much as 28%, one Welsh daily newspaper has just celebrated its 150th birthday.

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The front page of the earliest surviving copy of the Welsh Western Mail, collected by the National Library of Wales

The Western Mail was first published on May 1st, 1869 and was headed by editor Henry Lascelles Carr.

Over the last century, 15 editors followed, and the newspaper is now led by its first female editor, Catrin Pascoe, who has been in the role since 2016.

In celebration of the newspaper’s milestone, a free eight-page pull-out was included in today’s edition (May 1st).

The newspaper has been described by Pascoe as being “at the very heart of Welsh life” since its beginning.

In an editorial dedicated to recognising the anniversary, Pascoe writes: “Each day the Western Mail features stories that scrutinise, interest, shine the light, champion causes, investigate, make you care, campaign, fascinate.”

Reflecting on the role of its journalists in keeping the publication afloat, Pascoe adds: “With this heritage our award-winning journalists bring news, reaction, analysis and reaction to your fingertips with authority, expertise and experience in each and every edition.

The indisputable fact is that our title remains a distinctively Welsh voice in a media landscape dominated by London

“We have done this through great economic change, and through seismic social movements and fights for equality that Wales has inspired and driven, and we will continue to do this.”

As to why it is that the Western Mail has remained strong amidst times of uncertainty over the future of print, Pascoe says: “The indisputable fact is that our title remains a distinctively Welsh voice in a media landscape dominated by London.

“With the march of devolution and Brexit, never has this representation and scrutiny in the name of public interest – in the name of Wales’ interests – been more important.”

Acknowledging a rise in digital media, Pascoe adds: “The newsroom of today with its tech and up-to-the-second analytics is a very different place to the one our founding editor would recognise.”

As well as the tribute, the supplement also included reproductions of the first-ever front page from May 1st, 1869, a photograph of its original building in Cardiff’s St Mary’s Street and a montage of all 16 of the title’s editors.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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