It would be of no surprise that Massachusetts has the longest history of newspaper publishing anywhere in the colonies. The very first printing press in the colonies was set up there, and by 1690 a newspaper was published in Boston, “Public Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick”, but lasting but a single issue. In November of 2008 I did a post specifically on this title so I won’t dwell on this effort other than to say that it lasted but a single issue before being suppressed.
It was not for another fourteen years that Bartholomew Green, of the very famous Green family of printers, had the honor of printing the first newspaper to be permanently established in the colonies, the Boston “News-Letter“. Green published it for the owner, John Campbell, for 18 years and when Campbell retired Green & his successors continued the publication until the evacuation of Boston 1776, at which point the newspaper ceased.
The third newspaper in Massachusetts, also in Boston, was the famed “Boston Gazette“, printed for owner William Brooker by James Franklin, elder brother to Benjamin. This newspaper started on Dec. 21, 1719 and when sold James Franklin decided to begin a newspaper of his own. The “New-England Courant” began Aug. 7,1721 and it was on this project that Benjamin Franklin gained his apprenticeship as a printer. He would then move to Philadelphia, buy the Pennsylvania Gazette, and the rest is, well, history.
So it was that the first three newspapers in the American colonies were all published in Boston, although it was a close call. The first newspaper outside of Boston, the “American Weekly Mercury “, began in Philadelphia on Dec. 22, 1719, just one day after the “Boston Gazette “.