And ... never better.

It’s always fun and quite a treat to meet our subscribers at events and on trips, and one of the questions that always come up is, will Nordstjernan survive in print? After six years of growth in print circulation and an unprecedented growth in subscribers in the first half of 2017, it’s easy to answer one part of the question: We’re turning 145 on September 21 and things probably haven’t looked better since before WWII.


As for the overall media trends … the myth of the disappearing printed word is nothing new. The demise of existing media has been predicted since the beginning of the technical advancements of the Industrial Revolution. As early as the 1890s people speculated that the introduction of the gramophone would spell the end to books. They’d be replaced by what’s today called audiobooks. It didn’t happen then and it won’t happen today.
After television was invented, many thought radio would die. Of course this didn’t happen. Remember when CDs would completely obliterate the vinyl record? Today, 30 years later, no one listens to CDs and, while much is said about Pandora, Apple Play or the larger Spotify (Swedish), vinyl is actually seeing a comeback.

From the phonograph invented by Edison in the mid 1800s to movies, radio, television, e-books, podcasts and smart phones, everything has raised concerns about the survival of print.
Rest assured, print media has endured many technical revolutions and is likely to survive this one as well. As a matter of fact, major publishers in 2016 reported a first-ever fall in e-book sales while printed books rose over 3% in the same year. And as I write this, I hear on the radio (through my computer) that Amazon opened a new bookstore in Manhattan just across from the Empire State Building. The electronic “bookstore killer” enters the brick-and-mortar world of books. Seriously: Digital and print are learning to coexist. Take the opportunity to follow us in print to see what you have missed so far: Subscribe to Nordstjernan, the Swedish Newspaper of America (These days 90% in English)

Interactive from the start

Tongue-in-cheek, Nordstjernan was most definitely interactive from the start 145 years ago.

The reality? Much like today, shouts from the editors to “Stop the presses!” for late-breaking news became mournfully founded in Nordstjernan’s first issue of September 21, 1872. Page one was printed early. It was important to include a mission statement and a proper feature of the newspaper’s purpose, which filled a large part of page one. Other major news for the week: King Carl XV, regent of Sweden and Norway, had become ill during a visit to Germany and was taken to the hospital in Malmö.

In fact, the King had died in the night of September 17-18, and just as the third page of the modest eight-page newspaper was to be printed, the news reached the editors by telegraph, and they quickly inserted a small box in the as-yet-unprinted section of page 3, which announced the King’s death. The early Swedish Americans remained loyal in their hearts to their monarch, and for weeks to come, his passing was mourned in articles about him and his life, and many sorts of memorials to his honor were reported for decades.

Ulf Barslund Martensson
Editor & Publisher, Nordstjernan