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New Zealand's oldest daily newspaper

The Otago Daily Times is one of the five largest selling dailys in New Zealand and the second largest on the South Island. It is being published by Allied Press in Dunedin and has a current readership of 106.000 with the highest market penetration of any metropolitan in New Zealand. Well, if you count Dunedin as a metropolis.

The paper was first published on Friday, 15 Novemnber 1961 and was generally considered to be a joke by the local populace, as nobody imagined that there would be enough news in the region to sustain a daily paper. Not that anybody would have the time to read anyway, as Dunedin was in the midst of an enormous goldrush and growing daily with the new arrival of people seeking to make a fortune.
Looking at the current edition of the ODT (or "oddity", as she is charmingly named by its readers) one gets the impression that there might be a grain of truth in that sentiment. I distinctly remember the day when a sheep that gave birth to 5 lambs at once made the the headline on the front page. With a picture.

To publish the first edition on a friday was deemed to be extremely bad luck by the burghers of Dunedin, so it was no big surprise when the editorial offices burned down 2 days later. The first editor Sir Julius Vogel, an englishman of jewish parentage, was nevertheless unimpressed and the ODT's offices were moved to temporary quarters, while the fire was used as leverage to press home the need for a firebrigade in this burgeoning city.

Today the ODT is an excellent daily with a broad coverage of local, regional and worldwide news (trust me, that's something unusual in New Zealand: Most papers report on overseas affairs with just a couple of wire tidbits. Overseas in NZ is what happens to other people). It has a weekly supplement featuring the best articles of international papers (mainly The Guardian, The Independent and The New York Times which reveals its healthy left-liberal leaning, something to be expected from a paper being published in a town dominated by a large university) reporting in depth on issues of worldwide importance. The paper had only ten editors in 144 years and is renowned for it's fierce independent political views. Interestingly enough it's also the only NZ daily that is not associated with the ultra-conservative Murdoch media empire.

Fortunately.


http://www.odt.co.nz

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