Nº 6 2015 > History of the ITU News
Milestones in the history of ITU News
The first issue of the “Journal télégraphique” is published
When the second International Telegraph Conference, held in Vienna in 1868, decided to establish a permanent secretariat for the Union in Bern, Switzerland, among the six tasks assigned to the Bureau was the publication of “a telegraph journal in the French language” (International Telegraph Convention (Vienna, 1868), Article 61). Thus, the publication of the Journal was mandated by the Member States and has been an important part of ITU’s role to disseminate information right from the creation of the secretariat. The first issue of the “Journal télégraphique” is published on 25 November 1869.
The journal changes its name to: “Journal des télécommunications”
In 1932 in Madrid, the International Telegraph Conference and the International Radiotelegraph Conference decided to combine the Telegraph and Radiotelegraph Conventions to form the single International Telecommunication Convention. At the same time, a new name was adopted to reflect the full range of ITU’s responsibilities: International Telecommunication Union. The new name came into effect on 1 January 1934. Accompanying the change of name of the Union, the Journal télégraphique became the Journal des télécommunications on 1 January 1934.
The journal is published in three languages: French, English and Spanish
Following the decisions of the International Telecommunications Conference of Atlantic City (1947) related to languages, the Telecommunication Journal became a trilingual publication (English, French and Spanish) starting in January 1948. The three languages were printed side-by-side on the same page. Publishing the Journal in its new form meant a considerable increase in work and in cost of production.
Each language has its own separate edition
Publication of the Journal in three separate English, French and Spanish editions, instead of the old trilingual form, began in January 1962. Throughout the 1960s to 1980s, the journal was increasingly used to spread information about the Union and its work. Part of this strategy consisted of sending copies of the Journal to the United Nations and all its specialized agencies, to the United Nations information centres in various parts of the world and to the Union’s Technical Cooperation experts in the field. In addition, an increasing number of organs of the general and technical press asked to receive it.
The journal becomes a newsletter
As of 1 January 1994, the Telecommunication Journal was replaced by the “ITU Newsletter”. The layout was modified and modernized, and the production schedule was changed to ten times a year. It was announced that, in its new form, the Journal/Newsletter would “concentrate on ITU’s activities, on the issues at stake and on the practical results achieved”. Opinions, though often conflicting, would also find their place in the new style publication in order to provide readers with not only the basic information about ITU activities, but also “the more hidden aspects, the whys and the wherefores”.
The electronic version is introduced
As part of the response to a study that showed a need for electronic distribution of information about ITU activities, the first electronic version of ITU News appeared on the ITU website in mid-1999. Since then, ITU News has appeared in both digital and paper copies. In 2003–2006, the ITU News website was a high achiever in terms of average number of visits per month, scoring among the top three most visited ITU sites.
ITU News is published in 6 languages
Since July 2009, ITU News has been published in all six official languages of the Union, both in print and online, and continues to provide wide-ranging coverage of the events shaping telecommunications around the world.
ITU News will become completely digital
In 2016 ITU News will become completely digital, with a new online portal. Special digital editions will be produced around key ITU events and topics throughout the year.
The entire collection of the journal, 1869-present, is carefully preserved by the ITU Library and Archives Service. Paper copies can be freely consulted from the Library shelves. In order to enhance access to this invaluable source of information, the Library and Archives Service has undertaken the digitization of the complete collection which will be made available on a specialized website in 2016. Readers will be able to browse, read online and download PDF copies of all issues. The complete collection will be searchable, allowing researchers, scholars and the general public to fully explore and exploit this treasure trove of information about the development of the telecommunications field and the activities of the Union over the past 140 years.