Jews played a major part in the development of the press in Vienna from the year 1848. Before the revolution, Vienna had only three daily government-controlled and censored newspapers. The first uncensored printed publication, an appeal to the students leading the revolution of 1848, brought fame to its author, Ludwig A. Frankl, editor of the literary, liberal Sonntagsblaetter (newspaper) from 1842. The Jewish journalists August Silberstein and Adolf Buchheim, joint editors of the Studentenkurier, a radical organ, were forced into exile, while Dr. Hermann Jellinek, writing for the Allgemeine Oesterreichische Zeitung and Der Radikale, was executed. A more widely read publication was the cheap moderate democratic daily Der Gerad'aus of the banker Bernhard Friedmann whose innovative way of selling the paper on decorated vehicles proved to be enormously successful. Ignaz Kuranda's Ostdeutsche Post favored constitutionalism, centralism and pan-Germanism and promoted equal rights for Jews. Eduard Warrens (formerly Wolf Arens) edited the conservative Journal des Oesterreichischen Lloyd which disseminated anti-revolutionary ideas.
The most significant paper which maintained its influence over several decades and served as a model for other publications, was Die Presse: an entirely modern newspaper. The revolution had changed Austrian newspapers not only in their content, but their appearance also became more attractive with modernized and clearly structured layout, new sizes and affordable prices. The (non-Jewish) owner of the Presse, August Zang, employed the best writers in his paper. Dr. Leopold Landsteiner edited the political pages; the writer Hieronimus Lorm (pseudonym for Heinrich Landsmann) was responsible for its feuilleton, which soon attracted many readers from outside Vienna as well. Landsteiner left the paper after a quarrel with Zang and eventually founded the very popular Morgenpost, which combined high stylistic standards with the circulation-boosting serialisation of novels. From 1855 onward Moritz Szeps edited the Morgenpost, but left in 1867 to found the Neue Wiener Tagblatt. Another fight with Zang in 1864, resulted in several influential journalists, among others Dr. Max Friedlaender, a cousin of Ferdinand Lassalle, leaving the Presse and founding the immediately successful Die Neue Freie Presse, which increased its circulation from 4,000 in 1864 to 35,000 by 1873.
The Neue Freie Presse and the Neue Wiener Tagblatt were the most influential papers of liberalism inside the Habsburg Empire. The liberal press was a Jewish achievement and many contemporaries tried to grasp its influence. It was claimed that they made or destroyed ministerial careers, Catholic newspapers detested their liberalism and secularism, the Viennese mayor Dr. Karl Lueger claimed that the Jewish liberal press was the main creator of Austrian anti-Semitism "with its depravity and terrorism" and Karl Kraus considered Moritz Benedikt – the Jewish editor of the Neue Freie Presse – to be more guilty of having caused and perpetuated the First World War than any of the statesmen and generals directly involved. In the literary sphere the influence of the Neue Freie Presse was undoubtedly remarkable. Hardly any writer of importance did not at one time write for the feuilleton of this paper. Dr. Theodor Herzl reported from the Dreyfus trial as editor of the literary supplements in Paris, but he had to pursue his following Zionist activities outside the editorial office, because his employers, despite being Jewish and running a largely Jewish-staffed paper, wanted to avoid being identified with Jewish interests.
The Neue Wiener Tagblatt was the strongest competitor of the Neue Freie Presse. Moritz Szeps knew how to cater for the prosperity-seeking and commercial Zeitgeist, the paper was committed to liberalism, good causes and had a Francophile orientation. Its greatest achievement was the backing of a campaign that successfully conserved the Viennese forests as a green belt around Vienna. Its outlook on foreign affairs influenced the thinking of Crown Prince Rudolf and it proudly proclaimed itself to be a "democratic voice" in every edition up to March, 12, 1938.
Both the Neue Freie Presse and the Neue Wiener Tagblatt survived the First World War, but faced difficulties addressing the crucial issues of the post-war period, namely the burning social problems and the national question.
The authoritative organ of the Austrian Social Democrats, the Arbeiter Zeitung, was thought to be the finest example of journalism to be found within the Socialist International. It was founded by Viktor Adler and Friedrich Austerlitz under whose editorship it developed from a 5,000 circulation weekly into an influential daily with over 100,000 regular subscribers. It promoted social justice at home and European peace based on the solidarity of the international labour movement. Austerlitz' editorial successor was Oskar Pollak who faced the difficult task of bringing out the paper during the last years of its legal existence. After 1934, when the authoritarian Christian-conservative regime forbade Socialism, it had to be published abroad and smuggled into Austria. The Social Democrats also published the popular daily, the Kleine Blatt, edited by Dr. Julius von Braunthal, with local news, court reports and cartoons.
Other popular newspapers were the highly successful Kronenzeitung, edited by Leopold Lipschuetz, which attracted 250,000 readers with promotion campaigns, popular presentations and easy reading. Jakob Lippowitz promoted his Neue Wiener Journal by freely distributing a daily edition of 200,000 for several weeks in 1893, but an aura of corruption clung to the paper from the very outset. The Illustrierte Extrablatt by O. F. Berg and Franz J. Singer focused on local matters, preferred pictures to text and published dramatic visual material. The so called "boulevard press" became a dominant feature in the early years of the Austrian republic. An interesting example is Der Abend, funded by Carl Colbert, the retirement-aged son of one of the richest houses in Vienna, who employed the radical journalist Bruno Frei who grew up in a strictly orthodox house and regarded his Socialism as based on the biblical idea of justice. Frei later became the editor of the Communist Volksstimme and Der Abend was edited by the subsequently notorious Alexander Weiss who dedicated the paper to unmitigated sensationalism. Imre Bekessy became a short-lived tabloid magnate in the 1920s. His editorial formula was sensationalism laced with blackmail. He threatened members of the public with the publication of incriminating evidence if they did not pay money. He was eventually forced to give up his papers and leave Vienna after Karl Kraus launched a campaign against him.
Viennese Jews did not only edit and write newspapers for the general public, but also published newspapers for an entirely Jewish readership. From April to October 1848 49 issues of the Oesterreichisches Central-Organ fuer Glaubensfreiheit, Cultur, Geschichte und Literatur der Juden was published and dealt with issues of Jewish culture.
Dr.Bloch's Oesterreichische Wochenschrift was founded by Rabbi Dr. Joseph S. Bloch in 1884 and was published until 1920. Its subtitle "Central Organ for the Collective Interests of Jewry" stressed Bloch's wish for unity within the Jewish community. The Wochenschrift was a forum for the discussion of the "Jewish question", refuted anti-Semitism and encouraged Jews to develop their own spiritual and political sphere in Austria. Bloch wanted a stronger expression of Jewish identity and tried to educate readers about Jewish history and values.
Die Wahrheit ("The Truth") was an assimilationist weekly critical of Zionism which it called the counterpart of racial national socialism. It did occasionally publish articles about Arab attacks in Palestine and warned that there could never be any peace in the Holy Land until there were equal rights for both Arabs and Jews.
The Wiener Morgenzeitung ("Vienna Morning Newspaper") was the only daily Zionist paper in German-speaking Europe from its founding to its demise in 1927. Its successor, the weekly Die Stimme ("The Voice") became the voice of mainstream Zionism represented in the State Committee for Austria. The newspaper of the Poale Zion movement, Der Juedische Arbeiter ("The Jewish Worker"), was founded in 1907 and tried to bridge Zionism and Marxist Socialism. Die Neue Welt ("The New World") was the newspaper of the Zionist revisionists and edited by Robert Stricker while Der Juedische Weg ("The Jewish Way") was the press organ of the Radical Zionists. Theodor Herzl founded Die Welt ("The World") in 1897. After his death, it continued to appear for a while in Koeln, Germany, where Martin Buber was one of its contributors when it returned to Vienna as Neue Welt ("New World") and was published until 13 March 1938. In 1947 Georg Kuenstlinger brought the paper to life again as the Illustrierte Neue Welt. The paper today aims to promote Jewish affairs to a mainly non-Jewish readership and also deals with current political affairs and reconstruction work in Austria and Israel and the neighboring Eastern European communities.
Hebrew publications included Shahar ("Dawn") (1868-1884), Mabit ("A Look At") and Mabit le-Yisrael (both appeared in the late 1870s), Mi-Mizrah Umi-Ma'arav ("From East to West") (1890s) and the weekly Zionist Haolam ("The World") to which Chaim N. Bialik and N. Sokolov contributed. In 1923 the Yiddish weekly Jiddische Morgenpost ("Jewish Morning Newspaper") appeared and the short-lived monthly literary Unhoib tried to attract readers of Yiddish in Latin characters. The Juedische Presse ("Jewish Newspaper") was the newspaper of the Viennese Orthodox community and was published during the 1930s.