The Beaufort West Courier, established in 1869, is one of the oldest newspapers in South Africa. A long-ago proprietor, James Bryant, did everything possible to keep townsfolk informed of the very latest in local and world affairs. So, in 1900, the Courier was published as “the first penny daily in the Karoo.” An advert at the time stated: “This paper will be published each morning as soon after the receipt of the latest war telegrams as possible. It is thus an excellent medium for local advertising.”
In 1901, Charles Herbert Crane and Christian Zinn formed the Beaufort West Printing and Publishing Company, and purchased the newspaper from James Bryant. The new owners guaranteed a circulation of 3 500 copies and an eight-page newspaper every Thursday morning in addition to the daily news. They announced that “a great number of orders for advertisements has given us the strength to enlarge the paper.” They also stated that they had arranged an improved hour-to-hour telegraphic news service from Reuters Telegram Company in addition to their links with other news services. The paper had special correspondents in Fraserburg, Fraserburg Road (later Leeu Gamka), Prince Albert, Prince Albert Road, Aberdeen, Williston, Matjiesfontein, Calvinia, Willowmore, Sutherland, Victoria West and Oudtshoorn. It also “at great expense” obtained the services of Ian Cameron, a wellknown London author, journalist and clubman to write an exclusive “London Letter.” Its other extremely popular column, Lumen, provided in-depth coverage on local affairs. In 1901, the annual subscription to the Courier, with all supplements, was 15/-, delivered post free.