site.btaUPDATED BTA’s First Bulletin: Dated Feb. 16, 1898
On February 16 (New Style February 28), 1898, BTA put out its first news bulletin, hand-written in person by the agency’s recently appointed first director, Oskar Iskander. The four-page bulletin contained seven dispatches datelined from Vienna, Athens and Constantinople. Here follows an English translation of the first page:
“Vienna, February 16/28. The illness of H.R.H. Princess Clementine [Bulgarian Prince Ferdinand’s mother] has taken a turn for the worse and is a cause for great concern.
Athens, same date. One of the villains [who committed an assassination attempt against King George I of Greece] has been arrested. His name is Karditzis. Rumour has it that he was a minor clerk at Athens City Hall.
Constantinople, same date. Private dispatches received from Skopje say that 129 prisoner Bulgarians have been released there. Only 15 remain in prison. One hundred and seven detainees from Kumanovo, Kratovo and Egri-Palanka have been released; three remain in prison. A commission of inquiry has left for Shtip, Maloshevo, Kochani and Radovich.
Reports from Gallipoli-Gelibolu say that 600 people, incensed by the exorbitant bread prices, demonstrated against the authorities and tried to set fire to the police headquarters. Thirty-six were arrested.
Athens, same date. One of the villains who fired at H.M. the King is already in the hands of justice. His name is Karditzis, aged 35; is a former non-commissioned officer. He himself surrendered to the Prosecutor. Under interrogation, he confessed to have been one of the perpetrators.”
Other items in the first bulletin covered the ratification of a trade agreement between Romania and Turkey, the fluctuations of cereals prices on the exchanges in Vienna, Budapest and Marseille, and a forthcoming duel in Paris. Copies were delivered by hand to each of six subscribers: government institutions, Sofia's newspapers and foreign diplomatic agencies.
In April 2021, professionals Gergana Shtarkelova, Miglena Angelova and Teodora Nikolova of the Archives State Agency restored a 91-page book containing the first original news bulletins of BTA covering the period from February 16 to March 31, 1898. The restorers used the classical method: mechanical cleaning of the surface, identifying the type of ink used and the rate of its water solubility, filling the missing and compromised parts of the leaves with restoration paper of suitable colour and thickness, stitching the leaves on, and cleaning the metal casing of the binding. The restoration was done within the framework of an agreement on cooperation signed between the two agencies on March 18, 2020.
Archives State Agency President Mihail Gruev handed the restored book to BTA Director General Kiril Valchev on April 21, 2021.