One of the first war correspondents was a 17th-century Dutch painter.
A large hand-drawn illustration, derived from the sketches he drew during actual combat, accompanied Dutch painter Willem van de Velde’s written account of the 1653 sea battle between Dutch and English navies. Willem van de Velde was one of the first modern war correspondents, one of a number of journalists specifically tasked with describing real-world combat between nations. The development of mass-produced printed media like newspapers and magazines proved essential in establishing journalism as a publicly accepted authoritative form of information sharing during the 18th and 19th centuries. The press would become known as the Fourth Estate, an institution as important to civilization as any governmental body, perhaps even more important. The events recorded by this institution become history.