The Marlborough Express is the daily newspaper of Blenheim and has been published there since 1866.
In 1866 the prospects for a new newspaper in Marlborough were not good. The population of the province was small and Marlborough already had two newspapers. A third, the Marlborough Times, had folded the year before after a few months in operation.
The Express was founded by Samuel Johnson. Johnson already had some experience as a journalist in England and New Zealand. He had arrived in 1862 with the Albertians, a band of idealistic settlers who settled in North Auckland. Johnson edited the Albertian newspaper the Albertland Gazette for a short time until he became disillusioned with the settlement. He then worked on newspapers in other parts of the country before settling on Blenheim.
Politics in Marlborough was dominated by rivalry between Blenheim and Picton, and this was reflected in the Marlborough newspapers. Originally the Press was published in Blenheim but had moved to Picton. The publishers tried to placate Blenheim residents by saying that the paper was actually published in both places, but eventually they had to publish a separate Blenheim paper, the Wairau Record. When launching the Express Johnson promised to give Marlborough a paper that would serve the whole province. Perhaps it was this attempt to rise above the squabbling between Blenheim and Picton that helped the Express establish itself and ultimately prevail over its rivals.
In 1879 Johnson sold the Express to Smith Furness and James Boudy. Furness had worked on newspapers in Wellington, Nelson, and Ashburton. The Furness family controlled the Express until 1998 when it was sold to Independent Newspapers Limited (INL). The Express became a daily in 1880 and took over its rivals the Marlborough Times in 1895 and the Marlborough Press in 1948.