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Newspaper Week honors America's story


Last updated 10/9/2019 at 8:07pm | View PDF

Test your knowledge of the U.S. Constitution with this quiz question: What are the five freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment?

If you need a hint ...

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

If you were able to name at least one, congratulations! The Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey in 2017 found that more than one-third of your compatriots can’t. Sure, it’s been a while since most of us took a civics class, but this jam-packed provision is foundational to the great societal experiment called the United States of America. So to articulate, the liberties U.S. citizens are extended through the First Amendment are the freedoms of religion, of speech, of the press, to peaceably assemble and to petition the government.

Is that too much freedom? The same study referenced above found that 31 percent feel the First Amendment goes too far with its guarantees.

Well, we respectfully disagree with that notion. And you can probably surmise the freedom held is especially high regard by this organization.

Oct. 6-12 is the annual observance of National Newspaper Week, with this year’s theme of “Think F1rst — Know Your 5 Freedoms” highlighting the Constitutional protections Americans enjoy.

Freedom of the press, despite being a bedrock element of a free society and one often taken for granted by those privileged to live in one, is under attack internationally and right here at home. Terms like “fake news” and, more ominously, “enemy of the people” are used with alarming frequency to undermine the work of news organizations.

Do we in the press get every story’s set of facts right the first time, 100 percent of the time? No, but we come darn close. And when we fall short, we make sure to set the record straight with a correction or clarification. We’re proud of that dedication to accuracy, and we’re also proud of our work as a local newspaper.

An American Press Institute study, just published in August, reflects that local newspapers significantly outperform local TV, radio and digital media outlets, not only in terms of overall output, but also in terms of coverage that is truly local. While local newspapers made up only 25 percent of the news outlets sampled in the study, they produced 60 percent of the news that met those three criteria.

Overall, these findings suggest that newspapers are the most important producers of local news in terms of the volume of journalistic output being produced for local communities. Thank you for your support in helping us continue to deliver the kind of stories that only we can.

And thank you for supporting the work of news organizations. When journalists are obstructed, so is the public’s right to be informed and hold power to account. The U.S. is celebrated as a beacon for journalistic freedom, but it’s a freedom that demands great responsibility. We aim to live up to it every day.


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