This year, readers and writers across North America celebrate the 79th annual National Newspaper Week. It is a celebration that recognises the service of newspapers and their employees across the USA and Canada.
In 2019, National Newspaper Week runs October 6 – 12.
The theme for this year’s week-long celebration of the role of the newspaper has the theme: Think F1rst — Know Your 5 Freedoms.
Editorial cartoon by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian, Columbia, Mo.
The event is sponsored by Newspaper Association Managers, and a series of articles written to reinforce the importance of the Newspaper in local communities has been published by the organisers.
The articles emphasise the importance of defending First Amendments rights; making the point that this essential freedom is taking on an even greater significance in an era of fake news.
One contributor is Jack Ventimiglia, executive editor of The Richmond Daily News and The Excelsior Springs Daily Standard. In his column, Ventimiglia says: “Seasoned reporters understand the importance of safeguarding the First Amendment. They know, also, that though telling the truth is made more difficult in these topsy-turvy times – when the truth is flippantly called “lies” and lies are defended as truth – if they do not do their duty, then no one will.
From time to time, explosions of criticism and unfettered hate may around them rage, but because reporters are loyal to the duties of a free press, including to challenge government leaders and policies, each of the First Amendment freedoms continues to wave-like stripes in a flag emerging in the dawn’s early light.”
Another contributor, veteran reporter and editor Kathy Kiely, the Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, warns of another challenge which is placing local newspapers under great pressure.
She writes: “The internet broke [the old] model. Newspaper advertising revenue has nosedived to levels that are less than one-third of what they were in 2005, a study from the Pew Research Center found. The result is all too sadly predictable: newspapers employed fewer than half the number of people in 2016 that they did at the beginning of this century, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
But she passionately emphasises that National Newspaper Week 2019 should not become “one big, fat elegiac nostalgia trip”. She calls for the public to buy newspapers in support of good, local fact-based journalism; reminiscing about a bumper stick one of her colleagues, University of Kentucky journalism professor Al Cross, commissioned a couple of years ago: “Support democracy: Subscribe.”
More information can be found here: http://www.nationalnewspaperweek.com/