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There is one week set aside each year to salute newspapers for the important role they have played in our nation, a role that goes back to the beginning of these United States. This year, however, …
There is one week set aside each year to salute newspapers for the important role they have played in our nation, a role that goes back to the beginning of these United States.
This year, however, waiting until October 4-10 and National Newspaper Week has been difficult, because the coronavirus pandemic and a variety of major news events across our land have tested newspapers, and our communities, in ways we might never have fathomed.
Taking stock of the contributions by newspapers, large and small, serves as an important reminder of why our Founding Fathers wrote freedom of the press into the Constitution’s Bill of Rights — and why the theme for this year’s National Newspaper Week, “America Needs Journalists,” is so appropriate.
We have seen our lives and our communities change in dramatic ways because of coronavirus.
In the early weeks, businesses closed their doors and government offices were darkened in response to directives that all but the most essential workers should remain at home to guard against spreading the disease.
Newspapers scrambled to protect their employees, too. But newspapers still needed to be produced to serve their readers and communities and to fulfill that vital information function the Founding Fathers envisioned.
Journalists quickly educated themselves on the coronavirus and shared that knowledge with readers. They kept their communities informed — telling readers where tests were available, reporting on local test results, sharing the heartbreaking news of deaths, and alerting people about employment changes at local businesses.
Journalists turned to their kitchen tables, spare bedrooms and basement offices to take the place of the newsrooms where they had gathered with colleagues a few weeks earlier. While the locations changed, the core mission of newspapers did not.
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