Bluffton Packet

For some longtime readers, a printed newspaper is their source of choice

A photo of the first newspaper printed in the American Colonies in 1690.
A photo of the first newspaper printed in the American Colonies in 1690. Submitted photo

Believe it or not, a great number of folks (and they’re not antiquated) don’t have computers in their home and don’t access to the local newspaper online.

They do have TV’s to catch the evening news. Some of them prefer having a newspaper in their hands to read and catch up on the day’s weather, local headlines, sport scores, their favorite comic strip and the crossword puzzle before starting their day. After all, newspapers were around long before the internet, cellphones and other social media outlets were even dreamed of.

Newspapers first appeared in the American Colonies in 1690. On Sept. 25, 1690, Boston printer Benjamin Harris produced the first issue of “Publick Occurrences,” the first newspaper published in the American Colonies. Readers were enthusiastic, but the governor of Massachusetts was not. The paper was suppressed, and it was not until 1704 that the colonies’ second newspaper, “The Boston Newsletter,” appeared.

The printed newspaper became popular in 1833 with the penny-paper the New York Sun. South Carolina is one of 22 states that have 18th century American newspapers in the Library of Congress.

A certain percentage of people depend on newspapers as their most reliable way to keep abreast of happenings going on around them. A survey conducted for the National Newspaper Association shows that the majority of people put newspapers first over TV, the internet and other social media. Some 56 percent of the respondents said they read a print newspaper that covers their community specifically, while 4 percent read the local paper online.

Instead of just hearing the news on TV, they like to see it in black and white. They say they absorb it better and can browse the colorful advertisements while they drink their morning coffee.

Newspapers are a critical part of the American news landscape. Even with social media growing, Facebook and the growing dependency on the internet, there still are a large number of avid newspaper readers over the age of 50. With folks living longer, they’ll have many more years to enjoy reading a newspaper.

National Newspaper Week has been observed starting the first Sunday in October since 1940. The theme for the 2018 National Newspaper Week was “Journalism Matters, NOW More than Ever.” National Newspaper Week in 2019 begins on Sunday, Oct. 6.

Another annual observance created by the Newspaper Association of America and celebrated in October is International Newspaper Carrier Day, which will be Oct. 12 this year. This celebration spotlights the contributions that newspapers, their staff and carriers make to gather and deliver the news to their communities. These carriers are to be commended for their work because while we are sleeping all snug in our beds, they are busy as bees getting the daily paper ready to deliver, regardless of the weather. I can’t imagine having the job of a carrier, assembling the sections of the paper, bagging them and driving around on a cold, dark morning to deliver the paper.

The first newspaper carrier, or paperboy, hired in 1833, was Barney Flaherty, employed by Benjamin Day, publisher of the New York Sun. Flaherty, along with current newspaper carriers, is honored annually on Sept. 4, the anniversary of his hiring.

We depend on newspapers to keep us abreast of important information such as road closings, school calendars, county and city meetings, sports, obituaries and a lot of other news.

When you have all of this information in print, you can clip it out and post it on your fridge so as not to forget a festival, meeting or event.

Here’s a salute to our local papers, and here’s hoping the printing presses keep humming.