National Newspaper Week highlights importance of a free press

Each year, National Newspaper Week celebrates the service of newspapers and their employees across North America. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the annual week-long observance, which started Sunday, Oct. 4 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 10. 

National Newspaper Week began in 1940 and stemmed from California's Newspaper Appreciation Week, which had begun six years earlier. In August 1940, The California Publisher reported the inception of National Newspaper Week, in which “the entire press can organize in a united front to impress American readers with the reliability, integrity and enterprise of their newspapers.” 

The annual week-long ccelebration of America's newspapers started against a backdrop of global instability and political tension. In Europe, the Nazi Regime was rapidly expanding its power. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met to discuss inviting Spain's fascist government, led by Francisco Franco, to join their push for world domination. Much of the emphasis during the early years of National Newspaper Week thus focused on the importance of a free press and the dangers of losing it under government censorship.

Since its beginning, Newspaper Assocation Managers (NAM) has sponsored and promoted the week–long recognition. National Newspaper Carriers Day runs in conjunction with National Newspaper Week. This year, Saturday, Oct. 10, will mark Newspaper Carriers Day, celebrating the dedicated carriers who ensure that the news reaches community members.


— Elizabeth Callen

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