September 25 ~  Raise Hell Designing for Newspapers & Magazines

"It is a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell." ~ William Storey

Elements of Journalism

Raising a bit of hell on this day in 1690, Benjamin Harris published Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, the first American newspaper. The first (and only) issue was printed at the London-Coffee-House in Boston, Massachusetts.

Harris, a staunch member of the Whig party, had already published books, pamphlets, and a newspaper in London. Aroused American authorities considered this landmark publication offensive, "without the least Privity or Countenance of Authority," and ordered immediate suppression.

So much for freedom of speech.

It took 14 years for the next brave soul to use the powerful platform of bringing a newspaper to the masses. But, as William Hazlitt once observed, "Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater." Nothing could hold back the free press.

According to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), in 2003, more than 54 million newspapers were sold daily. There were 1,456 daily and 917 Sunday papers. The largest circulation is The Wall Street Journal, at over 1.7 million.

About the importance of the press, distinguished journalist Edward R. Murrow said, "It is well to remember that freedom through the press is the thing that comes first. Most of us probably feel we couldn't be free without newspapers, and that is the real reason we want the newspapers to be free."

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