National Newspaper Week (Oct. 2-8) is a great time to celebrate America’s newspapers. Since 1940, National Newspaper Week has been observed for the first full week in October.

In a 1941 letter to the president of the Pennsylvania Press Association, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote, “The recurrence of National Newspaper Week should awaken in the hearts and souls of all Americans a renewed determination to defend and maintain and perpetuate the priceless heritage of a free press.” 

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman told newspaper publishers across the nation that “your right to know is the key to all our liberties.”

Politicians have traditionally enjoyed newspaper coverage, favorable or unfavorable.

Helene Von Damm was a secretary for California Gov. Ronald Reagan. In her 1976 book, Sincerely, Ronald Reagan, she wrote that Reagan was “amazed at how little most people do read the papers or even remember the stories.” He felt that “most people scan the headlines, turn to the stock report, the sports page, or the comics, and that’s it.”

The newspaper industry has undergone big changes over the last 82 years. Most newspapers offer digital subscriptions. Still, many people enjoy the excitement of a traditional newspaper.

Today, most digital newspapers no longer have stock pages. Business sections are typically shorter, while entertainment and sports sections have captured more pages. It seems that political and opinion sections of papers have also expanded. Whether or not people are reading these expanded sections is uncertain.

You can celebrate National Newspaper Week by writing/emailing a letter of appreciation to your local or national newspaper editor. You can also email or write your favorite newspaper columnist, comic strip artist, or news reporter. Show them some appreciation!

In the days before the internet gave readers access to newspapers across the nation and the world, readers shared physical newspaper clippings with other readers. Often, readers used the Postal Service to mail newspaper clippings to others. 

When I left home for work, my grandmother kindly sent me columns by some of our favorite regional columnists in the Southeast. Those are great newspaper memories that I share with my family. Today, we simply copy links to stories or send PDFs as attachments to emails.

Digital newspapers give readers easy sharing access to an abundant supply of digital newspaper articles.

Famous newspaper carriers include: entertainer Bing Crosby (1903-1977), California Gov. Earl Warren (1891-1974), Supreme Court Justice William Douglas (1898-1980), Army Gen. Omar Bradley (1893-1981), civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), entertainer Bob Hope (1903-2003), investor Warren Buffett (b. 1930), actor Tom Cruise (b. 1962), and supermodel Kathy Ireland (b. 1963).

By the way, let your news carrier know that you appreciate them!

Happy National Newspaper Week. Happy reading!


James E. Patterson is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and speaker.


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