November 18, 2010
On September 25, 1690 America received her first printed issue of news entitled “Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick,” written by Richard Pierce and edited by Benjamin Harris. America was ecstatic over the four six-by-ten folded pages, only three of which actually contained writing, that they received that morning. Only two and a half centuries before, in the year 1440, had an inventor by the name of Johannes Gutenberg come out with the first printing press in Germany.
Just think how far the printed news has come now, people read it all over the world for a multitude of reasons: checking stocks and bonds, news, weather, sports, upcoming events, the list goes on and on.
But aside from all of the benefits people gain from the newspaper, what is its job? What was Gutenberg thinking when he developed the first printing press? What effects had he hoped it would have on society to better serve the community?
It is wrong to think his sole intent was to entertain the masses, or to make readers feel warm and fuzzy inside. Before news was printed a bellman -or town crier would walk up and down the streets shouting the latest news. This man’s job was never meant to bring joy and happy thoughts to listeners, but to notify them of the pressing topics so that they were informed on a multitude of issues.
The purpose of news media is to inform the public, to educate the masses on current topics and give a voice to the voiceless, that is to give enough information on all sides of an issue that the people are able to develop their own opinions from the information they gather from various news sources.
Therefore, it is the job of the news media to investigate and discuss issues that are currently floating about in the world around us, be they educational, informational, general updates or even --heaven forbid--controversial topics.
How is one to make logical accusations or simply know what is going on without the voice of the news, likewise, how will news media at large know what to cover and report without an ear for the people?
The printed news is set forward to challenge the minds of its readers, to inform them about what is going on in the world and to allow them to have the reports they need to develop their own stand on issues. It is to bring things into a clearer light through investigating tough issues for the purpose of upholding what is right and just, to create and maintain a more perfect union.
Today, news is changing; everyone is too busy being hypersensitive about any set topic and is afraid of trashing esteemed reputations. Many writings are censored and others prohibited for the sake of peacekeeping.
So as long the facts present themselves and the papers are truthful and fair to all sides of an issue, there is no viable reason for a story to not be printed. Where is the gusto of the press that forced the taxes on printed news to raise so high as to force the creation of the “Penny Press”?
Where is the determination to uncover the facts that sent “mob boys” chasing down the paper carriers for the purpose of throwing their loads into the river? Truth must be uncovered and facts must be presented to the public. After all, is that not what we are all in search of--a greater truth?
Hats off to those who have persevered to bring the truth to light, they have provided a great service to all.
For the rest of the mass media trying to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes, shame on you for numbing the issues and steering away from the big problems. Where has your passion gone, your drive, your hunger for the truth?
It is time to wake up and get busy. Time to embrace the ripples caused by controversy, and fight through them. It would make people shutter to accept the discussions of controversial issues. Life is controversial, deal with it.