Happy Birthday Newsday

| lpenner@queenscourier.com |

Congratulations to Newsday first published on September 4th, 1940 on your 72nd Anniversary. In the 1960s, NYC was blessed with over 12 daily newspapers sold at several thousand neighborhood newsstands. I still remember many of Newsday’s Queens based competitors from decades ago such as the Long Island Star Journal, Long Island Press and Suffolk Sun who have come and gone.

How fortunate that we live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available. Most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper. Newspapers and magazines have to deal with increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership due to competition from the Internet and other new information sources.

In Queens, Nassau and Suffolk — there continues to be ongoing circulation battles between a number of daily newspapers. Readers can select from Newsday along with the New York Times, Post and Daily News. There is also national editions of USA Today and the Wall Street Journal along with freebies such as AM New York and Metro New York. More people turn to all news radio, national network news such as ABC, CBS, NBC along with their local affiliates, NY1 (New York City), News 12 (Long Island), FOX-5, WOR-9, WPIX-11, News 55, PBS along with cable new stations such as CNBC, CNN, FOX, BBC and the Internet for late braking news which can sometimes become stale by the time it reaches print the next day. A growing population of new immigrants support their own newspaper, radio and television stations.

Weekly newspapers based in Queens such as as our own Queens Courier and sister publications Courier Sun and Long Island City Courier along with other competitors such as the Queens Chronicle, Queens Tribune, Queens Gazette, Queens Examiner, Queens Times, Queens Times Ledger, Queens Forum, TimesNewsweekley and Rockaway based Wave provide competition in their ability to concentrate exclusively on local neighborhood news. In Nassau and Suffolk counties – there is also Dan’s Papers, Long Island Press, Great Neck Record of Anton’s Newspapers chain and Great Neck News of Blanks Publications and others doing the same.

Daily newspapers concentrate on international, Washington, Albany business and sports stories. They have few reporters assigned to cover local neighborhood news stories. These reporters have to compete against colleagues for limited available print space. As a result, many daily newspapers such as the New York Times, Daily News, and Post frequently miss significant news and political stories from various local neighborhoods. Our own Queens Courier and various other weekly competitors provide more in depth coverage than daily papers of local community news.

Many of us have a continued thirst for news not only from Washington, Albany and City Hall but also our local neighborhoods and community issues, which impact our daily lives. Your weekly newspapers also provide opportunity and training for reporters. You never know who might move on to work for other daily newspapers.

If you really want to be informed of what goes on in the neighborhood, read your local weekly community newspaper. Patronize their advertisers and shop local. They help your friendly newspapers survive and neighborhood prosper.

I continue to be grateful that our own Queens Courier and Newsday along with other daily and weekly newspapers, afford me an opportunity to express my views, as well as differing opinions. Thanks to you, ordinary citizens have the freedom to comment on the actions and legislation of elected officials. Public officials use taxpayers dollars to promote their views, via mass mailings of newsletters, news releases, letters to the editor and guest opinion page columns. In many cases, they are produced or written by campaign or office staffers who are paid for by taxpayers. The rest of us have limited time to submit a letter. In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including Newsday, the Queens Courier and all the other newspapers. They all fill a valuable niche in the information highway.