Friday, July 04, 2008

An appropriate Independence Day tribute

I thought this was a really interesting and cool opinion piece in USA Today. It gives a quick history lesson on an aspect of the Declaration of Independence many of us may rarely think of – its printing.

Antonio Perez makes heroes of John Dunlap and Mary Katherine Goddard, calling them the “Founding Printers” for their roles in making the document available to hundreds. The moniker places them up there with the likes of Thomas Jefferson.

Mass communication has come a long way since then. And the Internet obviously has revolutionized it. But in 1776, printing and distributing was not only a much more rigorous process, it was dangerous. Dunlap and Goddard could have been put to death for being traitors against England.

We journalists, I think, particularly owe a debt of gratitude and remembrance today to these two historical characters. Another interesting note about Goddard: she ran a Baltimore newspaper called the “Maryland Journal.” Thanks to Perez, too, for bringing a history lesson to life.

Happy 4th of July!

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