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Thursday, November 08, 2018

Defending the First Amendment

We live in a free country. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees Americans freedoms that many other countries do not have. Here, people can worship as they choose. They can speak freely. The government does not run the news sources. Americans are allowed to protest unjust laws.

We are very, very fortunate. However, it is important never to allow our freedoms to be cast off or to take them for granted. I learned early about the freedom of the press, because my father was a journalist. Dad spent his entire career in journalism except for a stint in the Air Force during World War II. By the time I learned to read I was aware of the dangers of liable and slander. I heard stories first hand of the drama of stopping the presses. I was aware of deadlines and the importance of punctuation. I visited the newspaper offices where my father worked and learned a great deal about putting a newspaper together. I had respect for the work my father and his colleagues did every day in getting the news out into the world.

The world has changed considerably since my father retired. Newspapers have lost circulation and many have gone under. Yet, we get the news faster than ever before. The news is available from many sources now--from the internet, from television, from Twitter, from self-proclaimed "experts" on blogs.

Often, the news is slanted toward one view or another. It is difficult to know who to trust. A graph is available online indicating the bias of the various news media outlets HERE. 

I am grateful that there is a free flow of information. Coaches cannot get away with mistreating the members of their teams. Policemen cannot get away with undue brutality. Priests cannot abuse young children.

New windows are open to the truth.

Below are some photos taken of my father in action back in the heyday of his journalism career. You can see him wielding his soft-leaded pencil while juggling a paper pad during interviews. Years later, tiny tape recorders replaced the pencil and pad, outdating the axiom: the pen is mightier than the sword.

Ray and a colleague from a rival paper at work in a room with bars on the window. It probably was in a police station.
Newsmen and a woman scribe from several metropolitan papers, including Ray on the left, take notes as the center of attention responds to questions on a now long forgotten subject.
Chief of detectives and uniformed officers protect back of unidentified man in crowd of unlookers and reporters. With the cops there, the gathering probably had something to do with unrest on the Hoboken waterfront.
Ray outside a police stable while researching a feature on mounted policemen.

In the Fifties, no respectful white collar worker would show up for work without a tie, ironed shirt, and a jacket. Ray was no different, as shown here.

Ray waiting on the deck of an ocean liner to interview some celebrity or newsmaker. Since the Holland-America Line docked in Hoboken, part of his job was to board the ships from overseas and talk to passengers chosen by the news editor.


Lynn Lovegreen said...

Beautiful! Not only a great tribute to your father, but to freedom of the press too. Thanks for posting this.

Penelope Marzec said...


Thanks for reading this. Yes, freedom of the press is so important!