2005-07-29 / Community

From The Rockaway Postmaster’s Desk

By George P. Buonocore

George P. Buonocore 
George P. Buonocore In the early days of our country, the Founding Fathers recognized that a viable democracy required an informed citizenry. One of the first agencies created by the Continental Congress was the Post Office Department, and one of the most important reasons was to create a means for delivering the news.

Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy and an important reason why the United States is a beacon of freedom to the world. The Postal Service proud to be a partner in helping America’s newspapers deliver the word.

Today’s community newspapers can proudly trace their heritage to Benjamin Franklin’s The Pennsylvania Gazette and other colonial newspapers. Today, as then, these publications provide information on a wide range of local issues that are important to all of us.

In 1879, Congress formalized this service and created a new class of mail – now called “Periodicals” – to disseminate news and educational information across the nation and “bind the nation together.”

Originally, Congress authorized the carrying of newspapers and periodical publications in the mail at no charge. Today, with nearly 10 billion newspapers, magazine and other publications delivered each year, we no longer can provide free delivery. However, postage rates for Periodicals are generally the lowest offered by the Postal Service and rank among the lowest in the industrialized world.

After all these years, the Postal Service and America’s community newspapers still strive to “bind the nation together” by delivering news, opinions and information that keep us informed – and help to keep us free.

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