Today, September 18, in the year 1851, the venerable New York Times began publication!
It became the “newspaper of record” early in the 20th century and has remained so ever since!
Without the NY Times, scholars in all fields, and particularly historians such as myself, would have been unable to do the writing and publication of much human knowledge!
It has always been the most thorough, most complete source of national and international news, as well as local New York City news, the arts, business, and sports!
It has been the source of the best book review, and a much respected Sunday magazine, as well as a succinct review of the week’s news on Sunday!
It has been the only newspaper to have an index that covers the entire history of the newspaper, from 1851 to the present, and without it, one cannot mine the paper, or compare coverage to other newspapers!
It has won more Pulitzer Prizes than any other newspaper, 101, throughout its history!
The NY Times has been the center of controversy over its long history, sometimes for reporting stories that were considered secret, such as the Pentagon Papers, and other times for deciding not to publish information that many feel should have been published in the national interest!
Also, the NY Times has had its cases, as many newspaper and other journalism sources, of created news stories having no factual basis, due to poor journalistic ethics of some of its reporters over the years!
The NY Times has been attacked by every Presidential administration, and by members of Congress and state and local officials, but that has only proved the value of this exceptional newspaper!
Sadly, the New York Times has had problems in recent years, with advertising revenues down, circulation of its paper having troubles, and the undermining of all newspapers by the reality of the internet! The availability of the internet has really hurt the long term prospects of the paper in print form, and it seems likely that soon the NY Times will start a policy of charging for online access, which would be a blow to many readers and scholars who might choose, or be forced for economic reasons, to lose the ability to stay in touch with the best print source in America!
The author personally cannot imagine doing without the NY Times, so will have to shell out for access, as this newspaper is simply a national treasure that cannot be allowed to dwindle in public availability, as that would be the undermining of the knowledge base, the exposure of truth, and the education of the American people about their world and their constantly evolving democracy, through good and bad times!
In any case, Happy Birthday, New York Times, and many, many more years of excellent work in the future! 🙂