The News-Press‘ first stretch of its longevity into two decades is being achieved with its 20th annual holiday party this coming Monday night, Dec. 21, to which, as always, all friends and supporters of the News-Press are welcome.
With the paper still in its 19th year of weekly publication, the question always arises about the circumstances of this being the 20th holiday party.
The answer has been provided in this space before, but we love telling it over and over. It’s a hallmark of the season, after all, such as when the elderly uncle who shows up every year for the holidays re-tells the same stories over-and-over from his youth.
The first News-Press holiday party was held December 1990 when the News-Press was a mere twinkle in the eye, so to speak, of its founder. It was held only two weeks after said founder woke up one morning, after having thought about the newspaper idea for a year or so, and announced to himself that it was time to commence in earnest.
A single young prospective collaborator agreed to join in the effort, and a tiny 150-square foot, one-room office in the 120 N. Virginia Ave. office building became the birthplace of the News-Press.
In the spirit of the season, and the improbable dream that was just being formed into reality, it was proper to have a holiday party, replete with a 12 inch-high fake plug-in tree and eggnog. A couple friends stopped in. But the glow of that seminal night shall never be forgotten, and is recalled every year by including it in the annual count of the number of parties hosted down through the years.
A year later, in December 1991, with the News-Press in only its 35th week of publication and facing an uncertain future, despite its penniless circumstances gathered sufficient resources to host the first community-wide holiday party at what was then the Women’s Club. Over 150 showed up, and every year since to the present, similar numbers have graced the annual News–Press holiday parties.
The rationale for the parties? They always reflect what the News-Press, itself, is. The News-Press is, at its core, a community bonding agent, as all good newspapers are. By often taking sides, editorially, it has spurred the community into active deliberation and concern for the best way forward.
While the survival of print newspapers is being severely tested, we believe their revival will come with the recognition that they represent a tactile connection to what makes humans what they are, inseparable from the contexts of community and collaboration in which they operate. While the Internet puts the individual in connection with bits of information on a computer screen, a newspaper is like a membership card to a human community as it negotiates itself locally and in the world.
The News-Press’ annual holiday parties celebrate its role in Falls Church, in the spirit of the holidays, and we hope all our friends can come again this year on Monday, Dec. 21, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the new ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple, and share that joy.