The Falls Church News-Press was deeply honored last Monday night to receive at the virtual meeting of the Falls Church City Council a proclamation signed by Mayor David Tarter celebrating the 30th anniversary of the newspaper, which has been written, prepared, printed and distributed to every single household in the City and more since March 28, 1991, a total of more than 1,561 consecutive editions.
The editorial in the first edition quoted then Mayor Brian O’Connor’s citation by Thomas Jefferson, who wrote after the American revolution said that if it came to a choice between government and a free press, he’d consider the latter more important to the general good of the public.
We reprint this week’s proclamation in full below because it situates so well the News-Press’ milestone with the value of a free press, overall, an affirmation especially important given the relentless assault the free press came under from the previous U.S. presidential administration. The proclamation reads as follows:
“Whereas, the Falls Church News-Press is celebrating the 30th anniversary of consecutive weekly publication of Falls Church’s independent, locally-owned newspaper; and
“Whereas, the Falls Church News-Press was first published on March 28, 1991, to benefit the residents of the City of Falls Church and its environs with an independent newspaper of record providing news, announcements, comments, letters to the editor, advertising, and items of human interest; and
“Whereas, the Falls Church News-Press has established itself as the newspaper of record for Falls Church, Virginia; has been certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia to publish official legal notices; is a member in full standing of the Virginia Press Association; and is a member of the Washington-Baltimore Suburban Press Network; and
“Whereas, the longevity of the paper is due to the tireless dedication of the News-Press staff, and especially to founder and editor Nicholas Benton, to reporting on local events and issues important to Falls Church residents; and
“Whereas, our nation’s founders understood that freedom of the press and an informed citizenry are cornerstones of a democracy; and
“Whereas, the Commonwealth has played a vital role in promoting First Amendment rights throughout history; and
“Whereas, in 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights was the first declaration of rights to call for a free press; and
“Whereas, the Falls Church News-Press plays an important role in promoting and protecting First Amendment rights in the City and the Commonwealth; and
“Whereas, celebrating this milestone anniversary with the Falls Church News-Press is an opportunity to remind residents of the necessity of a free press, and emphasize the importance of newspapers in fostering accountability, transparency, improved public policy, community participation, and government responsiveness in the everyday lives of people;
“Now, therefore I, David Tarter, Mayor of the City of Falls Church, Virginia, do hereby proclaim the Falls Church News-Press as a vital civic, historical, and archival resource for the community and commend Mr. Benton on 30 years of consecutive weekly publication of the newspaper.”