This week is National Newspaper Week, and I'm sure you're wondering what that means.

To put it simply, it's just a week to remind people that newspapers are an important part of the First Amendment, set forth in the Constitution of the United States.

The amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of

grievances.

This is where we get freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peaceably assemble and the freedom to petition the government for a grievance.

Imagine for a minute what our country would be like without these rights.

These freedoms are not guaranteed to everyone around the world, and we should be thankful. When forming a new government of the United States of America, our forefathers wanted to ensure that every citizen to ever live in this country enjoyed these rights. And that is a powerful thing.

At a newspaper, we use this freedom to publish information that is useful and informative to our readers. We let you know what is going on around you; we try to keep you informed of your local governments and your rights as a citizen.

Sometimes the topics we report on are unpleasant, but not reporting on them doesn't mean they aren't happening. Our duty simply is to keep you informed.

Sometimes it's as basic as reporting when voting deadlines are occurring, while at other times, it's letting you know if a sex offender lives in your neighborhood. Sometimes we are given information freely from local government entities, and sometimes we have to request it. During the times when we have to use the Freedom of Information Act to request public information, we are doing it for you … the reader. It's our job to keep you informed.

We can't make people read the newspaper. But we hope if we consistently publish articles that are useful, that we will gain a following of readers who will trust us as a reliable news source.

We provide a service, and we want you to use that service to be an informed resident of our city, county and region.

We put a lot of effort into our reporting, and we are thankful for our subscribers and readers!

Let's lift up the First Amendment and use it to our advantage.

Jacksonville Progress

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