OCTOBER 2, 1947
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Governor Thomas E. Dewey has designated the week of October 1 to 8 a week of "tribute to our newspapers," which he declared were an "indispensable part of free society." He urges that Saturday, Oct. 4, be set aside for "special consideration of newsboys and their contribution to their papers and their readers."
The Governor himself, as a boy, carried papers in his native Owosso, Mich. I can remember well when I was a little girl how many little boys there were selling newspapers morning and evening on the streets. What is today the Children's Aid Society in New York City got its beginning as a club for these little, forlorn and often-neglected waifs. It was organized by my grandfather, Theodore Roosevelt. My father often told me stories of the spectacular rise of some of these little New York City youngsters to whom his father often lent the money to enable them to go West. If I remember rightly, on one of his trips President Theodore Roosevelt met the governor of a western state who told him that his start in life had come through the loan which had made it possible for him to come to the new and developing West.
The same kind of adventure does not beckon to our young people today, except in Alaska, but there are other worlds to conquer. One of these worlds may well be in the field of journalism. As Governor Dewey says, perhaps the first battles for freedom of the press were fought in the State of New York, and I think we can all take pride in the fact that there is at least no government control of any of our newspapers anywhere in the country.
With this freedom there must, of course, go an increasing burden of responsibility, and that is one of the subjects to be discussed at the forthcoming Freedom of Information and the Press Conference, which will be held in Geneva in March, 1948. The provisional agenda proposed for this international meeting is broad and covers all the various ways through which information can be acquired and disseminated.
Our concept of freedom of the press in the United States, of course, is one that requires great faith in the people because it leaves to them to decide whether what they read is an impartial presentation of the subject, or whether it represents primarily the point of view of certain interests and individual writers. By and large, our people seem to have the capacity to read with discrimination and to sift truth from untruth. Because this is so, we can glory in our free press and look forward to the development of better and more responsible journalism in our country.