Salena Zito: All news is local

WEST NEWTON, PA — There used to 324 newspapers in the state of Pennsylvania.

Today, there are about 60 – give or take a few.

The Pennsylvania Gazette is the first one on record not just in the colony of Pennsylvania but in all of the Crown’s colonies — Benjamin Franklin bought the paper with a partner in 1729 – he contributed to it as well, mostly under aliases.

Among the many firsts the plucky paper would print was the first political cartoon in America, “Join, or Die,” authored by Franklin. It also printed the then-treasonous texts of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” and the Federalist Papers.

It was bold, it was brash, it was opinionated, and it served its readers well.

Here in West Newton, only ghosts remain of its once ‘esteemed’ Times Sun; their first building along the railroad tracks only carries a faint trace of its existence on the side of the building. When the owner James Quigley Waters Jr. died in 1930 after running the paper for 34 years, local papers noted it widely — when it was forced to close that location nine years later, only a want-ad notice ran in the Pittsburgh Press for the sale of the building and its presses.

Read the full story HERE.

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