Quality journalism is the lifeblood of democracy. There is no doubt that is true as the Founding Fathers believed that if they had to choose between a government without newspapers or newspapers without government they would choose the latter. An informed electorate is important. Communications too are important. Access to communications technologies like broadband, e-mail, SMS and cellular phones that allow us to quickly send/receive messages are crucial to all modern societies. Without a method to communicate to others it becomes harder for individuals to share information with each other. Even in the era of newspapers individuals had the ability to communicate their opinions to others in their community by writing a letter to the editor of their local paper. In a time before e-mail or the Internet such opinion letters had to be mailed to the newspaper’s station.
When an individual’s letter to the editor gets published in the newspaper everyone in a community with a copy of the paper could read the opinion pieces that were published. If someone read an opinion piece printed in the paper they could then reply to the piece and submit their reply for publication in the next issue of the newspaper. Of course individuals could even mail personal letters to one another. Private letters mailed from one individual to another can still be sent via U.S. Mail today but it was extremely crucial for communicating long distances before the telegraph, telephone, radio, or even the Internet were invented.
The U.S. Postal Service is still important today especially for people lacking broadband access who live in rural and remote areas to communicate messages with others. The mission of the U.S. Postal Service is to provide a universal mail service that no privatized mail carrier does which enables people in rural and remote areas to have mail service. Given the problems the U.S. Postal Service is having lately and the partisan attacks by Republicans in Congress against the Postal Service I intend to discuss what’s wrong with the Postal Service, possible reforms of the Postal Service that can allow it to still carry out its stated mission and save it from privatization in a future article. For now though I close with these words journalism is a public good that also needs defending.