July 12, 2004

The Providence Journal to celebrate its 175th anniversary

Providence, RI -- On July 21st, America's oldest, continuously published major daily newspaper of general circulation celebrates its 175th anniversary. That paper is Rhode Island's very own The Providence Journal.

Throughout the Journal's 175-year history, the paper has covered many significant events both locally and abroad. While local news has remained the Journal's strength, the paper also has covered many significant stories in American history, too -- from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to the Wright brothers' flight at Kitty Hawk. Generations of Rhode Islanders have relied on the paper for fair and informed accounts -- at times, often referring to the paper by such nicknames as "The Rhode Island Bible" or "The Conscience of New England." And to the Journal's credit, three out of four of its Pulitzer Prizes are for local news coverage -- the most recent Pulitzer in 1994 for the Journal's investigative reporting on Rhode Island's Supreme Court system.

There have been many other awards and distinctions for the Journal as well. This April, the paper was named the New England Newspaper Association's Newspaper of the Year, an award The Providence Journal also captured in 2002 and 1999.

To celebrate its 175th anniversary, the Journal is publishing a series of historical, in-paper advertisements that chronicle the newspaper's story through the significant events and stories covered over the past 175 years. The anniversary advertising campaign will run within the pages of the Journal through December.

On July 21st, the newspaper will publish a 48-page commemorative section within that day's newspaper. The freestanding, pull-out section will chronicle a wide range of historical events, from 1829 to the present, including Andrew Jackson's 1829 State of the Union address, the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the northeast Blizzard of 1978 and the 1991 Rhode Island state banking crisis. Plus, inside the commemorative anniversary section, the Journal will include a reprint of its recently discovered first edition, Vol. 1, No. 1, printed on July 21, 1829.

For years, The Providence Journal has reported that no known copy of its first edition existed. Yet in preparation for the paper's 175th anniversary, a final search was attempted. Vol. 1, No. 1 finally was found safely tucked in the archives at the Library of Congress facility in Landover, Md., in early June. The mystery of the whereabouts of the first issue of America's oldest continuously published daily finally was solved. And, the Library of Congress has leant the preserved first edition of the newspaper to the Journal, which will house the July 21, 1829 issue in its own news library at 75 Fountain Street during the 175th celebration.

Journal employees, on July 21st, will seal a time capsule preserving pieces of newspaper life from the year 2004 and celebrate with an outdoor ice cream social, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the paper's downtown Providence location.

Employees will preserve in its 175th anniversary time capsule such items as a signed pressrun layout of the July 21, 2004, anniversary newspaper, a truck route manifest, employee handbook and even a signature pair of red suspenders, the trademark of Journal Political Columnist M. Charles Bakst. The Journal's time capsule will remain sealed -- and placed on display in the lobby of its downtown Providence facility -- until the paper's 200th anniversary in 2029.

For the community, the paper will celebrate its 175-year-legacy by sponsoring a WaterFire on July 21st, from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, along the Providence, Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket rivers in downtown Providence. The event is free and open to the public.

About The Providence Journal
The Providence Journal is part of Belo Corp., one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with approximately 7,900 employees and $1.4 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates news and information franchises in some of America's most dynamic markets and regions, including Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, Rhode Island, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Belo owns 19 television stations (six in the top 15 markets) reaching 13.8 percent of U.S. television households; owns or operates 10 cable news channels; and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. Belo's daily newspapers include The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Texas). Belo Interactive's new media businesses include 30 Web sites, several interactive alliances, and a broad range of Internet-based products. Additional information, including earnings releases, is available online at www.belo.com. For more information, contact Barbara J. Nauman, promotion director of The Journal, at 401.277.7623.