I like to read the newspaper while I eat breakfast. I started reading the newspaper when I was in my 20s and it's been a hard habit to break. It seems like newspapers have been around forever, but obviously they have changed through the years, so I did a little research.

The printing press was invented around 1440. Before that, the Romans and the Venetians had what we think of as newspapers, but they were hand-written. The first modern newspaper was printed in Germany in the early 1600s. By the 1640s they had spread to every major European city. As soon as the early 1700s you could read a newspaper in the Colonies as well.

Newspapers played a big part in the Revolutionary War. When Bostonian James Franklin was jailed for printing articles that offended King George, he turned his paper over to his brother, Benjamin. Then New York publisher John Zenger was tried in court for publishing seditious material. The judge recommended jail, but the jury acquitted him. This sent a strong signal to King George that his colonists were unhappy. From then on, newspapers took sides in the war. Most papers favored a revolution, but some prominent papers were loyalist.   

In 1791 the passage of the Bill of Rights established the freedom of the press in the US, ensuring the right to publish material that didn't agree with the government. Newspapers were too expensive for most people to afford until 1833 when the "New York Sun" was introduced at 1¢ per day. The "Sun" was printed on a steam operated press and was an early adopter of using ads to underwrite publishing costs.

The advent of the telegraph led to the creation of the Associated Press in 1846 which meant newspapers could now print national news as it came out. Journalist Nellie Bly started her newspaper career in the 1880s and by the 1890s the first comic strip had been published.

Before radio, television, and now the internet, newspapers were how people learned what was going on in the world. A few years ago, someone asked me to do some research on the history of newspapers in Banner County. I learned that between 1888 and the 1950s, Banner County had eight different newspapers. This information came from "Banner County and its People vol. 1." 

How we consume news has changed through the ages. The introduction of the internet in the 1990s changed a lot of media as well. First the "Denver Post" then the "Omaha World Herald" stopped daily delivery, and now the "Star Herald" has followed suit. (should I leave out Star Herald?) Social media has been another game changer. "The Washington Post" has a popular TikTok channel, and you can find most news outlets on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

But social media isn't for everyone. What about plain old newspapers? If you miss the "Omaha World Herald" and the "Denver Post," I have good news for you. It's called NewsBank. You can access these and many more newspapers for free through the Gering Library. With your library card in hand, go to This takes you to the library’s website. On the right side of the page is a column of boxes with links to our catalog and Libby on them. You will also see a button that says "Omaha World Herald." You will be prompted to enter your library card number then you can choose which paper to look at and whether you want to see the paper as an image or as a list of linked articles. If you have trouble getting started, just call the library and we can walk you through the process. 

I discovered you can even print off the crossword, so I will be able to enjoy my breakfast and keep my mind sharp at the same time.