Benjamin Franklin, January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790 & his brother James Franklin, February 4, 1697 – February 4, 1735 left an indelible mark on not only American history but news history as well. The New England Courant was one of the first newspapers in the US. But more importantly it was the first independent newspaper that believed in Free Speech, Protection of Sources and willingness to be jailed if need be to protect them.
The traditions that were started in the brief few years The New England Courant was published lived on and grew into some of the basic tenants of our country and our traditions of Freedom of the Press and the the power of the Forth Estate.
We believe that in this fast paced world of instant publishing and social media The New England Courant deserved to live again. Not as an imitation or a pale reflection of the genius and adherence to principles the Franklin Brothers showed and lived but as a reminder with each post and story that a free and independent press is vital to our freedom as a society.
As our founders so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence about Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We at times have forgotten the importance of the order of these words. Life comes first as is should and it is followed next by Liberty. Without Liberty there can be no Pursuit of Happiness.
The New England Courant, Poor Richards Almanac, The Pennsylvania Gazette and others not only published the news of the day but helped build a shared and unique identity of what it was and is to be an American. It can be argued that they sowed the seeds that helped this nation grow and thrive.
It can also be argued that without “Silence Dogood”, “Poor Richard”, “Poor Robin” and the wisdom they imparted along with the news helped make us unique long before the tea made its way into the Boston Harbor.
Homely sayings such as: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”, “It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.”, “Well done is better than well said.”, “Lost time is never found again.”, “A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave.” and hundreds more repeated for decades before the American Revolution helped ensure the eventual outcome.
A Free Press helps ensure these principles may live on. A Free Press can also be an encouraging and uplifting press as well. Community News can uplift and amplify the good, kind and noble in our lives each and everyday. Help us build a news vehicle that can do that each and everyday.
After a 288 year hiatus we hope to keep the Franklin Brother’s Ideals of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press and Community Spirit alive and well. The is will be built as a co-op where 80% of the revenue will go directly back to the writers and contributors with 20% for marketing, technological development and maintenance and hopefully a smidgen of profit.
Let us know if you would like to join our quest to rebuild The New England Courant into a proud publication that will carry on the traditions started over 280 years ago. The core principals are just as relevant now as when the 16 year old Ben Franklin slipped his “Silence Dogood” letters under the door and when the 25 year old James Franklin spent a month in jail instead of revealing the identity of one of his writers.
John Hamilton, January 15, 2014