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The Cooperator
An Unofficial History of the Greenbelt News Review

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page 5 of 7

In November 1937, only 169 families lived in Greenbelt. As the community grew, it became harder and harder for its newspaper to cover the many events taking place in the city. As a result, the News Review began to specialize.

Today, the only category of news that the News Review staff covers regularly is civic affairs. Although coming events continue to be reported, society and recreation news has shrunk to a small, long-running column called "Our Neighbors"; other than that, the News Review depends on submissions from community organizations or occasional submissions from its staff writers. Major crimes stories are covered by the staff, but for its regular coverage, the News Review depends on reports supplied by the city police. The News Review no longer provides regular coverage of business, recreation, schools, religion, sports, and the arts.

In one area, though, the News Review has provided a depth of coverage rarely seen in weekly newspapers: politics. If the city council gathers for a meeting or a work session, if a city committee convenes, if the local housing cooperative holds a business meeting, and if a school board or transportation authority or county government considers matters that are related to Greenbelt, almost certainly a reporter from the News Review will be sitting in the corner of the room, taking notes.

City Council Work Session at New Deal Cafe

The hard work and persistence of the News Review's reporters was established by The Cooperator's first editor, Louis Bessemer. On Greenbelt's fiftieth anniversary, his wife recalled the energetic activities of the community's early residents.

My husband was the town's first mayor ($25 per year) and The Cooperator's first editor. He had lived in a religious cooperative as a boy a group of 200 and he was very interested in cooperatives. . . .

We lived at 45-J Ridge Road. During our first year there, Louis was out practically every night until 12:00 or 1:00 o'clock planning, organizing, etc. . . . Besides being mayor and editor, he helped organize the medical co-op and the citizens' association. His heart was wholeheartedly in the work, hence he gave of himself in full measure to the point of physical exhaustion. Ten years ago Mrs. McCamy told my son and me that many of the things Louis helped establish were still going forward. We felt like pioneers to a new way of life.

[Looking Back (Greenbelt, Md.: City of Greenbelt, 1987), 5-6.]

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