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The Cooperator
An Unofficial History of the Greenbelt News Review

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page 7 of 7

Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Association, Inc. v. Bresler has been cited in a number of court cases since then that uphold freedom of the press. Remarkably, then, the newspaper that had been formed in order to sustain the principles of democracy was judged by the Supreme Court to have done just that. Yet even before the case was heard, the judgment of Greenbelters on this question had already been made. In most communities, it seems unlikely that a tiny newspaper could have received enough community support to take its case to the highest court in the nation. In Greenbelt, when volunteers came knocking at the door asking for money, ninety-five percent of the citizens who were approached offered their financial support.

Many changes have taken place since The Cooperator published its first mimeographed issue, but the most remarkable aspect of the News Review's history is that the newspaper continues to exist in something resembling its original form. The Greenbelt News Review is still published by a cooperative, it is still staffed by volunteers, it is still distributed to every household in Greenbelt, and since November 1937 the newspaper has not missed a deadline (even on the week in 1982 when a briefcase carrying the articles to the printer fell onto a highway).

Most importantly, over the years the News Review has never lost sight of its ideal of being a community newspaper. Weak in areas where it was originally strong, strong in areas where many community newspapers are weak, the Greenbelt News Review continues to live up to its original, quixotic promise: to be "an adjunct of self-government [and] the keystone in the arch of American liberty."

© 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson

[Page formats, images & captions by Community Webmaster]


News Review Masthead - May 8, 1997


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