It truly is a milestone for any business to celebrate a 225th anniversary, but that is what The Augusta Chronicle is doing this year.
The Augusta Chronicle is one of the nation's oldest newspapers, having been established in 1785, and has been in continuous publication since. The Augusta Chronicle and Augusta have enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Each has grown and benefited through this relationship.
It is my firm belief that The Augusta Chronicle has made a major contribution to Augusta and the surrounding area throughout its history.
In the early history of our city, The Chronicle was the only means of communication. In those days, we had none of the high-speed, almost instant communication we have today.
Moreover, there was no other media competition -- radio, television and cable had not been thought of. There were some magazines, but not many, and for the most part they were out of date by the time they were received. Books always have been around, but again, the editing and printing process was slow.
The Chronicle , like many of America's other important newspapers, constantly provided the residents of Augusta with accurate and timely commercial and noncommercial information.
Our importance as a gatherer, collector, editor and disseminator of information is both necessary and essential. In a free society such as we are privileged to live in, free people make their own decisions -- about what to do, what to buy and how to vote. They must have information -- and lots of it. The perpetuation of our free society depends on it.
The Chronicle, like many other newspapers across our land, has had good times and bad times. We have experienced times of profitability and times of loss, even bankruptcy. The newspaper has survived all of those difficult times, and continues to do so today.
Our newspaper, like others, has changed in many ways. We have long offered news and advertising over the Internet as well as in print. We are now available on mobile phones and e-readers. Who knows where all of this new technology could take us?
One thing is certain: Cities and towns in a free country need strong and independent newspapers. Newspapers are the major watchdog over government, and the major reporter of what is happening, or is likely to happen, in our communities.
My dad started working at the Chronicle in 1929. He acquired equity in 1945.
I have worked here virtually all of my life, starting as a carrier boy on both bicycle and horseback. Later, I worked in all of the departments of the newspaper. I have been full time since 1956, after I received an ABJ in journalism from the University of Georgia. I have been publisher since 1966.
I am joined by my three children: Will -- CEO of the newspaper company -- Tyler and Susie Morris Baker. My family and I are most grateful to the people of Augusta who have given us the opportunity to serve them with The Chronicle every day.
Augusta is a wonderful community, and my family and I have truly been blessed to have lived here for seven generations. I am most grateful to the wonderful employees who have made The Augusta Chronicle possible every day. Many of them are gone now, but their legacy carries on.
And I am grateful to God for the opportunity to serve as publisher of this great newspaper.
William S. Morris III is the chairman and CEO of Morris Communications Co. and the publisher of The Augusta Chronicle.