Some things never change. We are proud to emphasize today that The Intelligencer's philosophy of serving our communities, states and nation is one of them.
Today, we at The Intelligencer mark our 161st birthday. In looking back, we are struck both by how the world has changed and how our newspaper has remained steadfast in its mission to inform and lead.
Our very first edition, on Aug. 24, 1852, proclaimed The Intelligencer's foundation of service: "All that the people require in order to arrive at proper conclusions is light and information."
The newspaper's founders pledged to strive for accuracy in reporting the news - something we still consider to be not merely important, but vital.
It was made clear that day in 1852 that The Intelligencer's leadership through editorials would be guided not by a single-minded devotion to a political party or ideology, but would be driven by "the wants and needs of the community."
Though that first edition was just four pages of small type, tiny headlines and almost no illustrations, it set something of a pattern.
Plenty of local news then and now has been a source of pride at The Intelligencer. Our first edition included items on a debate in Congress over the proposed Suspension Bridge in Wheeling, on the proposed Pittsburgh and Steubenville railroad, about a leading Marshall County man who backed Winfield Scott for president, concerning plans to open a new hotel (the McLure House), and about the "rapidly approaching completion" of the Centre Market. Reports of river boats leaving from and arriving at ports including Grave Creek, Steubenville and Wheeling were provided.
National and international news, with emphasis on politics, filled a substantial amount of space. So did the entertainment news of 1852, including a story about opera singer Jenny Lind, described as "a wreck of her former self."
There also was coverage of a collision between two boats on Lake Erie, in which more than 300 people died. The Intelligencer's strong editorial stance was introduced that day, with a demand for "stringent preventive laws" to avoid such catastrophes in the future. "There is fault somewhere, responsibility somewhere," the editors stressed.
That was 161 years ago. Our news coverage, with emphasis on the local area and reports on important state, national and international events, remains much the same. So does our concern with accuracy.
Our editorial pages remain sources of strong, fearless leadership, shining light on concerns and focusing on solutions that serve the people of our area.
Yes, the world is a very different place than it was in 1852. The Intelligencer is, in some ways, a very different newspaper.
But in what matters - dedication to serving our readers - we are precisely the same.
That is worth celebrating. So, today, we hope you will join us in wishing ourselves a "Happy Birthday!" and in looking forward to many more years of dedication and service.