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National Buy a Newspaper Day
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Chris Freiberg, a police and military reporter at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska, has declared National Buy a Newspaper Day on Facebook.

He wrote in an e-mail Thursday, "I've been sitting here for the past few days reading about all the doom and gloom in the industry. I felt the need to do something about it, and declaring a 'buy a newspaper day' to try and organize journalists and readers alike seemed to be the best thing that I, as one lowly newspaper reporter, could do."

He set up his Facebook group just before midnight (Alaska time) on Monday.

His e-mail said, "Being trained in new media, I understand that eventually most of what's found in a daily newspaper will make its way online (along with things like videos, slideshows and blogs). However, as I wrote on the event page, my concern is that as far in debt as the big syndicates are, and given the current economic crisis, many papers might just close down completely before they're able to make the transition."

By midnight Thursday, Eastern Time, Freiberg's Facebook group had attracted 2,400 guests and his friend had launched a Web page,

Freiberg, a 2007 graduate of Indiana University, wrote in an e-mail, "The main thing is that I want this to be a movement that starts on Facebook, and not just a Facebook movement that people see on here,
say that they'll join, and that's the end of it."

On the Facebook group page, Freiberg wrote, "The fact of the matter is that the biggest chains are deeply in debt. Major cities that have had at least two daily newspapers for more than a century, such as Chicago and Seattle, might soon find themselves with only one source of news. Other papers, such as those in Detroit are no longer providing daily home delivery. If things get really bad, some experts say that some small towns might not have any paper by 2010. ...

"So for one day, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, please make it a point to pick up your local newspaper (reading it online doesn't count)."

So, National Buy a Newspaper Day will be on Groundhog Day. Let's hope Freiberg's newspaper buyers don't see their shadows and head back underground for six more weeks of winter.

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