Newspaper editors love anniversary stories. But one they overlooked related to their own industry: The Stars and Stripes, the newspaper primarily for the U.S. military, marked its 150th year on Nov. 9, observes Grumpy Editor.
Ten Union soldiers started it in 1861 during the Civil War. That was 10 years after the founding of the New York Times.
Initial editions rolled off presses in the abandoned newspaper office of the Bloomfield Herald, Bloomfield, Mo. (Returning to its roots, The Stars and Stripes Museum/Library is located in that city at 17377 Stars and Stripes Way.)
The publication attracted increased attention during World War I.
Printing was suspended between World War I and World War II but resumed in Europe in 1942 when editions were published in London, Italy, Sicily, France, Germany, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Honolulu.
Pacific editions started in 1945.
Printing facilities and geographic regions covered changed with the movement of American troops.
The number of editions touched 35 during World War II.
The Stars and Stripes has since been a prime source of daily information for U.S. forces from the Korean War, Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The estimated 350,000 readers today equals its readership during the Korean War when the Tokyo-based daily Pacific Stars and Stripes turned out editions covering Japan, South Korea, the far Pacific plus a Tokyo street edition that competed with other newspapers --- both English and Japanese.
Today’s online audience averages more than 3 million page views per month.
Authorized by the Defense Department, The Stars and Stripes is editorially independent.
While in past years most staffers wore U.S. uniforms, its publisher and most of its employees today are civilians.
The newspaper currently publishes four daily editions: Europe, Japan, Korea and the Mideast.
Andy Rooney’s books included one on 'Stripes'
Among the many journalists who wound up as staffers on the military newspaper was Andy Rooney, CBS’ “60 Minutes” commentator who died Nov. 4.
From his three years as a World War II correspondent in Europe for The Stars and Stripes, Rooney later wrote about war experiences in his first three books, including “The Story of The Stars and Stripes.”
Although movie rights were purchased by MGM and Rooney went to Hollywood to write the script, the film was never made.