Monthly Archives: December 2019

Monday, 02 Dec 2019

respond

Yes, Virginia

Because journalists deal with crime, disasters, war, and all sorts of bad news, and because they are trained to be skeptical of what politicians and PR people say, they can sometimes sound cynical.

But journalism also serves its community when it enlightens and uplifts.

Here’s a famous letter to the editor submitted to the New York Sun in 1897.

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety Fifth Street

Read the response by editor Francis Church, as preserved by Wikimedia.

The exchange has been often reprinted in the Sun and other newspapers around the world. The story was adapted into a cartoon TV special (I can still remember the opening song lyrics, which were part of December kids programming every year while I was growing up) and a musical (in 2013, my daughter played Virginia and my son played the editor).