How did you happen to get interested in journalism initially?
I came to be interested in journalism through my associations and knowledge of printmaking. I was born in the dense forests and mountains of the Palatinate region (a subset of the Rhine country) in Germany. I don’t remember much about my early childhood, but that area of Germany I spent my early foundational years in was plagued with issues of poverty due to long standing wars and the greed of local government. Along with many other impoverished citizens, my father was promised a slice of land in return for his seven hard years of labor at the bidding of the local rulers. During the journey to this new land, a quarter of the voyagers perished. Among them was my own father (“John Peter Zenger Biography”). I was thirteen at the time, but the memory of losing my father will forever stick with me. The incompetence and greed of the government bothered me greatly, even at such a young age. Soon after the tragic death of my father, my mother and us three children, immigrated to the United States in 1710, mores specifically New York City. Our family could no longer live with a corrupt and power hungry regime, and my mother wished to start a new life with new opportunities. America was the obvious answer as colonial life was really starting to pick up. Upon arrival in this new land, I began my 8 year apprenticeship with William Bradford. At the time, Bradford was considered a pioneer of colonial printing (“John Peter Zenger Biography”). I choose to enter the world of printing and journalism because I realized the value in being able to openly express opinions and ideas. The only real way to counter the deep distrust I held for the government was to promote dissent through the printed newspaper. As well as authoring some articles of my own, I was a large scale publisher of other people’s opinions through my craft of printmaking. This course of action would