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AS I SEE IT

Posted 10/04/17 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Recently newspapers across the country have been taking a beating by everyone from the president of the United States to people sitting around the coffee table who are claiming that everything that newspapers are carrying is nothing more than fake news.
To those of us in the newspaper industry, being called a purveyor of fake news is pretty unsettling when there are far more people across the country who know that they can trust and believe the stories that appear in their newspaper whether that is a large daily or a small weekly newspaper, like the McKenzie County Farmer. As a whole, newspapers have always been, and will always be, the most trusted source of news in the world.
In a world that is full of fake news which spreads like a wildfire on social media, it is important that people understand some key differences on what you see in a newspaper versus what you see and read on a social media page.
First, newspapers are staffed with real people. You see these people gathering news, conducting interviews, attending meetings and sporting events. By and large, the people covering the local events that you are most interested in reading about are people that live in your community. They are just as concerned about what happens at a city council, school board or county commission meeting as you are. It is their job to report what happens fairly and accurately.  
Second, newspapers rely on people to provide them with the facts. That is why you see quotes from city, county and school officials or some other reputable source in each and every article. Journalists don’t make up quotes.
While some readers may not like some of the news stories that they see in a newspaper, they need to know that the stories are being reported as accurately and fairly as can be done with the information that the reporter has.
But in reality, without a newspaper, there really wouldn’t be much news available elsewhere. How many times have you seen reports on television or radio that you had already read in your local newspaper? No doubt it was a local newspaper that did the hard legwork on getting that story to the public. The radio station or television reporter simply “cherry-picked” the newspaper’s story and rebroadcast a short synopsis of the story.
Do you believe everything that you read on the internet or on social media? You shouldn’t! Unless, of course, it comes from a respected news media site, which virtually every newspaper in the nation maintains in addition to its printed product.
“Real Newspapers, Real News” is the theme of this year’s National Newspaper Week, which is Oct. 1-7.
Can you imagine a day without local news?
Can you imagine not knowing what is happening in your city, your school, your county?
For hundreds of years, people have turned to their local newspaper as a trusted and reliable source of information.
Newspapers don’t take that trust lightly. Which is why we say that “real newspapers bring real news.”