Editorial : Wisdom, folly and social media “news”

By Becky Jane Newbold,

Managing Editor

Let’s get a few things straight. In our new world where some wake and sleep, live and die by social media, let us not forget, it’s just that: social.

The Press is an American institution. If unsure, reread the Constitution. See that part that reads: “freedom of the press”? Our soldiers fight and die for our right to a free press. We will never dishonor their battles by doing a poor job.

Many turn to their comfortable circle of social media contacts for news, leaving doors wide open for inaccuracies. And paving the way for a skeptical analysis of all journalists.

Never underestimate the prowess of experienced journalists. Never take for granted the power the Constitution grants our citizens, protected by the military and guarded vigilantly by the Press.

Journalists are a stubborn lot. Among the first to praise a job well done and among the last to give in when they smell a rat.

Social media certainly has a place in our society. It offers a forum to bring attention to beauty in life: Sunsets, children, puppies and a well plated meal. Social media is expert at provocation of emotional responses. Ever feel strong emotions when on your social media of choice?

And social media is a forum for raising alarm when things don’t appear correct, an immediate response to the unjust in society. Emotional? Yes. Important. Absolutely.

Contrary to real media, social media posts can blast (almost) anything for the world to see and read. This definitely has value. Unless the facts are missing. The Press cannot operate with no regard for the truth.

Operating by a code of ethics, journalists are bound by the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability.

Empty accusations and uneducated statements proposed as truth are dangerous. All the Press is allowed to use when reporting news (reference again, the Constitution) is the facts.

Teaching the younger generation the difference between fiction and reality is a responsibility we all share. Lead by example. Maintain civility and protect freedom by behaving and speaking with dignity and truth.

May we never allow the “Information Age” to alter our perception of the facts.

The truth shall set you free.

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