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Journalism: Reporting the truth is vital to our democracy

America needs journalists.

While this year’s National Newspaper Week gives us the opportunity to talk about that statement, as it is the organization’s theme for the year, the words themselves have always been true. The citizens of this country NEED professionals who take seriously their responsibility to report on the information our readers would not find otherwise.

This country needs those who value accuracy, fairness and the presentation of as many perspectives as possible; and honesty when presenting facts versus opinion.

Frankly, consumers of news deserve better than to be manipulated by those who pretend to present news while operating under the entertainment wing of their respective media organizations.

To quote this year’s National Newspaper Week ad campaign, “When leaders threaten journalists, they threaten everyone’s First Amendment rights. Journalists are often the first responders on the public’s right to know. They act as trusted watchdogs of government transparency.”

It is impossible to overestimate that word, “trusted.” If you do not trust that we are doing our best to bring you accurate, unbiased information; and to shine a light on that which those in power hope will remain unseen, we have nothing.

Here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, we know our readers rely on us to ask tough questions — even when officials hope to throw us off by implying the reporting of fact is an attack. We know you turn to us to find out when your church picnic will be held, who scored the winning touchdown in last night’s high school football game and whether your local government has just voted to increase fees.

We at The Parkersburg News and Sentinel are grateful you trust enough to turn to us for the truth. Thank you. We will work, always, to continue to earn that trust.

But it bears repeating, not just this week, but always, for the Mid-Ohio Valley; for ALL of us: America needs journalists.

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