News consumers have responsibility to find honest news

The North Wind, produced by the budding journalists at Northern Michigan University, had an editorial in its latest publication discussing the distrust in the news media.

Believe it or not, we here at The Mining Journal hear it from both sides, too. We’re either too liberal or too conservative. Some of you, we’ll guess roughly half, don’t believe the “too liberal” accusation, and we’ll bet the other half of you aren’t buying the “too conservative” charge. Either way, we hope that puts us right about where we should be — in the middle.

As The North Wind’s editorial points out, terms and phrases like “fake news” have become a trendy attack on the trustworthiness of media outlets.

The “wariness” of the media, as The North Wind puts it, has grown into a dark cloud hanging over the heads of those seeking the truth, and creating more obstacles to overcome in what’s an already challenging and complex industry.

Social media has partly contributed to this through the mass circulation of questionable material. The internet has a vast range of stories and things to click on, but a large percentage of it simply isn’t backed up by solid facts, or relies on ones that are twisted or cherry-picked to support the writer’s argument and agenda.

In many respects, it is up to the consumer to find the trustworthy sources. We believe the Journal to be one of those. Each day our reporters work to provide you with stories that matter. Whether you read the printed version of the newspaper daily, or follow our content for free online at miningjournal.net, you can trust the product we provide is accurate.

To many who buy into the “fake news” perspective, media organizations are portrayed as evil, profit-driven enterprises that only want to see the world in ruins, and journalists as the deceitful, degenerate conspirators, who act recklessly as they achieve their own immoral goals.

Understandably, news organizations are businesses, and as such, they seek profits. But the journalists and editors on the front lines, at least here at The Mining Journal, are dedicated to seeking the truth, and presenting that material to our readers in a fair and balanced way.

The U.S. is divided. There’s no doubting that. And trust in the mass media, according to a 2016 Gallup poll, had dropped that year to its lowest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1972. Meanwhile, a survey of U.S. news consumers conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center shows that only 25 percent of respondents have “a lot” of trust in the information they get from local media organizations, as compared to 60 percent who have “some” trust in that content. For national news outlets, the figures are slightly lower at 20 and 52 percent, respectively. Moreover, the Pew Research Center found that about three-quarters of U.S. adults believe the news media favors one side when reporting on political or social issues.

What this says to us, is that while local news groups tend to be seen as slightly more trustworthy than national ones, there’s still work to be done by the local media to build the trust of our consumers.

We believe the majority of people who read the Journal or follow us online do so because they care about what happens in their communities, and believe Journal employees do, too. We pride our work on being accurate and strive to ensure that the product we provide customers is informative, balanced and engaging.

The Journal is an organization made up of your neighbors, family members and friends, and we make every effort to be representative of the people in these communities in which we live.

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