Credibility factor

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Journalists focused on local news an invaluable resource

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  • Kurt Johnson
    Kurt Johnson
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Where do you turn these days for information you can use and, perhaps more importantly, believe to be credible? In the midst of a polarizing election season, I invite you to consider the role of your local newspaper as that trusted source.
Journalism is under siege now across our nation and around the world, threatened by a social media-driven surge to share thoughts and opinion as fact. Even network television news, once anchored on the Walter Cronkite trust factor, now often reflects blatantly slanted coverage based on a network’s political affiliation. It’s a discouraging trend, to be sure, especially for those seeking news and information that impacts their lives at the local level, here at home. 
Having access to news about itself helps unite a community, which is what a local newspaper is all about. It gives us a sense of place, and few here would disagree that Hamilton County, Nebraska, is indeed a wonderful place.
During this National Newspaper Week, the role and relevance of newspapers in your community deserves consideration. Consider, for example, stories you’ve read in the News-Register this past year, offering facts, figures and insight not published anywhere else.
Our news staff has worked hard NOT to be the COVID-News-Register, focusing each week on reporting uplifting stories about your neighbors and kids and life and goings-on away from the pandemic. It can be simply overwhelming to try and absorb all the conflicting COVID-related information that changes by the day, thus we think it’s important to celebrate local achievement and report what’s happening in your home town.
And when reporting on COVID-19, our sources have been local health officials, local school superintendents, local business leaders and local citizens sharing what they know and how they feel. There is no spin factor to consider, no social media fact checkers needed, which is in and of itself significant.
Local journalists tell the stories that are fun to read, but even more importantly, the ones we need to know. Consider, for example, all the taxpayer-funded budgets approved within the last month, which ANR covered in detail. Later this month we’ll share stories about the growing number of local home school families, the challenges and impact of local employees working remotely in a COVID world, and a one-year review of the city of Aurora’s fire-based EMS operations. You simply won’t find that kind of local reporting on Facebook, or anywhere else. 
Credible journalism matters. Newspapers matter. Your newspaper matters, and we appreciate your readership and support.
-- Kurt Johnson

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