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An Open Letter To Wisconsin

Last updated on April 5, 2020

This article contains opinions and/or editorial content.

This article was edited to correct formatting.

Newspapers have been the trusted source of news for centuries.  You knew that. Because you’re reading this in a newspaper–a newspaper you trust.

As we enter a time of turmoil that our nation hasn’t seen since the Second World War, it’s important to know who we can trust to give us information and insight without pushing an agenda. We’ve come a long way since Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, Bob Woodward and Helen Thomas.  Broadcast news is driven by profits, and social media gains influence by inciting fear and partisanship.

During the ongoing situation with the Novel Corona Virus and COVID-19, you will be hearing and reading a lot of things from a lot of places.  When you do, go back to your local newspaper and see what they say.

As journalists, we do more than just publish what we hear. We research the topic, talk to experts, and get confirmation.  We compare information from multiple sources to find the underlying truth–and discover where the “facts” don’t hold up.

In a time of crisis such as this, we need to question our sources to make sure that we’re accurately presenting the information we’re given.  And we need to coordinate between sources to make sure that what we print is the best, most comprehensive, and most accurate version of what is known.

That is our burden, our responsibility, and our honor.

As we move through this current crisis, a lot of people are going to tell you that they should be trusted because they have all the answers.

That’s why you shouldn’t trust them. Nobody has “all the answers”–not even us.

Doctors aren’t experts on economics. Economists aren’t experts on medicine. It’s the place of the mayor to speak for the city, and the head of the local EMS can only speak with authority about the EMS.

Journalists are not experts in the topics we write about.  Nor do we claim to be.

Our skill is in knowing how to present the information–what to say, what not to say, and how to do both appropriately.

As we head into uncertain times, look to the sources that have been with you all along.  Look to the newspapers that you have learned to trust–and make us live up to it.

Blaze Miskulin
Lodi Valley Chronicle

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