Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Valdosta Times on “fake news:”
The Atlanta Press Club’s recent symposium on fake news highlighted the importance of reliable news sources.
The proliferation of false reports shared on Facebook and the genesis of spurious websites means that trusted news sources are more important than ever.
Susanna Capelouto, senior editor at WABE in Atlanta, was tapped by the press club to facilitate the Media Literacy discussion.
Capelouto aptly pointed out a distinction between trustworthy news reporting by bona fide news sources as juxtaposed to the purveyors of what has been called fake news.
Legitimate news sources police the integrity of reports by what she called the Three Es:
Journalists are not credentialed or licensed by government and for good reason.
As Capelouto said, no one wants government deciding what is true and not true and what will be reported or not reported.
Keith Herndon, journalism professor from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, agreed saying the media must operate as the Fourth Estate, holding government accountable and operating with complete independence.
Journalists, unlike most bloggers, adhere to a code of ethics, generally either the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics or a similar code adopted by the news organization itself. The codes require journalists to seek truth and report it; do no harm; act independently and be accountable and transparent.
Editors require reporters to adhere to journalistic rigors, fact-check and help to ensure reports are credible and reliable before publication.
Both individual and institutional experience in gathering, writing and editing the news is critical to protecting the veracity of reports.
No such rigors are applied to social media sites and independent blogs.
The intentional purveyors of fake news are slick and can be quite difficult to detect.
A number of the sites have been identified by Politifact but are still shared on social media while new fake sites, posing as major news outlets, are cropping up at an alarming rate.
For example ABCNews.com.co, may look like ABC News but it is an imposter. There are similar fake sites posing as the New York Times, the Washington Post and a host of other sites.
Looking real and being real are not the same thing.
The fact that newspapers, and other media, sometimes make mistakes does not make them fake news outlets.
There is vast difference between making a mistake, whether it is a typo or a factual error, and intentionally spreading falsehoods and totally fabricated reports.
Trustworthy media sources readily and quickly correct mistakes.
Fake news sources just keep spreading false information.
We encourage our readers to be discerning and double check the source before blindly sharing viral posts on social media.
Here are a few questions you should ask about a link on social media:
- Is the story being reported by more than one news outlet? (exclusives are rare these days)
- Is the URL legit or does it contain questionable extensions? (.co instead of .com, for example)
- Does the story itself contain multiple sources?
- Is the story a news story or an opinion column?
No one wants to be duped by a fabricated report and no one wants to be made to look stupid to their social media friends by sharing a totally false, made-up, article. So, be careful and trust trustworthy news sources.
We like what Capelouto said at the press club event Monday when she said there is “no such thing as ‘fake’ news.”
Her point: It’s either news or it’s fake.
It can’t be both.
The LaGrange Daily News on hot weather:
School is out until August, the temperature is hot and no relief is in sight. Although it feels like summer, we’re still three weeks away from the official beginning of the summer season, meaning the hot weather is here to stay.
Of course, we’re used to that in Georgia by now.
Temperatures are expected to stay in the mid to high 80s throughout the week, but long-range forecasts predict they will creep into the 90s by the mid-part of June.
Although we’re accustomed to the hot weather, it doesn’t mean we can’t ignore it and just go about our day as if it doesn’t affect us. The American Red Cross says on its website that it’s important to slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
The Red Cross also recommends checking on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning or who spend a lot of their time alone.
Make sure to check on the elderly.
If you don’t have air conditioning, it’s best to go somewhere to get out of the heat, such as schools, libraries, theaters or malls.
There are many things to consider as the weather warms up, but the biggest ones can be common sense.
For instance, wear sunscreen when outdoors, take plenty of cold water if you have to be outside during the hottest part of the day and if you start exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, find a cool place to sit down.
The hot weather isn’t going anywhere, so it’s best to start preparing now.
The summer is great because it gives us a chance to be outdoors in nice, warm weather, but it can also be dangerous due to the hot temperatures. Make sure to prepare yourself.
The Newnan Times-Herald on “dreaming big:”
There’s something going around. More and more people locally are catching it.
What’s happening is people are dreaming big, very big. It’s exciting to be around unbounded visionaries because their enthusiasm is contagious, which explains why there are so many major projects in the works.
Consider a few recent news stories:
-The state has plans to make Chattahoochee Bend State Park into a world-class destination, at least within the mountain-bike community.
-The nation’s first German-style apprenticeship program here is completing its first year successfully and is expanding next school year.
-A proposal for a multi-sport complex would have an estimated six-to-one payback ratio because spending by tournament participants, their families and fans would boost the local tourism industry.
-Plans in neighboring Heard County for a destination all-terrain vehicle course would draw visitors through Coweta County and enrich our hospitality industry.
-A 25-mile network of trails for walking, running and biking could ensure our robust real estate market remains smoking hot, experts say.
-The Newnan campus of the University of West Georgia is slated to become the prototype for 21st century higher education.
Of course, not all of these projects will reach fruition, and maybe they all shouldn’t. The boastful forecasts for each of them will also turn out to be overly optimistic in most cases. Grownups know that.
Still, this is a lot of major projects under consideration. That doesn’t count those already in the works, like construction of an interstate interchange, the expansion of Piedmont Newnan and paving of McIntosh Parkway - all necessary to keep up with the county’s current growth rate while fueling future growth.
Fortunately, the momentum from these ambitious projects snowballs as it picks up speed and side benefits. The pace they set becomes the quick-time tempo for the whole community.
The hustle of our community is palpable to anyone who’s spent time in a stagnant one. Dynamism begets dynamism. Imagination feeds imagination. Optimism encourages optimism.
As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Victor Hugo are each credited with saying, “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to stir the souls of men.”
Remember the fun we’re having here and now. It’s truly a remarkable period in the history of Coweta County, and your grandchildren will wonder about it one day. And dream your own big dreams.
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