News and media organizations requesting official statements from representatives within an organization or speaking on their behalf is their duty to be a credible source when releasing information to the public.

In this era of fluid social media engagement, electronic and print journalism which may at times become blurred for an audience seeking verifiable information and accountability – the source of truth is crucial – more so than ever.

Rhetoric is long and loud on the topic of “fake news.” The two most used words in the American language for more than five years now, evokes strong emotions from every side of the aisle, when the term is used.

As a news organization built on trust, the notion of fake news is abhorrent. The purpose and legacy of news is built on the framework of truth, trust and purpose.

The work of news organization is first, to tell the truth, be the conveyor of facts for the public to read and make decisions from.

In the book entitled, “The Elements of Journalism,” by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosentiel, the veteran journalists are clear that gathering, assembling and presenting the facts is journalism’s foundation. Facts must be gathered and verified.

For this newspaper, critical news, when it occurs within a professional organization, must come from the source, the heart of the leadership and decisionmakers – no other. That’s the role of a journalist, to seek out reliable information from one or more sources whenever possible.

It is the organization’s duty to express facts in a timely and complete fashion, but in such a way, where the community newspaper is both a partner and an ally. It’s a process which there are no shortcuts. The truth will eventually come out much sooner than later.

Facebook for all its attributes and drawbacks, is not where journalists want to find organizational facts. An audience should also demand more from those in leadership to present an accountability of information to their public constituents.

Facts come from the leadership and the heart of the organization. The public should also make their media demands clear to officials that dependable information is required from both parties.

It’s best and most professional practice for news which impacts the community, to be received first, then Facebooked, next.

Patrick Shelby for the Sunnyside Sun editorial board.

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