Consuming information is not really a hard thing to do in today’s society. Pretty much all of us have a device on us at all times that puts a world of information at our fingertips. Smartphones, tablets, even watches can give you the latest breaking news.
Having access to information is a tremendous advantage, but it really only helps if where you get your information is reputable. That was one of the messages former Atlanta Journal-Constitution senior managing editor Bert Roughton touched on during his speech Tuesday at the Rotary Club of St. Simons Island’s weekly meeting at Sea Palms Resort.
“My challenge to you is to think about what you consume as far as information,” Roughton told the audience. “It’s just too important. They didn’t put the first amendment in there to protect contempt. They put it in there to protect democracy.”
Having immediate access to information is great, except when a circumstance arises where immediacy is not helpful. Take for instance the fallout from a confrontation between an elderly Native American and a group of teens wearing the now familiar ‘Make America Great Again’ red hat that signifies one’s support for President Trump.
The internet exploded with vitriol and hate, but the story was more complex than a video let on. It took a couple of days worth of reporting to get the story right. Of course, that likely doesn’t matter to people on both sides who saw a video and immediately took sides.
Information is powerful currency for a lot of people. Context is a key component to any story. It’s why every story must be vetted thoroughly before it is sent out to a wide audience.
That is what we at The Brunswick News do in every edition of our paper. Our reporters and editors go through stories with a fine-tooth comb for not only accuracy and grammar, but to make sure the story is worth being printed.
Perhaps now more than ever, community journalism is a beacon that can cut through the noise and clutter of our information overload, and deliver stories that are powerful, enriching, ask the important questions and gives you the answers. We may make mistakes along the way — we are human, after all — but we will continue to do our best to bring our readers the news that matters to them.