Column: Trust issues

I work for newspapers and I’m proud of it.

But news is mine – our – currency and we have embraced every way of telling it in the last few years.

The media is a changing industry. We tell what we need to tell in every format we can and the industry is changing on demand.

We adapt as we go but I firmly believe that as long as we stick to the basics – telling a story accurately, well and with flair – regional media will remain the most trusted source of local information, news and features.

It is all very well reading it on Facebook – but if the source is unknown and unchecked would you trust it?

You are probably wondering why I have chosen today to expouse my belief in the media – but it was prompted by a conversation with a stranger.

The person, who will remain unnamed – chose to berate me for the newspapers’ perceived failure in picking up a story of relevance to the local community.

He had seen it on Twitter. Investigations soon proved the story to have no substance, it was an off the cuff comment that the chain of whispers has converted into fact. Which is where the danger lies.

I genuinely believe that the more information is readily available via social media, the more necessary a trusted news media becomes, and that comes from somebody who is as big a fan of social media as you can get.

I genuinely believe it is a source of community, belonging and a resource of hope to many people.

It is not coincidence that many Facebook users seek affirmation of positivity, with people sharing the sunshine in their lives, their prides and joys and consciously or unconsciously seeking positive responses to their comments.

Of course, this can go the other way – popular Facebook groups in particular, where users feel (erroneously) freer to comment often struggle to police themselves adequately with bitter, often fairly libellous, rows breaking out frequently.

Local media will always play a role in the community as a trusted source, a managed and balanced source of local news provided by people working with the local community.

Times are tough and how we provide news willkeep changing. But we will keep fighting for the truth.

This column appeared in the Lancaster Guardian. CLICK HERE