A newspaper junkie laments challenges of misinformation

There are days when I feel like I am the last person around who actually reads a physical newspaper – as I lament their ultimate demise with a “what will I do now” reaction.  I grew up reading and believing in newspapers – in fact, I looked forward to my dad (a New York policeman) coming home each day or night with a couple of newspapers tucked under his arm.  I had trust in what I read in the newspaper, and gradually turned into a faithful news “junkie.” Even now, my family will tell you that when I go on vacation I am obsessed with finding a newspaper. – because the day is simply not complete for me without reading the news.

These days I continue to read the Lincoln Journal Star each morning around 6 a.m. to ensure I am informed before I ever arrive at work.

I also understand that my habits are becoming less than mainstream with increasing pressures on the newspaper industry and growing numbers of alternative sources of news.  I do worry, however, that news in social media can be very misleading and cause reactions that are not grounded in fact.   This is evident in my professional life, as many unfounded school concerns originate with false rumors circulating in social media.  It grows increasingly challenging to refute rumors and innuendos that are not substantiated – yet circulating widely – often arriving late to the discussion, things just happen too quickly.

Once upon a time, the newspaper always used to fill in that gap of misinformation.  But there are many signs supporting a comment Warren Buffett made recently that newspapers will soon become extinct (Berkshire owns several).  And I pay heed to many additional signs, such as:

  • Having to text members of my team when there is an article, editorial or letter about LPS in the Journal Star.
  • Not being able to grab a newspaper left behind on a plane – like I once could.
  • Having to pay for the newspaper in a coffee shop while I sip my cup of coffee.
  • Staying in a hotel that doesn’t offer morning papers, but does offer free Wi-Fi.

As I close, I want to thank the Journal Star for their excellent coverage of local, state, national and international news, and applaud them for finding ways to maintain relevance in a rapidly changing world.  For those who rely on social media for their news, I would ask that you fact check.  And remember that we (LPS) will always stand ready to answer questions or address concerns – but please ask your questions, before you post something on social media.

Let’s finish another great school year,