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In a world of fake news, be a champion for the truth


Sometimes you stumble across things at the most perfect times. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them signs, but there are just those items that show up in your life just when you need them most. It just so happened that a week or so back I was in the Swan Valley Historical Museum archives looking for photographs for a social media video we were working on for a client when I opened a box to find The History of the Star and Times, a piece submitted to Mr. Zukewich on January 29, 1975 by Brenda Sonnenberg and Alice Helgason.
From what I am able to determine, this is a typewriter produced school paper written more than a decade before my time and it outlines the history of our newspaper company, some of the key staff of that time and prior as well as details on popularity, pricing and more. They also included a number of clipping from the pages. Aside from being an entertaining trip back in time, the introduction to the piece immediately caught my attention. It read, “The Salem Register, which is a New England newspaper, was published in Massachusetts in the early years of the nineteenth century. The following is what it had as its masterhead: “Here shall the press, the People’s right maintain, unaw’d by influence and unbribed by gain; Here patriot truth her glorious precepts draw, pledged to religion, liberty and law.” The editor was Joseph Story, who flung out this proud assertion of the quality of his paper. Here in Swan River, a century and a half later, we find part of this famous motto slightly modernized at the masterhead of Mr. Windsor, of the Star and Times. “Here let the press, the people’s right maintained, unawed by influence and unbribed by
Those of you who pay attention to detail may have noticed that this adapted motto has run at the bottom
of my editorial space for most of the past seven years that I have been editor here at the Star and Times. I first read the quote when looking at our archives early in my career and immediately knew it was an
adage that I wanted to embrace as I took control of the content in the newspaper you trust each week. In
fact, way back then I printed the words out and posted them on my wall as a reminder and they remain
there today. Although these are very old words, I think they are truer today than they ever have been before. And, it’s even more important that we hold on to what they mean and provide quality journalism that is unbiased, trustworthy and tailored for the people of the Swan River Valley.
This week is National Newspaper Week and, while it’s the one week of the year all the newspapers in
North America brag about how important and great we are, it’s with the hope that the general population
will actually realize just how important and great we really, truly are. Reputable newspapers are the reason that the world is still finding truth in the news that they consume. As part of National Newspaper Week, Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association Executive Director Steve Nixon wrote about the fake news issue and why it matters. “Today, it seems that the real news is being drowned out by an avalanche of so-called “fake” news that is nothing more than opinion pieces and marketing strategies to get us to buy a product, vote a certain way or for some other nefarious motive,” he said. “When I read my newspaper, either online or in print, I can at least trust the journalism. I certainly don’t like all that I see but at least I have some recourse if I feel strongly about something that has been written. In an essence, I know where they live. Their shingle is above the door. They have a mailing address and a phone number. Now I am concerned about the “real” part of the news. Much of it originates from newspapers and although we all love, and hate, the news that is being reported, I am very worried that it may go away, leaving us with only opinions and marketing sales tactics. I, for one, will not stand for this. You should not either.” 
So this newspaper week, I ask that you take a moment to reflect on what it would be like to not have a
local news source in our community or even at a provincial level and to join us to Champion the Truth!