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Opinion

From the editor

News Literacy Week: Stop the flood of misinformation — Care before you share

'With imperfect information, we make imperfect decisions.'

The Tucson Sentinel stands for accurate, fair and responsible reporting, based in fact and with deep context. I'm proud to represent our entire watchdog newsroom in being one of the journalism leaders to sign this very necessary statement (republished below, and by news organizations around the country) about National News Literacy Week, which aims to prompt some reflection in all of us about the truth and consequences of the news and information we as individuals share with each other.

Whether on social media or over our back fences, we as citizens, residents, participants in a community, have a responsibility to think twice before spreading the latest meme nonsense just because it appeals to us, or passing on the latest political rumor because it denigrates someone we oppose.

When in doubt, check it out. Think about the sources of information you're taking in. Your news diet can't all be junk. And remember: all memes are lies.

— Dylan Smith, Editor & Publisher

'With imperfect information, we make imperfect decisions.'

That line, taken from the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, neatly summarizes why the crisis of mis- and disinformation demands urgent attention from all sectors of society — including the news media.

Our newsrooms are supporting the third annual National News Literacy Week (Jan. 24-28) to help more people learn to determine the credibility of content they encounter and use the standards of fact-based journalism to know what to trust, share and act on.

It is vital that news consumers attain the skills to discern fact from fiction, understand how our newsrooms decide what is newsworthy, and recognize the standards we follow to ensure trust in what we publish or broadcast. This is essential if fact-based information is to remain central to our discourse and the functioning of our democracy.

In our role as the Fourth Estate, it is our mission to keep the public well-informed and to provide high-quality journalism that holds those in power accountable. In addition, our audiences must be news literate — and empowered to make fact-based decisions about their lives.

TucsonSentinel.com relies on contributions from our readers to support our reporting on Tucson's civic affairs. Donate to TucsonSentinel.com today!
If you're already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors, colleagues and customers to help support quality local independent journalism.

We pledge to double down on efforts to be fair, accurate, representative and transparent in our journalism — and crystal clear on what is opinion and analysis and what is straightforward news reporting. Everyone — including educators, students, parents, community members, business leaders, politicians, and social media influencers — relies on the fact-based information we provide every day.

We urge you to take a moment to become news literate. Visit NewsLiteracyWeek.org to learn more about what you can do to avoid spreading misinformation.

Please join us in securing a fact-based future where we can all make the best decisions for our communities and our country.

Michael A. Anastasi,
Editor and Vice President, Tennessean

Nancy Barnes,
Senior Vice President for News and Editorial Director, NPR

Todd Benoit,
President and COO, Bangor Daily News

Peter Bhatia,
Editor and Vice President, Detroit Free Press

Greg Burton,
Executive Editor, The Arizona Republic

Nicole Carroll,
Executive Editor, USA Today

Chris Dolan,
President and Executive Editor, The Washington Times

Timothy C. Dwyer,
President and Publisher, The Day

Stephen Engelberg,
Editor-in-Chief, ProPublica

Patti Epler,
Editor and General Manager, Honolulu Civil Beat

Pascale Fusshoeller,
Editor, YubaNet

Richard A. Green,
Executive Editor, The Press Democrat

Mary Irby-Jones,
Executive Editor, The (Louisville) Courier Journal

Scott Kraft,
Managing Editor, Los Angeles Times

Terry Leonard,
Editorial Director, Stars and Stripes

Beryl Love,
Executive Editor, The Cincinnati Enquirer

Alan Miller,
Founder and CEO, News Literacy Project

Amalie Nash,
Senior Vice President of News and Audience Development, Gannett

Chris Quinn,
Editor, cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer

Michael Shearer,
Editor, Akron Beacon Journal

Ethan Shorey,
Editor, Valley Breeze

Dylan Smith,
Editor & Publisher, Tucson Sentinel

Staff, CNN

Adam Symson,
President and CEO, The E.W. Scripps Company

Irving Washington,
Executive Director and CEO, Online News Association

Amanda Zamora,
Co-founder and Publisher, The 19th*

Jose Zamora,
Senior Vice President, Univision News

Laura Zelenko,
Senior Executive Editor of Standards, Training, Diversity, and Talent, Bloomberg News

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