This is not fake news

As we mark National Newspaper Week, remember we represent all of you

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The Paris Kiwanis Club annual pancake tent during the Paris Honeybee Festival raises funds to be used throughout the year to support the youth of our community. We know this because the club’s event was featured in the front page of The Prairie Press.

Citizens of Kansas attended this past week’s village board meeting to express their displeasure at the community’s chicken ordinance. That news can be found on the front page of today’s paper.

The Paris Tiger football team defeated Marshall for the first time since 2001 last week and all the details and pictures from the game appeared on last week’s sports page.

These stories appeared in The Prairie Press, the chronicler of history in the communities we serve. For the past four years — and the Beacon-News since 1848 — we have informed, celebrated and lamented the good and bad of the schools, the governments and the people in their coverage area.

Are we the enemy of the people? This is fake news?

Of course not. Yet in one way or another all journalists are being tossed into the anti-media waters being chummed by President Trump and others.

We do not write today to choose sides on the right or left of national politics. Nor is this an attack on the president’s policies; we agree with some and disagree with others.

Instead, we write today on behalf of all community newspapers across the U.S. We join newspapers from across the nation who this week are using their editorial pages to stand united in their defense of our profession.

During a speech at a VFW event in Missouri, the president said what Americans are reading, “is not really happening.”

Even the VFW winced, saying it was, “disappointed to hear some of our members boo the press. We rely on the media to help spread the VFW’s message. … We were happy to have them there.”

Yet some people believe the president and, unfortunately, the ugly rhetoric, is sifting downward, settling even on small newspapers out here on the Illinois prairie.

Newspapers are the first to admit they are not perfect, but on all levels we are serious about what we see as our core roles: documenting the daily and weekly history of our Edgar County communities and attending meetings as the unbiased representatives of our friends and neighbors, protecting the public’s interest.

We’re proud to be serving all of our county from Chrisman to Hume to Brocton and Kansas to Paris and all points inbetween.

And this, readers, is not fake news.