Editor’s Note: What follows is an editorial written by Rebecca Snyder, executive director of the Maryland — Delaware — District of Columbia (MDDC) Press Association, of which the Cecil Whig is a member. Their theme — and ours — for 2020 is “facts matter.” Please look for more editorials and work throughout the year surrounding this theme. We are grateful to be part of a journalistic organization that prioritizes accurate reporting and objectivity. It is my great pleasure to lead with these principles as I begin my first full calendar year as editor of the Whig. Thank you for supporting community news, and thank you for caring about your world. — B. Rae Perryman, editor

Facts Matter. That’s what journalism is about, isn’t it? Objective facts lead to well considered conclusions. Journalists investigate, report, and educate so that readers can make decisions about things that are important to them.

MDDC Press Association, a membership organization of news media outlets in Maryland, Delaware and DC, chooses a theme each year to center our work and amplify our members’ accomplishments.

For 2020, we’ve chosen the theme of Facts Matter.

Too often, citizens retreat to familiar mindsets and comfortably selective arguments, and create a more polarized society along the way. The local news organizations in our membership provide a broad selection of news and information, with different viewpoints, to share with readers.

Ethical journalism seeks truth and conclusions based on evidence. MDDC member organizations do not report news selectively; they work to uncover facts to provide context and present multiple sources when reporting a story. When facts come first, journalism is accurate and fair. Facts build trust and trust builds community.

Journalists’ commitment to accuracy and providing context for stories pays off. People trust and rely on the news reporting they read and see in their local news. In a recent readership survey of member publications, nearly 69% of readers rated the Trustworthiness of their local publication as Excellent or Good and nearly 78% rated their local publication as Excellent or Good as a Source for Local News.

Citizens who engage with local news are more active in their communities and local government. Journalists, and our commitment to fact-based reporting, help keep communities strong.

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