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2. Its first loyalty is to


3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.

4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those

they cover.

5. It must serve as an

independent monitor of power.

The element I quote most often these days is No. 3, about the discipline of verification. It means that we tell readers how we know something, or we attribute it to someone.

Social media have no discipline and no verification.

And they’re mainly about opinion, not facts.

Journalism, especially in newspapers, is mainly about facts, not opinion.

Opinions are the heartbeat of a democracy, but they should be based on facts. And for the facts, we need newspapers.

Al Cross is professor of journalism and director of the Institute for Rural Journalism at the University of Kentucky. He was a weekly newspaper editor and manager, political writer for the Louisville Courier Journal and president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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