Often I hear about the death of journalism or, at the very least, that the business has changed.

I agree with journalism has changed. As far as its death, I think the naysayers are more than a bit premature.

No matter what happens going forward in our world, people will always want an independent news source that can give them the clearest roadway to the truth as possible. Anymore, though, there is even controversy over what is the truth, or what is true. In our business we stick to the facts. Facts are the basic building block on the way to finding the underlaying truth in any issue.

Newspapers — in whatever form — at their best provide people in a community with an unbiased review of a specific subject. If done correctly, a story will deliver a set of facts that add up to a fundamental truth. It’s not fancy, and really isn’t all that complicated, but it can be difficult. Facts can sometimes be hard to find. Or those facts are shrouded inside a bureaucracy where transparency isn’t the rule.

That’s why what our reporters do is often a challenge. Not only do they have a boss who is asking — demanding — for a story to be complete but they must get the facts straight. In a good newsroom, facts and being factual are a big deal. Because when everything is said and done, we must stand on is our reporting and our facts. We can’t fall back on excuses or blame the government if we make a mistake. We must own that mistake — take responsibility — then painstakingly discover how a fact was missed or was reported incorrectly.

We build our entire structure on facts. Sometimes finding those facts is easy. The facts of a car crash, for example, are initially clear. There was a crash. Someone was hurt or not hurt. Yet, when you are wading through reams of public records to find a significant fact, the task can be daunting. Either way, though, our reporters must strive always to find those facts and report them accurately.

We have only our reputations as accurate and fair producers of news to fall back on, and that is why we must always strive to be concise in our reporting. Journalism may have changed over the years, but this cornerstone has not.

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Andrew Cutler is the interim editor of The Observer and the regional editorial director for the EO Media Group, overseeing The Observer, East Oregonian and four more newspapers in Eastern Oregon.

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