Our mission is to report fairly, accurately

Hundreds of newspapers nationwide on Thursday lashed out collectively against President Donald Trump’s attacks on the news media, fighting back in editorials and opinion pieces because they believe his criticism of “fake news” is unwarranted and unfair.

We at the Tribune Chronicle made a conscious decision not to join Thursday’s united protest largely because we believe it is more important to speak on this topic as an individual, free-thinking organization, rather than being painted with the broad brush often used when our president or other Americans describe the news media as a whole. In fact, our editorial board always carefully considers all debate on controversial issues before we make our own decision and take a stand.

The push initiated by the Boston Globe’s editorial board for Thursday’s united effort was no different.

Trump at times has labeled the news media “the enemy of the people,” and sadly, the term “fake news” now permeates all aspects of our national dialogue. It has become a catch-all phrase now frequently used to dismiss news reports that are truthful and accurate, but with which a person simply disagrees.

Using a broad brush to paint all members of the media as “fake news” — whether it’s national publications, broadcast or online outlets, community daily or weekly newspapers — is undeniably wrong and damaging to our democracy.

Unfortunately, though, sometimes there are news reports in the national mainstream media that are not accurate, fair or balanced. Reports that lean one way or the other in an effort to persuade broadcast audiences or print and online readers to adopt their philosophy admittedly is “fake news.”

In fact, we believe that anyone who hides behind the term “journalist” to influence opinions or push a particular agenda in a so-called “news story” truly is an “enemy of the people.”

That term, of course, does not and should not apply to the hardworking reporters and editors that come to work every day with only the intention of fulfilling our role as watchdog journalists charged with holding the powerful accountable. That can, at times, mean being at odds with the position of the community’s elected leaders or taking to task those who are misspending public money or acting inappropriately in their service.

We at the Tribune Chronicle work hard to present fair, accurate and balanced reporting of news and events every day. We take our mission very seriously. That mission has never wavered throughout the 206-year history of the Tribune Chronicle and our predecessors, but we take it even more seriously today.

That’s because we value our role as the trusted local news source that serves our communities through fair and truthful reporting.

We do make mistakes, and when we do, we quickly issue a correction. “Fake news” has no part in our business.

Of course, we utilize this space on our distinctly labeled opinion page to start discussions or sound off on topics. We do not believe our opinion is always the sole perspective or even unequivocally the right perspective. Rather, we offer our opinion in order to share our thoughts with our readers and to engage them, and then we print varying opinions — both supporting and opposing — weekly.

That’s all part of what we do in our service to you, our readers, through steady, consistent leadership. We’ve worked hard to build and maintain that trust with our readers by being fair and truthful, and we think that you, our readers, are intelligent enough to know that the Tribune Chronicle should never be viewed as an “enemy of the people.”