Trustworthy journalism more important than ever | Columns

Great acts of great journalism are happening every day from Dalton to Atlanta, from Milledgeville to Tifton, from Moultrie to Thomasville, from Live Oak to Jasper and Mayo, Fla., in Valdosta, Lowndes County and throughout Georgia and north Florida. 

The state of newspapers in our region is strong. 

Newspapers are publishing investigative pieces, championing open government, defending the First Amendment and providing engaging human interest features and sports coverage in print and online.

Working together with our sister newspapers in Georgia and north Florida, The Valdosta Daily Times is excited to share these important and engaging reports with our readers.

GA-FL News (Georgia – Florida News) was created to share these acts of journalism with readers from throughout all our coverage areas in the two states. Knowing our neighbors in Georgia and Florida face many of the same challenges we face and just keeping up with what is going on throughout our region should be meaningful to all of us. The work of the reporters can be found on the newspaper’s State & Region page and on the main page of the website under the header “GA-FL News.” 

GA-FL News gave birth to The SunLight Project with a team of journalists working at the respective newspapers in Dalton, Milledgeville, Tifton, Moultrie, Thomasvile and Valdosta along with Live Oak, Jasper and Mayo, Fla., working collaboratively to provide in-depth, enterprising coverage of important, big-picture topics. 

The comparative reports provide each community with valuable information, giving context and framing to issues that matter. Comparisons and contrasts with other counties or cities, showing how each community addresses its challenges, for example, can empower residents and give local leaders ideas or possible solutions to problems. 

Newspapers providing real news are more important than ever in all our communities. People want and need reliable sources of information they can trust. Social media posts, blogs and less than credible websites blur the lines between fact and fiction and leave the public confused more than informed.

Journalists are out in our communities across the state of Georgia and Florida every day attending city council and county commission meetings, talking to farmers about the impact of drought, interviewing business leaders about economic conditions and covering school assemblies and sporting events.

Reporting facts, celebrating communities and demanding accountability, the journalists at local newspapers provide a valuable service to their readers every day. Fake news reports shared on social media and driving traffic on websites highlight just how valuable a resource legitimate, bona fide newspapers are to the communities they serve.

As newspapers provide the news on multiple platforms — legacy…

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