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Free press is vital to democracy -- Mark Condon

March 24, 2019

The State Journal’s March 14 editorial, ” Newspapers still shine a bright light,” on the value of newspapers and the reach was much appreciated by this old grad of UW’s journalism school.

While the newspaper business model is still adapting to the Internet and social media platforms, newspapers are one of the few reliable sources for in-depth analysis of important issues, especially local and state issues. Your recent series on how Wisconsin leads the nation in senior falls was eyeopening, as are most of your longer reports.

Newspapers both in print and online are increasingly critical in this divisive era of echo chambers where people can cast aside critical thinking and bask in the dim light of partisan opinions that reinforce their emotions, fear and anger.

President Donald Trump calling journalists “enemies of the people,” combined with an increase in journalists being killed worldwide in pursuit of the truth, should worry us all. Democracy is fragile in the best of times, but quality journalism and honest news reporting are critical to its health.

Our Founders knew this and thus we have the First Amendment, even though they lived in an era of extreme press partisanship. Apparently, their skins were a tad thicker back then, at least publicly.

Mark Condon, Madison