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The importance of newspapers continue

Today marks the beginning of National Newspaper Week.

Sponsored by the Newspaper Association Managers, it’s a week that has been set aside for the past 80 years to recognize the service of newspapers and their employees.

This year’s theme is America Needs Journalists, and it stands as a timely reminder, given the ever increasing attacks on the individual rights we all enjoy as Americans, and the men and women whose responsibility it is to stand guard over them.

Journalists are integral to preserving the right of a free press. In this day when even the most basic facts are questioned, they are the first responders for the public’s right to know and stand as watchdogs to government transparency, the association reminds. They shed light on vital issues and expose problems. Local journalists know and understand their communities, and work diligently to provide the information everyone needs to make informed decisions.

And while that’s critical every day, it’s especially important this fall, as area residents prepare to vote on local, state and national issues. Newspapers remain the best source of unbiased information about those issues that most affect you — especially when it comes to information about candidates and issues that will appear on the ballot.

Journalists work tirelessly each day to keep you informed and to defend the rights and freedoms we enjoy. It’s a job that has never been easy, and it’s one that has become even more difficult of late, thanks to daily attacks from all sides, with claims of “fake news” and “lies” thrown around daily at all levels of government.

The Weirton Daily Times is known in the business as a community newspaper. On its pages each day you will find news that’s important to you — a mission we have been fulfilling daily since June 21, 1928. We’ve reported countless stories in that time, stories that offered new insights into your friends and neighbors, stories that have made readers think and stories that have helped hold local and regional government officials accountable.

Without that steady flow of unbiased information, area residents would find it difficult to make good decisions about the things that affect their day-to-day lives and to formulate opinions of their own. Differing opinions are important — they encourage conversation and thought, and are critical to making our democracy work. We offer daily opinion pieces, local editorials and syndicated columnists, and we invite readers to share their opinions each week by writing letters to the editor or through guest columns.

Standing guard over our freedoms, holding government and elected officials responsible and serving as an advocate for members of the public on numerous levels — that’s a lot to ask of our journalists and our newspapers.

It’s a challenge we willingly take on because those basic rights outlined in the First Amendment must be protected.

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