Make up your own mind.

We’re not going to tell you how to think, who to vote for or what political party you should belong to. We’re not going to tell you how you should feel about any given subject. We have specific pages dedicated to news — where we report what is going on in our community — and we have pages dedicated to opinions. Those are clearly marked and will continue to remain clearly marked.

We all see the blurred lines, or no lines at all, between what is considered news and that which is most certainly opinion. We see it on social media, cable news and even in many newspapers.

Well, we’re not going to go that route.

More than ever, in an environment where waves upon waves of misinformation wash ashore on our phones and computer screens, the media’s role as gatekeepers of information is key.

It’s more important than ever that we cite our sources and say where our information comes from. More often than not, stories bubble out of the ether that come to shocking conclusions — and equally as shocking, they’re baseless.

“Fake news” is a politically popular term, coined by our president, to discredit stories that politicians dislike. Since social media is a morass of disinformation, it’s a very popular and easily accessible platform to spread “alternative truths.”

Despite the major social media companies being worth billions, they’re not particularly interested in stemming the flow of misinformation. Facebook has staunchly refused to alter a policy that allows patently false paid political ads.

Their argument that not allowing false political ads is censorship falls short on so many levels.

But in that role there’s a lot of responsibility that we take pretty seriously. There’s the responsibility of citing sources and vetting information. There’s the responsibility of sometimes waiting to break a story until we know that it’s been appropriately done and researched. There’s the responsibility of not attempting to blow a story out of proportion.

Like everyone reading these words, we make mistakes. It’s an intrinsically human trait and anyone who tells you differently is lying to you and to themselves.

These are all things we take very seriously and, as always, we thank you for reading.

A few thanks

Among those who have recently stepped up to help locally, we’d like to recognize a few here.

Thanks to the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office and Rome-Floyd County Fire Department for partnering this year in their Sheriff’s Santa program. It’s a program that reaches our children every year. When it started 20 years ago, the program served around 30 children — now they bring Christmas joy to over 650.

Thanks to the Floyd County Police Department and Rome Braves who donated $10,812 raised from the 2019 charity golf tournament to Elevation House, a nonprofit dedicated to providing for the needs of those with mental illness in our community.

Thanks to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 14 who donated approximately $4,000 to the Rome and Floyd County school systems to provide for school essentials for students.

A big thank you to the Exchange Club of Rome for spearheading several years of Toys for Tots and making this year’s program another grand success.

Another mention: Brian Beals of Pickens Puzzles LLC donated 100 handmade wooden puzzles to Toys for Tots.

This isn’t the complete list, and if you know a person or business who is really helping others make a difference, email our editor John Bailey at JBailey@RN-T.com.

Something to think about

“We’re all going to be busy in November,” the Associated Press reported Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told election officials regarding the 2020 election. “But I think we’re going to be busy well before that getting ready. This will be a historic turnout.”

The way it looks here, it’s going to be busy and stay busy well before the November elections.

Thanks for reading.

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