Nothing fake about ‘daily miracle’

Newspapers remain passionate, committed

The term “news media” can mean a lot of different things these days, but at the Pennsylvania News­-Media Association, the news media that we work with are Pennsylvania’s newspapers and online-only news publications.

There are 77 daily newspapers in Pennsylvania, more than 175 non-daily publications, including college newspapers, and a significant number of online-only news sites.

The number of Pennsylvania’s print-based publications has not changed much in the last 10 years, and even in this era of media consolidation, Pennsylvania continues to have more family-owned newspapers than any other state in the country.

We also enjoy very strong readership, with 82 percent of all Pennsylvania adults reading a newspaper, in print or online, each week.

I’ll never forget the first time I toured a newspaper building and production facility.

They call the newspaper a “daily miracle” for a reason.

The idea that a relatively small group of people can gather news, write and edit content, sell advertising, lay out pages and sections, print them all, and deliver a newspaper each day (or each week), is nothing short of amazing.

To see it in person only highlights how incredible it is.

Because I work where I do, I often hear from friends and family about errors or perceived bias by the “news media,” and my response is always the same.

I can only speak to my experiences with Pennsylvania’s newspapers and news sites, and that experience is overwhelmingly positive.

Are they perfect every time? No. But I can assure you that they work hard every day to get the facts right and to ensure that their news products are as error-free as possible.

I have never worked with a community of people who are more passionate about their mission, or who engage in such open, thoughtful discussions about how to handle difficult issues or topics.

Next month, news editors across Pennsylvania will meet in Lancaster to discuss ethics, how to ensure accuracy in the demand for “immediate” news, how fact-based news organizations should respond to the “fake news” phenomenon, and more.

At PNA, we offer members a legal hotline and receive almost 2,000 calls each year, from reporters and editors who are working to get it right.

We are also working with members to host community meetings across the state, on “Trust, Transparency and the News,” and “Real Journalism in the Era of Fake News.”

More than 200 people joined us at Elizabethtown College in March, and on May 8, we are holding an event at Harrisburg Area Community College. We have more in the works, and I hope that you will join us if we come to your community.

You’ll see an ad in this week’s newspaper or online, highlighting the importance of demanding facts and supporting real news.

At PNA, we work with our members to help them in their continuing efforts to inform and engage their communities with real facts and real news.

If you are already a subscriber of or advertiser in your local newspaper or online news site, thank you.

If you aren’t, I hope that you will “Demand Facts” and “Support Real News” in your community, by engaging with your local news media in some way.

Thank you for your time, and I would love to hear from you at terih@pa-news.org.

Teri Henning is the president of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.