Having a blog or posting to social media does not make you a journalist.

Bloggers do not adhere to the ethical standard journalists do when it comes to conveying information. Many pieces written by bloggers can be skewed with unreliable information.

It is no secret that you can find statistics to suit any argument, but that doesn’t make it good data.

Good journalists use credible sources and format news article so readers can form their own opinions. Bloggers do not always do this. It is difficult to trust a blog that is not recognized as a news organization.

If you get your news from bloggers, be skeptical and look into how they are getting their information or if they even cite their sources. The same can be said for posts on Facebook.

In fact, feel free to look into the sources for reports from recognized news organizations, including the Observer.  We believe our reporting can, and should, stand up to scrutiny.

We all have that aunt or uncle or friend who posts the most absurd things, and we can’t help but look at the comment section on their post. It may surprise you that others agree, even if the information is wrong.

On occasion, a brave family member or friend will comment, trying to correct them or provide other information, inevitably leading to war in the comments.

This goes for any social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat. When viewing anything on social media from a person who claims to have all the answers, challenge yourself and ask a few basic questions:

  • Why does this person care about this topic?
  • What makes him or her qualified to convey information?
  • What are their sources?
  • Are they reliable sources?

We hate to say this, but if that Facebook post you are reading does not even cite a source, likely it is an opinion and unreliable.

Reliable sources are peer-reviewed, certified experts in the field you are discussing, or government documents. For example, information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reliable.

The way people learn and stay connected is by talking with friends and family and having the “Have you heard?” or “Did you know?” conversations. Just remember, even though the information is coming from someone you like and trust, that doesn’t automatically make it reliable.

Spreading information is something we could all take a little more seriously these days.

If you’re learning about the COVID vaccines from friends or family instead of your doctor or the CDC, it might be wise to evaluate how you receive reliable information.

The Observer goes to great lengths to ensure our readers are informed with high-quality sources. The paper is a convenient way for residents to get news that allows them to be free and self-governing.

So, thank you, readers, for being responsible and consuming reliable information.