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PIONEER EDITORIAL: This is not fake news

"Heroin, meth push county toward a 'fiscal cliff': Officials spending reserves to cover rising child placement costs"

"Bemidji man claims $550,000 winning lottery ticket"

"Air quality alert extended through Saturday"

"Bringing community TOGETHER: National Night Out connects residents, resources"

"Two area men sentenced for sex crimes"

This is not fake news. Listed above are some of the headlines plucked from the past 10 days of the Pioneer.

This newspaper you are holding in your hands or reading on your screen was produced by respected professionals and trained journalists who live in this community. We are not the enemy of the people. We are citizens, we are taxpayers, we are mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. We chose this profession because we are dedicated to delivering the information all citizens need with fairness, with balance and without bias.

The mantra of the free press is to the truth — all the truth, even the news that those with power, and wrongdoers and others would rather not see reported and exposed.

A backbone of democracy is a free and independent media — and at the local level in particular. The freedom of the press is our protection from tyranny and our guard against the oppression of those who would take advantage of us. That democracy hinges on the accountability and the checks and balances ensured by a responsible press.

On Thursday, newspapers across the country — more than 200 — penned editorials offering reminders about all of this, about the value of journalism, in the face of what has become a "dirty war against the free press," as the Boston Globe stated in organizing a unified outcry from the nation's editorial pages.

"Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that ... attacks (on the media) are alarming,'' the Globe stated.

''We are not the enemy of the people,'' said Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page at the Globe.

Today, the Pioneer joins our colleagues in calling for an end to this war against the press. And before anyone condemns or dismisses this as just more "Trump bashing," consider it instead "a respectful and urgent request of President Donald Trump to stop belittling and insulting dedicated, hard-working reporters and to instead offer the same respect his office commands," as the Duluth News Tribune said in its Thursday editorial. "Consider it a call to stop lumping together as 'the media' both legitimate news-gatherers and those whose practice of propaganda is meant to mislead and misinform for self-serving purposes."

As you may have noticed, newsrooms and even newspapers themselves are shrinking. Both in the number of staff or the frequency of publication. The Pioneer is not immune to these trends, we announced this week that we will stop printing a Tuesday edition next month. While we are 24/7 online, we will have a printed edition five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday. These changes are driven by a number of factors, including tariffs on newsprint that seem to be directly aimed at driving up costs of producing journalism. This widespread discrediting of the press only adds fuel to the fire.

Nationwide, we have fewer true journalists out there reporting. More and more, our citizens are unserved in communities where their voices cry to be heard. We need a free press to check on local, state and federal governments, on those agencies and people who hold positions of power.

A free press also keeps us engaged with our communities. We tell the stories, both good and bad, of local people, groups, businesses, in our communities. Our neighbors. And yours.

Enemies of the American people?

A free press — local news in particular — is just the opposite. Consider the urgency of the reminder.