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Research and cite those sources

 Cite your sources and show me receipts are phrases Brett Warren and I use often. With "fake news" and "alternative facts" running amuck all over the Internet, it's easy to believe something that isn't actually true. This is why research is so important. As a journalist, it can be frustrating when a news source puts out information I know for a fact has not been checked or confirmed. It even makes me look like I'm not doing my job because I didn't report it first. However, what people don't see is that oftentimes, I'm waiting to hear officially from a head of department before I report something that could potentially be incorrect to thousands of people. Facebook is my biggest headache. Just because something is on Facebook does not make it real or correct. Yesterday, I made the entire newsroom aware of my annoyance in a fellow Facebook friend not fact-checking something before they shared an article about vaccinations. No matter what side of the fence you fall on, the most important lesson is to do your own research instead of believing what your friend said on his Facebook page about something controversial. There have even been times I've sat in sermons while visiting a church, and heard pastors or visiting pastors preach on controversial topics, and then use a Bible verse incorrectly. One summer, a visiting pastor to a church in Jackson quoted something from another pastor. The quote was from an interview I'd seen, so I knew he was quoting out of context and incorrectly. However, no one said anything. Because the person speaking was at the pulpit, everyone in the congregation nodded along and believed these words rather than looking them up and realize he was using a verse out of context, or even quoting it incorrectly. There is never anything wrong with fact checking something. And there is nothing wrong with being wrong, as long as you're willing to correct yourself. In a world where social media is our main source of news, we've got to remember to be diligent in our own education. Wikipedia is not a source. Google Translate is not accurate. Facebook is not your diary. With knowledge at our fingertips and Siri and Alexa just a call away, we've got to remember to show our receipts and cite our sources. Courtney Warren is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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