If your copy of Tuesday’s Daily Journal was a little off, you need not adjust your newspaper.

After Monday night’s power outage, the ability to print in color took a backseat to the necessity of getting the paper out. Therefore, Tuesday’s limited edition black and white variant copy of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal found its way to paper boxes and driveways everywhere.

Varying degrees of reaction have come in from the populace since then, and while they range from curious to confused, one thing reads true: You’re still picking up your newspaper each morning for the daily news.

In 2017, that’s more important than ever.

It was reporter Carl Bernstein, one-half of the famed “All the President’s Men” duo, who called newspapers “the best obtainable version of the truth.”

Whether that truth is exposing corruption or treason, helping out the little guy or just explaining how a Sylvester vs. Tweety showdown nearly took out the entire power grid of Tupelo, Mississippi, earlier this week, truth is a necessity that’s born out of newspapers. And it’s why we’re still here and not going anywhere.

As times change, I’m as reminded as ever of why I still read a newspaper, and would even if I didn’t write for one.

My memories of being a child “reading” the Daily Journal are directly intertwined with sitting on my grandfather’s knee, perusing the funny pages or the movie listings. Once I could read and didn’t need the words dictated to me, I was always going cover to cover to see what was happening in town and the surrounding areas.

My love for movies only increased my love for newspapers, with stories that were ingrained in me at a young age like “...President’s Men,” “Fletch,” “Citizen Kane,” “Deadline U.S.A.” or more recently ones like “Zodiac” and “Spotlight.” Each is a fundamental tale of the role of a newspaper in its quest and mission to help.

Never forget – newspapers help. They seek to promote accuracy in a sea of fake news and social media posts where half-truths and falsehoods can spark like matchsticks and spread like wildfire. While journalism has been skewed in recent years, with websites like Buzzfeed seeking to reveal which character from “Friends” you’re most like, true journalism exists beyond the superficial and the oversimplified.

Even if you scrutinize what is reported on, which columnists say what and how you believe things could be done better – you’re still reading. If you read something that challenges your own beliefs or solidifies your own convictions, at the end of the day you are still supporting a locally owned paper dedicated to the service of God and mankind that, above all else, seeks the truth.

That’s something we can all agree on. Whether your paper is in black and white or it's in color; whether we’re reporting on mayoral races or three-legged ones; whether you’ve got the ink between your fingers or are scrolling on your tablet – don’t forget the importance of newspapers, from the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal to the Washington Post. Because not only does democracy die in the dark, so does the truth.

So thank you for calling and asking why your paper wasn’t what it normally looked like this week. Thanks for taking the time to question the norm. Thanks for doing a little investigative reporting of your own. And, most of all, thanks for reading.

W. Derek Russell is a columnist and the Daily Journal’s arts and entertainment reporter. Contact him @wderekrussell on Twitter or email him at derek.russell@journalinc.com.

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