One of the greatest privileges we have in our country is that of choice. The decisions we make are perhaps the most powerful tools we wield in shaping our own lives—and often those of others in our communities.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have faced consequential decisions. From a contentious election, to returning students to school, to keeping our businesses open—or closed—none of it has been easy, but all of it matters.
In 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified and it included the First Amendment to our Constitution. Since then, the press has been relied upon to provide the autonomous people of American communities with the facts; an engine of skepticism and curiosity, press is designed to “seek truth and report it,” according to the Society of Professional Journalists in its code of ethics. When faced with these critical choices, fact-based truth is the service we at Explore Big Sky offer you, our community.
With social media at your fingertips and Google on voice command, you have more information available to you each day than ever before. Information, though, is not always fact.
Keep hope, though, for the elusive fact although sometimes lost is not a dead concept. Famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward recently opened a class he was teaching on investigative journalism with this declaration: “Everyone has their own version of truth. But there are facts. There is reality.”
At Explore Big Sky, we strive to be your source for fact—to shine a light on objective reality in a deceptive tunnel of unverified information. Holly Michels, a Helena-based state bureau reporter, once told me: “It is our job as reporters to verify and present facts. We don’t necessarily ‘decide’ what truths are, but we do find out what is fact through the process of doing our jobs.”
Facts are at the heart of our work. Every day.
The COVID-19 Delta variant is once again threatening our communities and once again, forcing each of us to confront consequential decisions. This week we bring you news of this highly infectious variant along with reporting on how our community members and institutions are dealing with it.
Just as we at Explore Big Sky will do our part to report the news fairly and accurately, I encourage you, dear reader, to do your part to seek out facts—and trust in them.
-Bella Butler, Senior Editor