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Challenges facing modern-day journalism are at to a crisis stage as many Americans’ lack understanding of a critical news media’s role in society, IowaWatch cofounder and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Stephen Berry said during a recent visit to Iowa and in an IowaWatch Connection podcast.

Stephen Berry

Berry criticized what he called an all-out assault on journalists, especially from the highest level of government that, by design, is trying to paint any news that President Trump does not like as false so that the president can control the message.

“Like propaganda, you repeat a lie enough and it becomes perceived reality,” Berry said.

Yet, news organizations are not completely blameless, said Berry and Randy Evans, a long-time Des Moines Register journalist who, after leaving the newspaper, became the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Imformation Council.

Randy Evans

Evans, for example, said news media outlets are not helping their cause at a time of skepticism when newspapers have fewer editors. “We have to focus on fact-checking, and double-checking and triple-checking. We have to focus on fairness,” Evans said.

Doing so might not solve trust in media but at least it won’t add fuel to the fire, Evans said.

The full report is in the podcast, which also features Dubuque Telegraph-Herald opinion page editor Brian Cooper.

Related: Most Americans say they have lost trust in the media

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