Why do we need the news in the 21st century? It’s a just question. So many of us get our updates from Facebook, Twitter or Google that it begs the question, what role do traditional news sites and the printed press have to play anymore?

Quite a lot, it turns out. It’s journalists who can still uncover mistruths and blatant lies and bring them to the attention of the people. It’s traditional news sites who can counter the outbreak of propaganda that comes from fake news. It’s a free press that helps to keep people free across the world. It’s the news that records the horrors of the past to ensure the same mistakes aren’t repeated again.

Here are four reasons why we need traditional news in the 21st century.

Journalists uncover truths

How many times have we seen somebody held to account because of the work of a journalist in uncovering the truth? Take the 2017 story about the Marine Nude Leak that scandalized the Department of Defense when a Marine Veteran correspondent discovered a website that contained nude pictures of active and retired female marines. Without that correspondent’s work, the disgusting practice could have gone on undetected.

Traditional news outlets have a role to play in fighting fake news

In 2016, 38 percent of American’s got their news from online sources, either through social media or Apps. Anyone can post a piece of information online and pass it off as fact, thus potentially influencing the thoughts, feelings and lives of millions of people across the globe. Russian hacking is said to have influenced the 2016 Presidential election and it isn’t just America that has a problem either, with the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and both France and Germany’s recent elections also said to have been hit. It is the job of traditional news outlets to counter the amount of fake news out there and get their voices heard to ensure that hostile powers cannot continue to sway people into thinking and voting in the way they want them to.

A free press helps keep the people free

A free press plays a big role in ensuring the freedom of its people. There is a reason that whenever Napoleon conquered a country in his quest for a great empire, he would put that countries newspapers under his immediate control. It’s the same reason that the Nazi’s placed so much stock and importance in Joseph Goebbels and his Ministry of Propoganda and Enlightenment to control the information that the people living under Nazi rule had. When the press is free to challenge the narrative of the day and give people the true facts, it makes the people much freer than when the only news and opinion they are receiving is coming from those in charge instead.

It keeps the past

The news reminds us of what has happened in the past. When we forget what has gone before, it is easy to make the same mistakes again, but so long as we have journalists and newspapers keeping a record then it is impossible to forget the past, meaning we can keep learning from it in the future.