When Amanda Allen’s daughter, Harley, was born on Sept. 18, one of the mother’s first requests was for somebody to go out and buy a copy of The Greenville News to mark the day of her birth with the news of the day.

She had done the same thing when her son, Jackson, was born.

“I got the idea from a friend to save the paper and to also take a picture of the baby laying on the front page,” she said. “So it’s kind of a cool photo, but it’s also cool to keep the front page from the day that your baby was born to sort of remember what were the headlines of that day, what was happening that day.”

Newspapers in the digital age are more than just newsprint, but there’s something about the daily paper format that has a feel of being the official record of the day – whether you read it on paper or read the e-edition on your tablet like I do.

So now, in the middle of National Newspaper Week, it’s a good time to reflect on the role of newspapers in our lives – and not only the traditional format but the expanded digital reach that papers such as The Greenville News and the Anderson Independent Mail have.

The most important role we play is to provide accurate, balanced stories that help readers make informed decisions about the issues of the day and hold elected officials accountable.

In other words, real news.

We hear a lot about “fake news” – mostly from people who are spreading it. In the newspaper business, we take journalism seriously, and that means telling the truth. We have no motives other than to produce compelling stories that give real facts and explain the arguments on the various sides of issues.

There are some politicians who label stories they don’t like as fake news, and we have a president who has called the media the enemy of the people. You don’t have to shut down newspapers and put journalists in jail to destroy the free press. All you have to do is succeed in discrediting it.

“Even rigorously investigated stories from The New York Times and The Washington Post have been labeled outright falsehoods by consumers who’d prefer news that confirms their own biases,” Tom Reichert, dean of the College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina says in a column for the South Carolina Press Association, of which we are a member.

“But fake news does not originate from newspapers. In reality, it’s often generated by companies looking for an easy profit, pushed out through social media newsfeeds and fanned by extremists and foreign governments.” 

We are human, and we make mistakes, but we never deliberately print anything we know to be untrue. That would be a firing offense.

Newspapers lead the way in providing the kind of reporting that’s needed now more than ever to help people sort through the maze of alternate realities that are promulgated on the internet.

For decades, radio and TV had the advantage of being able to bring more immediacy to their reporting than newspapers, while print media was able to provide more depth to stories and greater volume of news.

We still have that ability to provide in-depth reporting that goes far beyond what any other media offers. Our state government watchdog reporter Tim Smith’s recent series on the state Department of Disabilities and Special Needs is a prime example of that.

But we can also bring you news as it happens via our web site and social media platforms, and with a deeper team of reporters than any of the other local media have. You may have heard of the downsizing that has been taking place in newspapers for the past decade, but we still have the largest news gathering force in the Upstate by far.

Consider our coverage of Hurricane Irma: We had reporters and photographers in Savannah, Charleston and Atlanta, plus a team of reporters covering the impact here in the Upstate, as well as stories from our USA TODAY network affiliates in Florida and elsewhere. We sent a reporter to the Caribbean in the aftermath of the storm to report on relief efforts there.

The Greenville News reaches more than 302,000 readers in print and online every week, while The Independent Mail attracts more than 130,000 to its paper and digital products weekly.

That’s a huge chunk of the Upstate, and we appreciate every one of you who rely on us. Thank you for allowing us to continue as the news source of record for the Upstate, and especially to be your news source.

In whatever format our journalism appears – and it is ever-evolving – we promise to continue to do our best to bring you the news you need, just like we’ve been doing for the past 140 years.

Stay with us. The best is yet to come.