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50th Anniversary: Legends of Z weigh in on fake news, journalism's future

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - In part two of “Legends of Z,” Pat Sweeney, Rob Horken, and Terry Dullum share their thoughts on the presidential campaign, fake news, and the future of journalism.

No doubt about it, the 2016 presidential campaign is one no one will forget anytime soon.  And it's not just what happened on the campaign trail, but what passes as news online and on social media.

Terry Dullum: "I think certain things like politics are getting harder to cover. The truth doesn't seem to matter as much as it once did. If you say something once, or twice, or three times or four times, no matter if it’s true or false, it sort of becomes truth. A version of the truth, somehow. The line between truth and what isn't true is very difficult to find.

"So many of these things have to be fixed. I think somehow, television journalists in particular, but the other branches as well, have to figure out a way to get past all this stuff that we've seen in the past year or two.”

But how does that happen and what does it mean for the future of journalism, especially when the definition of ‘news’ is transforming?

Pat Sweeney: "Somewhere along the line, we got into opinion journalism. Commentary isn't always labeled anymore. And a lot of that, cable news and internet, all these things, social media, has blurred the line. I can understand why some people have a negative opinion of the media.”

While there are plenty of challenges ahead, Terry Dullum says he's encouraged by the newest generation of reporters.

Terry Dullum: "Young people I worked with work harder than I ever did. They’re relentless and most of them are so good at what they do. It would be difficult for people my age to keep up with what they do. They work harder than I ever thought possible. They work longer hours with fewer complaints, and not a lot of money, often. I could go on and on. They really do work hard and that's where the positivity is. The people who still want to do this and they want to do it well."