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Strategy: Evaluating News

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Consider News Content

The Center for News Literacy  defines journalism as "a process of verification that aims to confirm or establish facts." Journalists are held to a code of ethics, which requires verification of facts, independence from interest groups, accountability and willingness to correct errors. Understanding these qualities and types of news content may help you to identify and evaluate news organizations.

 

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Types of News Content  

There are a variety of types of news, including but not limited to:

News Story

Direct Reporting of noteworthy events or issues

Analysis

A comprehensive review of an issue or an event

Analysis

Investigative Journalism

Lengthy, long-form journalism of a complex topic 

Investigative

Editorial

Opinion, viewpoint or argument (some written by editors -- others by readers)

Interview

Recording or transcript of a dialog or conversation

News Agency Syndications

Material drawn from news agencies such as Reuters or the Associated Press. 

Reuters

Review, Ethics, & Transparency

News publications vary widely. Examining the publication or source of news content can be revealing. 

Editors and Review Process

Does the source employ editors or fact checkers? Look for a listing of editors in the about section or a section titled masthead. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethics  

Can you identify a mission statement, goals, or code of editorial ethics? What is the aim of the source? 'Reputable' news organizations tend to be open and transparent about their professional ethics and goals.  

Professional Journalists abide by a code of ethics.

Example: NPR 

Example: NYT

Example: BBC

 

 

 

Transparency

Professional journalists are trained to be transparent about their sources and how they gather information.  

What they know
Does the author let the reader know the original source of information, quotes and evidence?

Sources may be journalist first-hand observations, experts or specialists, eye witnesses, participants, spokespeople or publicists, other news accounts. 

What they don't know 

Does the author explain to the reader why some information is omitted or unavailable at the time of writing the article?  

News is responsive to recent events, but truth is provisional . As time passes more information may become available and offer a more robust understanding. 

*** Ask yourself: Did the author name her sources?  Did she provide multiple sources and perspectives? Do you consider the sources appropriate given the evidence suppled? Did the author represent sources accurately?

Based on this analysis, make judgments and inferences that guide how you trust or use the news source. 

Reputable News Sources

Many countries rely on national news generated by large news organizations. Typically, a reputable source has established a record of accuracy and accountability. Nonetheless, a savvy and responsible reader will continue to actively question and investigate. 

Some US news sources regarded as reputable:

Keep in mind that reputation and performance are fluid and debatable. It is not that simple. Keep your healthy skepticism!

Social Media

Keep in mind that when you see news in your social media feeds, the type of news content and the source may not be immediately obvious.  

Dig Deeper before you share!