There’s a lot of news out there, and it can be very hard to parse what news is accurate and what news is misinformation. And studies show that the rise of social media makes fake news even more prevalent.
But with the right skills, you can find accurate news sources. Let’s go through the top ways to find trusted news sources for your information needs.
Look at Wire Services
News wire services, like the Associated Press, are less prone to bias than other news outlets. That makes them a good primary source for your news needs.
Plus, new wire reports are often used by other news sources or are printed directly in other news outlets, so when you skip the middle man and go straight to reading news from wire services, it’s less polluted by the subjectivity of a particular outlet.
Check Your Bias When Evaluating News Sources
When looking for a news source, it’s important to realize that no source is completely objective. Humans report the news, and every person is reporting from their lived experience.
That’s why it’s always important to look at multiple sources and pay attention to the commonalities and differences. You need to create as wide a picture of any given issue as possible so that you can completely understand what the truth is.
Use Critical Thinking
When evaluating different news sources, use critical thinking to figure out if it’s a reliable source.
Consider where you saw the news from. Oftentimes, news articles shared on social media aren’t reliable. So, articles you see on social media should be subject to additional scrutiny.
If it appears that an article is playing on your emotions to make you particularly angry or upset, it may be that the author is manipulating you into overlooking factual inaccuracies. Take a deep breath, put your emotions aside, and take another look.
Before deciding to trust a news source, take an unemotional and critical look at many of their articles covering different topics, to make sure that you truly believe that that source is a solid place to get your news from.
Look For Missing Pieces
Sometimes, news outlets will leave out important information in order to serve their point or narrative. So, if it seems like there’s something missing, or something doesn’t sound quite right, trust your gut.
That’s part of why journalism is important because it provides people with access to information that they need to know. So, use all the resources that the wide world of journalism provides.
One important thing that might be missing is author attribution. If there isn’t an author cited for an article, or for any of the articles on a given site, it might be a sign that there’s something fishy going on with that news source.
Do Your Own Research
In order to really know whether or not you’re finding accurate news sources, you’ll need a good knowledge base to draw from. It’s hard to evaluate the accuracy of something if you don’t truly understand it, after all.
Always look at as many different news sources as possible, so that you can absorb as much information as possible about the issues that you care about.
Look Back on Your Experience Reading the News
If you find yourself reading a news source every day, but can’t recall specifics, it may simply not be an accurate source. If you can’t explain what you read to someone else, it may be a sign that it isn’t a particularly strong news source.
If you’re confused by what you’re reading regularly, it’s probably time to stop looking at that news source and look for a different outlet.
Check the Source References
Looking at how an outlet uses data and other sources in the news they report is very important.
If it looks like they are misinterpreting quotes, for example, there’s likely an issue with the other ways that the outlet gathers and interprets information.
If it seems like an outlet is regularly misinterpreting their source references, it may be time to look into another news outlet for your information needs.
Use Fact-Checking Resources
Luckily, you’re not alone when it comes to searching for trusted news sources. You can use some of the fact-checking resources out there to support your search for the truth.
Some major websites will provide specific fact-checking streams for special occasions, like presidential election debates. You can also look on Twitter for reporters who dedicate themselves to fact-checking particular people, organizations, or branches of government.
Snopes is one notable independent website you can use for your fact-checking needs. Some universities also offer fact-checking labs.
Look Out For Fake News
There are some sites out there that present themselves as legitimate news sources but aren’t. If a site’s URL doesn’t end with the right suffix (for example, if there are extra letters after the “.com”) it may not be a great place to get your news.
Sites that sound like a news organization you’ve heard of but are slightly misspelled may also be misrepresenting themselves in order to spread fake news around. So, always make sure to spellcheck the title of the site before you start diving into the news.
Now You Know How to Find Trusted News Sources
Hopefully, you’re now savvy enough to find trusted news sources, and to sniff it out when a source isn’t quite so trustworthy.
Are you looking for more information about journalism and the media? Make sure you check out Journalism Online today.