for savvy news consumers
are we to judge if news stories, Internet accounts, photos or video
clips are accurate and truthful? Using these tips will help you
tell what’s real.
- Think critically about
the news. Ask yourself:
it news? Is the story depicted
as an event that actually happened? Or is it something else, such
as opinion or advertising?
Is it accurate? Consider
the source of the information. Did it appear in a news publication,
on a news broadcast or on an Internet site created by a news
organization? Beyond that, who provided the information? Is the
it fair? If
the issue being reported is complex, are different sides presented?
Does the writer seem to want to persuade you of something? Does
the publication, newscast or Internet site seem to have a bias?
- Recognize that truth emerges in bits and
Learn to rely on diverse news sources. Use many different
media sources: newspapers, newscasts, online services, etc. Become
familiar with the approaches of a variety of news people, news
outlets and Web sites.
Form your opinions over time. Do
not assume that a story you watch, read or download on any one
day tells the whole story. Follow stories as they develop.
- Apply all you’ve learned
— and even more — when evaluating information on the Web.
a single keystroke or the click of a mouse, anyone with a home
computer and Internet access can spread news to millions of people.
But of all those people posting all that information, how many
have double- and triple-checked the accuracy of their material?
How many have biases they want you to believe? How many have picked
up the material they are transmitting from other, possibly unreliable,
sources? Ask yourself: Can this information be trusted? Does it
ring true? Is it in good taste? Am I getting the whole story?
with permission, from “Media Ethics: Where Do You Draw the Line?”
by Rosalind G. Stark (Arlington, Va.: The Freedom Forum Newseum
Inc.), 1999, p. 62.