Tuesday, December 13, 2016

More resources for evaluating news sites

At some point, I will simply have to create a widget with links to media literacy resources. I noticed a helpful (albeit incomplete) infographic on news quality at a blog called All Generalizations are False. The proprietor of that blog has been posting on twitter and Facebook as well. The author's rationale for ranking various sites on their level of bias and reputability are useful enough, and provide something of a rough guide for navigating today's rough media saturated waters. Another site that is quite comprehensive is Media Bias/Fact Check. The people behind this site are very open about their methodology and they do a very good job of covering just about any purported news sources that you are likely to run into. I stand by a statement I've made earlier: if a claim from a news source seems to outrageous or good to be true, you should be suspicious. News items should appear in multiple outlets, including ones that are relatively mainstream. Expect any outlet to have a slant or bias of one sort or another - this is a lesson that used to get taught to us in junior high school (at least it was back when I was attending around the start of the 1980s). It is also expected that regardless of a particular editorial slant, individual journalists will have their own perspectives, hence the need to look at multiple sources. My own bias is very simple: just avoid the conspiracy and clickbait sites altogether and starve them of advertising dollars. Stick to reputable sources of various ideological positions, and avoid getting caught in an echo chamber (social psychologists, including me, will argue that confirmation bias is something to be avoided as much as is humanly possible rather than embraced).

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