“I saw it in the paper?” Does that make it true?
The Huffington Post reports we get as many as 1/3 of our news from private citizens.
These days, we get our news from so many sources that it’s really tough to be able to tell what to believe. If you look carefully, though, you’ll be able to detect bias and agenda. Every news source reports from a unique standpoint. They may be as objective as possible, or they might be broadcasting their opinions outright. As you start to look at the news, you must understand the following:
- News reporters have unique backgrounds that affect how they report the news.
- News is increasingly filtering down from “eyewitnesses ” and first-person accounts via social media. These are not trained journalists.
- You have nearly endless choices of the type of news you will consume and where you can get your news. This means news outlets have to compete for your time or click.
- There are different ways people like to consume their news. Some people like to read their news in a news feed, others prefer a brief and still others go right to traditional broadcast news or 24-hour cable news. YouTube is fast emerging as the source of choice for many of you.
- News stories must have the basic “Who, what when, where, and why,” but they also have a unique point of view. You must determine that point of view and whether it makes sense when compared to all the other outlets reporting that story.
- Data in the news can also be skewed, the same as stories. Make sure you corroborate all the news and data that goes into your brain. Ultimately, you make the call.
1. Notice where you are getting your news.
2. Evaluate whether that news is reliable.
3. What is your attitude toward the news–are you a believer or a skeptic?
4. Find news outlets that align with your beliefs, and those with whom you tend to disagree.