Do you have concerns about the legitimacy of modern media?
Well if you said "Yes" or are unsure, then you should know that you are not alone. One of the difficulties with identifying a reliable source is that many of sources publish satire, contradictions, incomplete information, and sometimes even fake news. So it's no wonder that some people get skeptical about the media. That's where the responsibility falls upon you as the reader to locate news sources that strive to report full, unbiased, and accurate information. In this article, I will discuss 5 characteristics to consider when determining media legitimacy including Comprehensibility, Source Bais, Source Reputation, Internal Logic, and Source References.
Comprehensibility is an important characteristic when selecting a news source, and as a general statement, people tend not to trust what they cannot understand. However, complex journalism can provide more in-depth insight on more complicated topics it may not be comprehensible to some individual. Select a source that delivers information in a way that you can understand it, rather than a source that uses complex ideas, and concepts to portray their point. CNN usually is able to convey their story without losing readers in jargon and complex topics, where in contrast The Economist caters to a population who are able to work with more in-depth and complex information.
If you get your news from social media this is especially important. Have you ever scrolled down your newsfeed on Facebook only to see a litany of articles that align with your personal ideals? Facebook and other forms of social media act like an echo chamber in that they only feed you articles which are biased to your ideals. Sources usually portray events and information in with either a conservative or liberal outlook on the situation, and that sometimes skews the facts of what happened. There are sources however that try to remain relatively unbiased, whom also have a higher credibility with factual information. If a journalist focuses on a topic that is not directly related to the event, they could be attempting to push their bias on you. Be conscious of the intent of the writer.
This one is easy. Simply, if a source has been known to publish reliable information in the past, then it is probable that its future information will be reliable too. Nevertheless assuming this is could be problematic, which is why you should implement these other tools in your research.
What does it mean to be "Internally Logical?"
This idea incorporates two major components: the intent and/or opinion of the journalist and/or publisher, and fluidity of the argument. It's important that they deliver a clear and succinct point in their articles, and that it is consistent throughout the article and other articles. Make sure the source you choose is consistent throughout their articles in regards to their stance and their point. If the thoughts in the article aren't fluid or the journalist tangents from the point at all, then its probably not going to be a very good source.
Something to also be aware of is that some media sources may not be getting their information from reliable sources either. This, in turn, makes them unreliable. In is helpful to check out the sources of the content prior to believing it.
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