It disgusts me that I have to write this article. Once upon a time, there was such a thing as journalistic ethics. Apparently, those died. Note to aspiring journalists, if you work up an internet news site that is based on facts – only the facts, and every fact you can find and validate – I will happily pay a subscription fee to read it. I am heartily sick of reading tabloid-quality news.
- Look at the website link. If it’s not a .com … just don’t be bothered. I had two people on my FB list link to news from a .com.co address (the same fake news address) with fake news stories from OPPOSITE sides of the political spectrum. Clickbait.
- You want to read a wide variety of source material, from the best sources you can find. The Big Dawgs will *not* report things that they don’t want reported, but they generally won’t outright *lie* about what they do report. They have what is left of their reputations to consider.
- Make sure to read at least one news source that comes from a perspective with which you do not agree.
- Yes, you’re going to have to read multiple news sites to get some kind of information aggregate.
- No, I don’t have any good ideas about how to get all the unreported news. There’s a lot of it, and I want it as much as you do. Hey – I want it on a local basis, my local news doesn’t report half of what happens, that I *know* is happening. Drives me nuts. Hello aspiring journalists… please get to work!!!!
- Read between the lines. What’s being implied? How is this being reported? Can you determine a slant to the reporting? Do you *know* that the newsite you’re reading from (including the BigDawgs) has a slant on this issue? Giant Grain of Salt.
- Read the whole article, not just the headline. “Man Bites Dog” might be “in self-defense” or “because he was insane” or “hot-dog eating contest”… but you won’t know if you don’t read. Clickbait is. Read the *whole* article. The whole.Darn.Thing.
- Follow links to original source material. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen an article that supported my personal worldview and followed the above steps only to hit the source material and find that it was much less inflammatory than the article made it seem.
- Understand that there is – or should be – original source material to just about anything. If the President signs something into law, or makes some sort of proclamation, guess what? The White House has an official page for that. We learned this in school. Read the article’s bibliography!
- Watch for those inflammatory bits. One junior representative making a motion does not equal a “push for penguin rights”.
- Patience is a virtue. We don’t actually know what is happening until it happens – sometimes you have to wait for the cake to bake before you know if it’s chocolate or strawberry. If someone is reporting that “Bob is building a castle” and Bob is still on the foundation steps and hasn’t indicated what he’s doing … assumptions are being made. You have to wait and see. (Very hard in the era of instant news and news as entertainment).
- You and I are being manipulated by our news media. One way or the other, it’s become highly inflammatory. Everyone is lying – or at least omitting quite a lot of truth.
- So, if we are going to respond to the news, we have the responsibility to dig for the truth. Disseminating falsehood to our friends is not friendship. Don’t repost, don’t discuss, don’t do ANYTHING until you get to digging.
- Let’s make a pact to not be offended by the phrase, “Can you prove that?” A desire for properly researched source material is good! And we can all fall victim to sloppy thinking… all of the above is a lot of work.
- Just because you don’t like someone, or you don’t like what they say, doesn’t mean that they’re lying. Same thing goes – prove it. If *they* can prove what they’re saying… then you have to accept that it’s truth, even if you then immediately act to change it.
I’d love other ideas about how to get good news, or non-tabloidy news sites. Your thoughts?