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Where do you find reliable news?

May 9, 2013
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For the Extra-Credit blog comment, which is due in reply here (click “Leave a comment” below) by 5 p.m. Friday, May 10, write a concise response to the headline above.

Tell us where you go, among news media outlets, for reliable, actionable information. There’s no right or wrong answer, and you needn’t try to please your professor by parroting “Democracy Now!”

What I want to know is: Whom do you trust and why? Your comment could be much shorter than 150 words, as long as you give us the “who” and the “why.” We’ll discuss your ideas and explore some uncommon (if reliable) sites in class Tuesday.

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42 Comments leave one →
  1. Emma Hoelscher permalink
    May 9, 2013 7:37 pm

    Some sources that I turn to when looking for information comes from the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Foreign Policy among other sources. The reason I turn to these sources is because while bias can be found throughout most articles within the internet or printed media, these are the sources with the highest credibility made up of worldwide networks.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:13 pm

      Sound reasoning, Emma. No news source is perfect, and as we’ll discuss in class, journalistic truth is not quite a destination, but rather, like scientific experimentation, a journey over time. Some “truths” take more time than others to emerge to our satisfaction. (“Foreign Policy” is a first in six semesters!)

  2. Victoria Trujillo permalink
    May 9, 2013 7:58 pm

    For me, I usually go to http://www.yahoo.com because it is the quickest way to see the up-to-date news online since they have articles on their front page. I’ve been going on there for years since they not only have current world worry events, but also articles that might have to do with fashion or even the best cities where jobs might be at their highest or lowest.

    If I am serious about an event, I research about it by watching news clips and comparing them to others. I gather what they all have in common and vice-versa to see what my gut feeling tells me might be right. To me, I know it is hard to trust what anyone tells us these days because a lot of people like to sugar coat the truth and to them, their opinion might be their truth. In the end, I trust what I feel is right since I would not want a nagging feeling to bother me if I go against it.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:16 pm

      Victoria, you’ve already reached a milestone in this course if you’ve found out a reliable “aggregator” to help you slow down the flood of information and organize it. I admire that you sometimes check alternate sources for further information. This course should help you refine your process of seeking reliable, actionable information.

  3. Cantrella Canady permalink
    May 9, 2013 7:59 pm

    The news outlets I am most familiar with are local TV news broadcasts such as Wink News, CBS, or ABC 7. I also rely on the local newspaper, the News-Press, as a trustworthy source for the latest and greatest in news. For more immediate concerns and interests, I tend to use Google’s News tab as a search engine to pull stories from sites such as New York Times, CNN, and Associated Press (AP).

    Honestly speaking, I do not go looking for news so most of what I know is very surface. I glance at headlines that pop up in my homepage’s “Trending Now” sections. If the headline is powerful enough or if the picture shown is compelling enough (which I learned in today’s class is Inverted Pyramid) , I will divert my “Facebook quest” and take time to actually read articles from the aforementioned sources. I sincerely hope that this class breaks my surface level complacency and breeds a new habit/aspiration of actually digging deeper into news and current events.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:20 pm

      Cantrella, no need to apologize for your approach to learning what’s going on. All of us have varying levels of interest and different definitions of news. This week, we’ll talk about that. I consider it “collateral learning” if, along the way this term, we increase your attentiveness to the news. (And I always assume that you’re speaking honestly, so you’ll want to avoid qualifying statements that way!)

  4. Nick Tavel permalink
    May 9, 2013 8:23 pm

    When I want to read about the current event happening around the world I visit Yahoo News and Wall Street Journal online to read about them. I choose the online version over the written-on-paper version because it is more up to date and it is more accessible. I would have to wait until the next day to find out about the recent events if I wanted the paper version.
    Since I am an international student, I also like to keep myself updated with my country’s significant events. When I wan to find out about Honduras’ events I visit http://www.ElHeraldo.hn and http://www.LaTribuna.hn .

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:21 pm

      Nick, thanks for introducing us (me, at least) to those news sites about Honduras. I hope you’ll share some thoughts about them during Thursday’s discussion.

  5. Keira White permalink
    May 9, 2013 11:09 pm

    I receive my news from a variety of sources but my favorite is the Today Show. I have it on every morning while I am getting ready for work or school and it is convenient to watch. I have been doing this ever since elementary school, so it has become a habit. Also, it has always and still is my dream to anchor on that show so I like to tune in frequently. I also receive my news from Yahoo. I have the tab pulled up on my computer and it is quick and easy to click on news articles that catch my attention, although I have noticed that they are not always the most reliable. During midday, I watch local news. I like all local news, but mainly NBC, because it catches me up on worldwide events, but also what is going on in my own community.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:24 pm

      Keira, as a longtime Today Show fan. you should have much to say about it as we consider how the drastic recent changes on this popular program have affected the show and its audience. I’m guessing you know more about the backstories, so I’m counting on you to contribute.

  6. Mallory Steele permalink
    May 9, 2013 11:28 pm

    It seems as if everyday it becomes harder and harder to trust what the media is telling us. It feels as if were playing a game of monkey in the middle, in which we the viewers are the monkey and each tv station are on each side of us, enabling us to choose and listen to them. To be honest I rarely watch the news anymore do to all the political affiliations and opinions they tend to try to make you believe to be facts. I miss the hard hitting news, the only time I really tend to see that is on CNN and NBC until around five o’clock eastern time. However, for nighttime I have to admit I really enjoy watching Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News. When listening and watching Williams on TV, I realize that he tends to still hit the hard hitting news and problems in our nation, as well as worldwide. He is less infactuated with just the political aspect of the news, but a better diversity, such as fixing our financial issues, war, and lowering obesity in America.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:30 pm

      Mallory, I note that you posted this before the announcement of the cancellation Friday of “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” Were you a viewer of that, too? I ask because often, we’re drawn to the TV news personalities (anchors, reporters, “talent”), and sometimes we even follow them from network to network and show to show. Williams has a solid rep and is widely considered the funniest “serious” TV news personality, with a huge following. “Rock Center” goes off the air the last week of this term.

  7. Max Waldinger permalink
    May 10, 2013 12:56 am

    To update about current events around the world I usually get the New York Times whenever I am on campus. One reason is certainly that it is a newspaper with a high reputation in accuracy and quality journalism, providing a great overview of news around the world. For rather economically and financially focused information I turn to Cnbc.com and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) homepage. Both present a great variety of news relevant to everyone concerned about politics and economies as well as the world markets. Every now and then I cross-check such information on Reuters.com and Bloomberg.com, two high-prestige providers of financial news which are mostly used by professionals in the financial industry. They seem very reliable and trustworthy for the reason that their information is widely used for trading and other financial decisions, directly streaming into the “powerhouses” which move the markets.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:36 pm

      Max, a convincing explanation of the much-deserved prestige of these respected sources. Reuters has been around as a news service for more than 160 years; its founder even used carrier pigeons to deliver the news! Bloomberg, of course, is relatively much newer but has long had a reputation for excellence. Should be some shakeup resulting from the “snooping” scandal.

  8. May 10, 2013 11:12 am

    Our daily news could be stressful sometimes based on what we hear, watch, or read. Some of the news I always read is Google news and New York time. I keep up with those because I believe most of it is true instead of faults statements. What I love about Google News and New York time they basically waiting on something to happened to put it out there for the news. They are on it 24/7, which a great thing because the society is aware of what is going on not only in our country but all around the world. Google News provides; top stories, world, business, technology, entertainment, sports, science, and health. I will always connect to Google News and New York time. Thank you

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:40 pm

      Guiseline, Google’s a prolific and proficient aggregator, and the NYTimes is and probably always will be the No. 1 content generator (original source for news), at least in scale. That matters since so many news outlets have shut down international newsgathering operations in the past two decades. We see the same thing happening locally everywhere, with the closing of statehouse bureaus. This is the lament of the author in part of Reading1. What does it portend for democracy when the ideal of an informed citizenry is at risk?

  9. Christopher Larsen permalink
    May 10, 2013 11:17 am

    Much like the majority of the youth in our society, I personally tend to put a minimal amount of effort into finding out the news or current events happening around the world. I usually find my news out from simply scrolling down on my Facebook page from my smart phone. If anything of major importance has happened, someone or multiple people have stated their opinion on the topic on their Facebook. From there I will usually look up the topic on the Google website depending on how important the subject is to me. Finding my news from regular everyday people is not only the most unreliable source I can use, but likely the most bias. I think the most reliable source that isn’t bias are shows like The Daily Show on Comedy Central.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:43 pm

      Christopher, having reliable second parties “curate” the news for you is a fine idea; that’s how I use Twitter and how many of us learn about much of the news. We hope this course will pique your curiosity enough that you’ll begin to investigate and verify independently some of the things people share with you via social media.

  10. May 10, 2013 11:54 am

    Originally I am from the east coast of Florida and receive my news through the Sun Sentinel. I think its extremely interesting that you used to work for them because I have been reading that newspaper my entire life. Since moving to Fort Myers I usually receive most information through the paper from our school paper. I also sometimes watch the Colbert Report.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:47 pm

      Sam, I have worked for six papers in the Florida, and though they’ve evolved (one even folded) over the 34 years since I started at the Palm Beach Post, I think that for the past decade-plus, the Sun-Sentinel has been the best in the state. Long tradition of outstanding watchdog reporting. I look forward to reading/hearing what you have to ask of Eagles News since so few students appear to read it regularly.

  11. Jaclyn Oser permalink
    May 10, 2013 12:09 pm

    When watching the news on tv, I always used to believe everything I heard but lately I have become very skeptical of what they tell the public on tv. I have recently been following all the news about the shootings and bombings in Boston. I have noticed that when comparing all the information they tell us, nothing adds up. I feel that they sometimes lie to cover up the truth about what happened. It is hard to trust anyone.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:50 pm

      Jaclyn, TV’s blessing of immediacy is also its curse. Have you noticed, though, how so many of us turn to TV immediately to follow major news live and in progress no matter how many times we get burned? Your statement about coverups is provocative, and we’ll want to hear more about that. If you’ve looked into the posted reading for this week, you may not feel any better about it.

  12. Carlos Lopez permalink
    May 10, 2013 12:27 pm

    I mostly stay updated through NPR. I find NPR trustworthy, because it not only features standard news reporting, but also has many discussion focused programs that flesh out the majority of perspectives on a certain issue.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:55 pm

      Carlos, you make an excellent point about NPR’s “public affairs” reporting (which I wish we instead called “public life” reporting for reasons we’ll explore in class). Programs from “Gulf Coast Live” on WGCU to NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” — a top-notch shows that is being killed off at the end of June — provide depth to understanding the news, which is treated superficially by broadcast’s conventional “headline” approach. Studies consistently show that people who thoughtfully follow public broadcasting are better informed about news and issues. So … good for you!

  13. TessaSteele permalink
    May 10, 2013 12:49 pm

    I haven’t followed the news in a long time. When I was a teenager I would watch or listen to BBC World News or Democracy Now! I don’t have any reason for trusting either program. I did like that Democracy Now! isn’t commercially funded. I watched BBC World News because I thought it was more conscious of the rest of the world and because I think British people tend to be better informed and generally smarter than most Americans so I guess that would make me trust their news. I watched Democracy Now! because I was always interested in the stories they reported on; though I do think it is biased what they choose to report on and what they choose to show when reporting. Mostly now the only news I get is if something interesting is said on SNL I’ll look into it.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 5:59 pm

      Tessa, can’t wait to hear/read more from you about these two sources. I place them both in my top five; I suppose I still trust DN! I do think it has a pronounced bias and agenda: truth. WGCU is afraid to air it because SWFL is such a conservative community with a strong bias against truth and in favor of both corporate and libertarian special interests.

  14. Chad Nicholas permalink
    May 10, 2013 1:35 pm

    The place where I get all my reliable news would be CNN also known as Cable News Network. The reason why I use CNN is because they are always on TV. Unlike Fox or CBS which are only available on TV at night and in the morning for news, CNN is available all day every day. I also would much rather watch the news than to read an article because the news stations on TV are able to pass the news to its consumers a lot quicker than it would be for a journalist to write an article and have everyone read it.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 6:02 pm

      Chad, you raise an interesting point about CNN’s 24-hour schedule; it seems that at least one of the related channels is always broadcasting news. And FOX promotes its schedule as compartmentalized between news and personality shows. Both of those — 24-hour news and “labeling” news programs — are critical issues we’ll discuss this term.

  15. May 10, 2013 1:36 pm

    CNN is where I usually get my news. In my opinion, they are pretty accurate even though they make some pretty big blunders. Another reason I use CNN, is because they seem neutral on political biases, and they don’t appear to be pro-this or pro-that. However, I may be wrong but that is why I took this class. I also trust their coverage of “breaking news”. They do a good job of letting you know what is going on, but I try not to put too much trust in the details they report. I hope that in taking this class I will find more reliable news outlets and learn how to shift through all the junk that is on the TV and internet.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 6:07 pm

      Shawn, thanks for admitting to having an open mind! All we ask is that everyone, at least in this class, question the authority of their news sources and consider others. I do not mean, through this class to convince you that any show can be plotted at any particular plot on the spectrum (though we flirt with the idea of whether they all shouldn’t just come out and stake a spot so we can judge how honest they’re going to be about where they stand). To me, they’re almost all right of center, and this is a very easy point to prove the minute you begin to examine their financial structure and their support and consent for hegemony. Studies consistently reveal this, yet most people ignore it and cling to their “confirmation bias,” a concept we’ll investigate.

  16. May 10, 2013 2:22 pm

    I use and trust many different media outlets for collecting reliable, actionable information. One reliable source of information in southwest Florida is the News-Press newspaper. This is a local news source located in Fort Myers, Florida which I read every day to get local, state and national information and is a fairly reliable source of information. The journalists of the News-Press do a good job of getting information about many different aspects of everyday life including local, state and national affairs, sports, weather, politics, and the stock market.

    The Internet is another good source that I often use for collecting information. I use and trust Yahoo, ESPN, Google, Wikipedia and Facebook for collecting current data on the Internet. These websites give a pretty accurate detail and they continuously update on events that are taking place in the world right now.

    The television is another good source of information I use for collecting data. Channels including CNN, NBC, ESPN and FOX are networks I use and trust for collecting information on what’s taking place in are world. These stations have people who broadcast the news such as Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Megan Kelly and Hannah Storm. I believe that they do a great job of broadcasting the news events of the day.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 6:12 pm

      Dylan, that’s a marvelous smorgasbord of choices! It’s wise to survey the media landscape. Your mention of wikipedia is provocative. Often, students expect professors to object to its use, and some professors likely do. That objection is small minded and superficial. It’s usually as up to date as news sites, even to the moment. The caveat I give is the same as I would with any news source, depending on the situation or story: Verify independently and check original sources wherever possible.

  17. May 10, 2013 2:30 pm

    News is like a lot like food. Some news is hot, some news is cold. Some news fills you up, some news leaves you feeling empty and hungry for change. The mainstream outlets, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, NYT, Wallstreet Journal, and Washington Post tend to maintain similar menus with the same old bland mush that we’ve been fed for decades. If one is found pushing a new story the rest will follow suit. Even on the slowest news day, one can find the same stories rewritten a number of ways that all tell the same story: an agreed upon narrative with that agency’s own personal touch of corporate spin. That’s not to say agendas are nonexistent amongst smaller outlets. They aren’t.

    But where does one go to seek fresh perspectives and new, untapped and important stories that lack the coverage they deserve? For me it all depends on the specificity of what I am looking up. Is it technology related? If so then I’ll probably check what Wired, Ars Technica (both Conde Naste subsidiaries), and Alternet have to say. Is it political? TPM, AP, MotherJones, Huffington Post, Politico, RealClearPolitics, RawStory, Mediaite, The Young Turks, and DailyKOS almost always post stimulating and actionable news stories. These mostly independent organizations regularly provide insightful, and sometimes, provocative messages that the Big Five simply will not publish.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 6:21 pm

      David, one of the challenges of teaching this course is that it’s easy for me to overlook the specialty sources. Only occasionally do I get to introduce sources such as Wired or Ars Technica to students who may not realize how credible and on top of things those sites can be. Your critique of the MSM makes sense, and no doubt you could prove that through a long, deep study or — as you might choose to do in your team’s project — by deconstructing a single news story or serial narrative to prove the sameness (and only in rare cases, diversity) of news “frames.” Finally, you list a slew of less-mainstream sites (HuffPo, for example, is definitely MSM now) that I encourage everyone to at least click to and consider.

  18. Marissa Weiley permalink
    May 10, 2013 3:10 pm

    As sad as it may be, I find out news mostly through social networking. I don’t really watch the news at night or in the morning, except for catching the occasional episode of the Colbert Report or John Stewart on rerun late at night. Facebook, however, is a realistic and easy way for me to stay on top of things. I have an app on my iPhone and I can easily click it to be taken to an updated newsfeed. I find this to be a lot quicker and easier than trying to watch tv or taking time from my work day or schoolwork to go to news websites and try to read the articles. I know with Facebook, there is NO guarantee that anything you read will be reliable or true; however, when breaking news occurs, you can count on your Facebook friends and the people you follow on Twitter to post statuses or tweets immediately. That’s what I personally count on. I almost feel as though everyone rushes to be the first one to post a status or tweet about the news, before their friends get the opportunity. Since there is such competition to have the first status update, I know I can always log into Facebook to read about the latest scandals or news and see how my friends and family are reacting to them. This being said, I am fully aware that this is probably the worst way that false information and rumors are spread in just minutes across the country, and even the world, but the young adults of our generation have grown up in the age of technology and social networking; and we are not often told about the dangers of believing everything you read posted online. In this semester, I am making it a personal goal to step out of my shell and become more involved in watching the actual news and learning about the current events of our world, instead of just scrolling down on my Facebook.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 7:17 pm

      Very thoughtful, candid comment, Marissa. As I stated below, there is nothing wrong with relying on mature, responsible social media contacts to “curate” the world for you. But you ought to hold those “friends” and people you “follow” to the same high standards to which you should hold professional communicators: journalists and the like. The question becomes, can you trust your social media contacts to exercise best practices of journalism? Are they providing you with reliable, actionable information that you are confident that you can share without reservation? Beyond that, this course is designed to encourage you to break out of that simple habit and to begin exploring alternative original sources of accountable and independently verified information.

  19. Blake permalink
    May 10, 2013 3:57 pm

    Honestly, I don’t usually seek out news. I’m fairly busy and generally self-absorbed. Mostly, I don’t even keep up with popular culture; however, I do watch the soup to keep up with some trends. In the event that reliable news is a necessity for me, I turn to the Newspress. If I am unable to find anything helpful from the paper, I google the information and read at least 5 accounts to determine validity.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 7:24 pm

      Blake, give yourself some credit! First, please understand that, for whatever reason and no matter what it means for any hope of having an informed citizenry, more than two thirds of adults in the U.S. do not follow news that would help them better engage in civil and political affairs. Put another way, no one cares about politics and public affairs/life as much as politicians and journalists do, and so few people will ever “measure up” to the ideal of civic engagement. Some people pay more attention when they care more about an issue. The level of engagement depends on salience with the individual. It’s not surprising, then, that you seem to be saying that often you don’t care enough to follow the news, but then sometimes you do. That’s fairly typical. Maybe this course will stimulate you to engage more often with news and civic life or at least help you to become a more critical thinker about the news you do choose to consume.

  20. Emery Ramaswami permalink
    May 10, 2013 4:09 pm

    I get my News from many different news sources, however I am skeptical of them all. I know that there is so much private interest in the news that it becomes distorted by what the controlling hands want the public to think. However when I do watch news I tend to watch CNN and the NBC channels even though I know both of these sources are corrupted and can sometimes report a distorted truth, but in the end they are very easy to access and they report most of the day so I can get the updated news. I am also very interested in sports so i get a lot of sports news from ESPN, though what they report is also directed to their interests. For my more trustworthy news i tend to go to BBC because they report a more global viewpoint of all the events occurring around the world. BBC is also more trustworthy because it reports so many different stories that are occurring all around the world not just the ones that serve American political and economic interest.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 12, 2013 7:30 pm

      Emery, these are all fairly middle-of-the-road choices, pretty safe for the most part, though ESPN excels more at reporting between the lines than outside the lines, no matter how it promotes itself. And it prides itself on propagating rumors, going so far to label itself. In the short, unhappy life of its ombudsman program — never shorter and unhappier than when Poynter flubbed the gig — ESPN proved itself resistant to criticism, even when it was paying for it, and reluctant to improve by changing. Large media institutions are almost always that way. Since you’re interested in sports news, perhaps you’re already familiar with Deadspin and other sports watchdog blogs; if not, check them out.

  21. Andrea Voynovich permalink
    May 12, 2013 8:19 pm

    I do not have a lot of extra time to follow news shows or read newspapers because I am either in school or I am working. Although when I am getting ready for school or work I leave the TV on to shows like Good Morning America or occasionally local news so I am listening while getting ready. I also read articles that interest me that pop up on my main Yahoo screen when I sign in online. It is sometimes difficult to know which sites provide accurate information but if multiple different sites have the same information then I tend to believe it to be true.

    • rkenney permalink
      May 15, 2013 3:07 pm

      Smart thinking, Andrea. Your last statement supports the idea that it makes sense to investigate whether multiple sources are sharing the same reliable, verified information.

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