A conference, as an example, would be classed as a reputable source, because it is accounted for by others and provides clear-cut information that journalists can relay straight to the general public. Press conferences have often required all forms of things – from new Government initiatives to movie announcements. Many of the stories your pupils read within the sports pages of our newspaper will have come from a group discussion, as it’s the only one where the players and manager can’t avoid the press!
Institutions and organizations may also be great, reliable sources of reports, especially for a subject matter like science, for example. You’ll notice that our journalists frequently quote universities and research organizations on our Science page; these organizations often transfer press releases with details of the latest discoveries. Journalists can sign on for early warnings of upcoming stories in important journals like Nature, Science, and therefore the Lancet.
Social media shouldn’t always be deemed as an unreliable news source, as in recent years, sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook became direct links to celebrities and other people of interest. Celebrities, specifically, those who don’t often visit the media will post things that newspaper readers are fascinated by. Social media also allows stories to be heard that in the past wouldn’t have gotten outside a tiny low group of friends or family.
Types of unreliable news content
As we all know, some news content is much from reliable. Unreliable news content is deemed intrinsically for all styles of reasons. Most unreliable news content is straight away dubbed ‘fake news’ nowadays. It’s also possible that some ‘fake news’ articles aren’t deliberately fake. It may well be that the author has used a source they didn’t know was unreliable, or genuinely believes that what they’re writing is true. Sources, too, can easily make mistakes and people’s mistakes are sometimes innocent ones; a source’s memory may be playing up or they heard something incorrectly, or possibly their information is out of date, for instance.
All journalists, of course, must be wary just in case their news source is deliberately passing them false information to report back to others. It’s possible that the source may well be trying to form someone look bad by releasing a negative story about them, or they may even simply be making it all up for fun. Many pranksters have fooled the media over the years by concocting crazy tales and faking evidence, just to work out if they will get their silly stories in print. There are endless samples of journalists embarrassing themselves by writing up an article that they saw on another website, without realizing that the article was a joke in the first place.
Buzzwords populating search engines immediately are after all ‘fake news, ‘junk science’, ‘state-sponsored news’, and ‘hate news’. It’s in fact important to grasp what you’re actually reading and always take a flash to contemplate the validity of a news piece that raises an eyebrow, but it’s even as important to recollect that not all news falls into any of those categories; there’s excellent news written by good journalists out there.