Thursday, August 20, 2009

News Sources

It is hard to find good sources of written news (And televised news? Ha!). I'm talking about online sources, of course; does anyone still read printed materials??

Here are some brief points to help explain what "good" means (and does not mean) in this case:
  • Quality of writing - It is a formal publication. If it is littered with grammatical errors, for example, I will lose confidence in the source.
  • Bias - An absence of bias is not necessary. I like opinions. I do not criticize the presence of bias alone. See next point.
  • Integrity - This word is overloaded, so it means a lot of things. Think ethics and objectivity.
So, for example, I do not despise Fox News for being biased, I despise them because they are devoid of integrity.

Now, why is it difficult to discover sources that meet the aforementioned requirements? Well, I'm glad you asked, because I was just getting to that.

The mainstream news sources all produce identical stories. A while back, I started using Google Reader to aggregate my news sources. I selected several different news sources, but instead of being provided with any variety, I was subjected to duplicate articles. It was worthless. The Daily Show often illustrates this point with a sequence of clips that show a bunch of newscasters all saying the exact same thing. It is hilarious and frustrating at the same time.

The Internet is huge. And you expect me to spend all day browsing it to find what I want? No thanks. I'm sure there are a ridiculous number of small websites that publish some really great articles, and I'm sure I will never discover most of them.

Fortunately, there are a couple sources that we feel we can trust. I wouldn't have expected it, but Slate and Rolling Stone produce very well written, high quality articles.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


  1. I rely on The Young Turks. For theintegrity point, they really emphasize being honest with their audience. They also just find the best stories, meaning they have good analysis on the top stories and grab a lot of the stories tat fall through the cracks. They do a radio and an internet show, and the host also posts written articles on huffington post. -Rob

  2. I like The Daily Show and MSNBC. MSNBC often has commentators on who are from online sites, Slate and Politico come to mind. I assume these sites are good, or their commentators wouldn't be so respected, but I've not yet got in the habit of going to them for news.

    The blogs on the right side of my blog screen are good, especially Roger Ebert. He did another post on health care yesterday. A quote: "America is the only nation in the free world in which "socialism" is generally thought of in negative terms. The only nation in which that word, in and of itself, is thought to bring the discussion to a close."

    On the repetitive theme, MSNBC showed Republican bigwigs repeatedly citing The Lewin Group as an authority. Then MSNBC revealed that the Lewin Group was funded by the insurance companies! And all the Republicans are citing this as their authority for their health care views.