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.
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.