Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Search of the Credible News Source

The editor of the Commuter, Ryan Henson, is working on a story about media credibility and trust, and how news consumers can find what they need, namely, reliable news and information.

In his quest, he sent me a couple questions for comment. Here's how I responded:

1. What are some responsible ways that we, as citizens, can stay informed?
The best way to stay informed is to be open to a diversity of news and information sources, from NPR to newspapers, both print and online; from cable TV to network newscasts; from local TV news to area radio; as well as magazines and the advertising all around us.

Too often we get locked into the same sources of information, which can restrict the points of view we read, see and hear. It's immensely beneficial to be aware of what all sides are saying, especially on controversial issues, such as health care, the bailout and spending on higher education.

2. How do you feel about the current handling of news events by the media? If anything, what should they do differently?
Different media appeal to different people. While I may not agree with opinions expressed on CNN, or NPR or Fox, there are many other information consumers who do. Media is a business, after all, and one of its chief concerns is building and maintaining an audience.

In the end, each media outlet establishes its own level of credibility. It's up to consumers to decide how much they are willing to believe. That's why it's so important for people to be savvy information processers. Don't believe everything you see, hear or read. Get the whole story before making up your mind.
How would you answer Ryan's query?


(Photo credit: "Trust" by SeenyaRita courtesy of


Luke Ketter said...

Here's a question Rob. Since it seems that more and more information and news reporting is becoming big business isn't it a fear that no matter what we are somehow missing out on something? With so much news based of bringing in more viewers, readers, etc how do you find anything that's not slanted and biased?

Rob's Media Blog said...

Good question. This involves some trial and error. You need to evaluate the source: Was the information accurate? Was it timely? Was it useful? Did the news source consistently deliver?

Not all media can live up to such a standard 100% of the time, but we all have to settle on our own comfort level. The days are certainly gone when we could rely on a single source.