25th March 2024
Diversifying Sources to Credibility Checks: How to Build and Maintain a Healthy News Diet

It is important to read news to stay up to date with what is happening in the world! However, it is also important to consider both what you are reading and where this is information is from to make sure you are reading accurate and trustworthy news.

Maintaining a balanced news diet means making sure your news is well rounded, accurate, diverse, and is useful for the information that you want to obtain.

News is increasingly available on a wide range of platforms. As such, it is important to be conscious of the news you’re using, both in terms of quality and quantity.

With notifications constantly alerting you, friends and family sharing news on social media, and multiple sources of 24-hour rolling news on TV and radio, news is far more accessible than it has ever been before.

This post will help you achieve a balanced news diet, so that you can look after yourself and those around you whilst keeping informed of important events in your community and around the world.

Top tips to balance your news diet

Assess your current news diet: Take stock of your current news habits by reflecting on your media use. Would varying the news sources and platforms you use ‘improve’ this diet? Do you get most of your news from social media? Why not try going direct to publisher websites? Only ever look to the same handful of big publishers? Try branching out to local publications or independent nationals. Try monitoring your news use over a week, and see if patterns emerge.

Consider what kinds of news are out there: There is a tendency of news organisations, at times, to reduce news and stories into what sells, or for ‘clicks’. There is also a large amount of fake news stories which are easily accessible, so knowing how to spot this is important! We have another post on fake news here.

Diversify your resources: Research news organisations that consistently produce factual and timely articles, using a wide range of sources. If the majority of your news comes from these kinds of sources, the information is more likely to be accurate and trustworthy. Remember to always look for the Impress Trustmark when reading or watching news. This means the news provider has volunteered to be held accountable for the quality of their content.

Check for credibility: Think about the hard facts that a story is telling you, and where these have come from. Is the news provider presenting you with neutral, impartial information? Or are they rearranging the story to distort the facts and mislead you?  A credible news story will always refer to the sources the journalist and news team have used – although sometimes these will be unnamed for confidentiality purposes. If you can’t find third party sources, think carefully about what you have been told. If there are third party sources, make sure you also check the credibility of these.

Make sure it is useful for you: As opposed to reading sensationalised news stories with catchy headlines, prioritise well researched and reputable news outlets to ensure the news you are consuming is accurate, trustworthy, and personally beneficial.

Look for the Impress Trustmark: The Impress Trustmark is an industry-leading sign of quality news content. It means that you can hold a news provider to account if you feel that their content does not meet the Impress Standards Code.

Questions to ask yourself to help balance your news diet:

  • Am I reading news from a wide range of diverse sources?
  • Is my news interesting to me?
  • Am I aware of sensationalised news stories which, while maybe exciting, infuriating or interesting, may not be accurate?
  • Is my news credible, well researched and using legitimate third-party sources?
  • Am I using a wide range of publishers and apps to get my news?

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