In the midst of a global pandemic, we are also experiencing an “infodemic” of hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and misinformation. According to Pew Research Center, “those who rely on social media for news are less likely to get the facts right about the coronavirus and politics and more likely to hear some unproven claims.” What can you do? Join the HL News Challenge! Each day for the next few weeks, we will present a quick and easy task to help you adopt healthier information practices.
*Healthy nutrition is a metaphor; this healthy news plate is inspired by the Healthy Eating Plate from Harvard University. We are not experts on your diet and food intake. This is not an exact measure of the kinds of news you should consume, but we advise taking in more facts than opinions, and making sure you understand the context of the information you consume.
Up-to-date reporting from a variety of sources: Just as you get your nutrition from a variety of foods, you want your news to come from different sources, which helps you corroborate facts.
In-depth analysis of current and relevant events: Journalistic research that digs deeper than breaking-news reporting can do. This can take the form of a documentary, podcast, book, news article, etc. Examples: She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (book about their reporting), Frontline (long-standing documentary news series from PBS), and The Secret History of Tiger Woods, ESPN Magazine.
Pundits and Pontificators: TV and radio, editorials, and opinions on social media may satisfy a particular craving, but are often empty calories. Many pundits and pontificators do not hold themselves to journalistic standards and feel free to adapt news information to their message. Use carefully and in moderation. If you only consume these types of sources, your news diet will be very unbalanced and full of misinformation.
Entertainment & Parody: Good for spicing up your day, but your sole source of news. Though many comedians (such those on The Daily Show or Saturday Night Live) use news clips and analysis in their presentation, their main purpose is to make you laugh. Because they are not journalists, they are free to embellish the information for entertainment value.
Many "fake news" sites fall into this category. Satirical sites such as The Onion, The Beaverton, or the Babylon Bee are for the reader who is in on the joke, but sometimes the headlines are taken, and shared, as fact.
News Aggregators: The quality will depend on the sources collected and shared. If you use a resource such as Google News or theSkimm, be sure to confirm the original sources. And read the articles, rather than just the headlines.