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Thread: News Sites and Resources

  1. #1
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    News Sites and Resources

    Sources for News and Current Events Sources and Commentary

    This is a work in progress, and many members have contributed. Feel free to make suggestions via PM or Rep.

    Last edited by AW Admin; 12-12-2016 at 07:03 AM.

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    News Sites and Resources

    There are two broad categories in terms of kinds of sources used in factual non-fictive writing; primary sources and secondary sources.

    • Primary sources are the underpinnings of factual writing. They are the actual items that document events and people.
    • Secondary sources analyze and interpret primary resources.

    Primary Sources

    Primary resources provide firsthand evidence of historical events. They are generally unpublished materials such as manuscripts, photographs, maps, artifacts, audio and video recordings, oral histories, postcards, and posters. In some instances, published materials can also be viewed as primary materials for the period in which they were written. In contrast, secondary materials, such as textbooks, synthesize and interpret primary materials. Following are excerpts and examples from a variety of explanations provided by institutions that utilize primary resources.

    Primary sources are defined as
    actual records that have survived from the past, such as letters, photographs, articles of clothing." In contrast, secondary sources are accounts of the past created by people writing about events sometime after they happened.
    Examples of Primary Sources
    • Eyewitness accounts including: diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, manuscripts and other papers in which individuals describe events in which they were participants or observers
    • Memoirs and autobiographies
    • Records of organizations and agencies of government
    • Published materials written at the time of the event
    • Photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures, video recordings documenting what happened
    • Artifacts of all kinds including photographs, films, videos and sound recordings as well as other objects
    • Research reports in the sciences and social sciences

    Secondary Sources

    A secondary source is any source about an event, period, or issue in history that was produced after that event, period or issue has passed.
    A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or phenomenon.
    Secondary sources typically "synthesize and interpret primary materials." Often an indication of a good secondary resource is the extent to which the secondary source relies on and carefully cites and documents primary resources.

    Examples of Secondary Sources
    • Textbooks
    • Scholarly articles or monographs
    • Encyclopedias
    • Non-fiction critiques or analyses of primary resources

    When To Trust A Story That Uses Unnamed Sources
    A guide to unnamed sources in government/politics/Washington stories — who they are, how reporters use them, and how to tell if you should trust what they say via
    Last edited by AW Admin; 07-19-2017 at 03:37 AM.

  3. #3
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    Fact Checking And Verifying Sources

    Back in 2001 when blogging was still shiny and new, journalist and blogger Ken Layne noted that using the resources of the Internet and the tools of communication and collaboration that were then in their infancy, online writers and bloggers could “Fact check your ass.

    Now, with the rapid dispersal of data and enormous outreach of social networks like Twitter and Facebook as Bill Moyers notes,

    Each of us must act as our own editor, adopting the skills and taking the time (yes) to determine the real deal. One of the key newsroom axioms to adopt: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” In other words, the more you are inclined to believe something, the more you should be skeptical.
    Fake News Is A Thing

    “Fake news was a term specifically about people who purposely fabricated stories for clicks and revenue,” said David Mikkelson, the founder of Snopes, the myth-busting website. “Now it includes bad reporting, slanted journalism and outright propaganda. And I think we’re doing a disservice to lump all those things together.” Wielding Claims of "Fake News" Conservatives Take Aim at Mainstream Media
    Fake news refers to articles, posts and essays deliberately created by writers, often professional highly-paid writers who know that they are lying and misrepresenting others. They deliberately present fiction as news.

    Fake news is proliferating rapidly, in part because well-meaning people forward the links of fake news stories via forums, and social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Unlike old-fashioned propaganda, which was easily spotted as propaganda because of the writer, publisher, or both, fake news can appear legitimate to the less than careful reader.

    One attribute of fake news is a headline that's designed to grab your attention, even if it's negative attention, and get you to click to read the whole story. Often the headline is grossly warped out of proportion to the rest of the story; such headlines are clickbait. They only exist to get readers to click—and sell ads. Here are some signs to watch for as “markers” for fake news. Politifact has a fake news page that flags known fake news, with citations. has a page with suggestions about how to spot fake news.

    When you see fake news, help clean it up by politely noting that it's fake news, with a link to a site like or Politifact that cites the story and notes that it is fake.

    We need to get back to looking at sources and evaluating them for legitimacy, bias and truth. Bias is a natural part of communication, but pointing out bias is important. It's part of weighing the veracity and legitimacy of a source.

    The following tips are from personal experience as well as other similar pages about evaluating Web sites and stories; principally these from journalists:

    Check the URL

    The URL is the address of the site; it usually ends in .com or .gov. or .org, but there are other possibilities, too.
    • Look in your Web browsers address field for the URL of the site you are on.
    • Check the links in a Web page before clicking by pointing your cursor (the "pointer") at a link and looking at the bottom of your Web Browser to see where the link goes.
    • Is it a site you're familiar with that's generally well-regarded?
    • Are you sure it's that site, and not one trying to pull a fast one? is real; is not.

    Who's Responsible for the Site and the Writing?

    • Are the posts or articles signed by people whose names you recognize?
    • Does the site have an About page that is clear and believable? Or is it made up?
      A real About page typically indicates who owns the site, who works or writes for it, and what their credentials or expertise is. A vague statement like Janet has a doctorate in Economics is often a red flag; people with real degrees from respectable institutions will be specific. Janet Munro has a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. Her dissertation was on the impact of the gold standard in 19th century Europe.
    • Is there a clear way to contact the news site or organization?
    • How credible is the site in terms of appearance? Does it look amateur? Is it the online version of lots of blinking neon lights?
    • What's the quality of writing?
    • Do they publish retractions to correct errors?
      I'm making a distinction between voluntary correction of genuine mistakes and retractions forced on publishers by litigation.

    Red Flags:
    • Watch for sites that hang a .co on the end of the URL; they’re often pulling a fast one: is NOT, the real site.
    • Are there lots of misspelled words and grammar errors and text that’s in ALL CAPS?
    • Is the punctuation weird, particularly in the over-use of exclamation points? (Journalists used to call exclamation points “screamers”; they tend to be rarely used by legitimate writers, journalists and scholars.)
    • Are there lots of animated graphic ads and offers to help you win lots and lots of money?

    Read More Than Headlines

    Read the entire story.

    • How many sources are cited or referred to? Can you check the sources yourself?
    • The sources should be verifiable. People are quoted by name, title and where they work (although sometimes they are quoted anonymously), and there are links to reports or court documents. There are primary sources that you can verify, not just hearsay, accusations or assertions.
    • Are the names of real people and places you can identify by Googling?
      Search the names of people, places or titles in a story. For example, the false story about Clinton being behind an FBI agent’s murder-suicide, said it took place in Walkerville, Maryland. There is no such place. There is a WalkerSville. Tricky.
    • Check quotations in a story by copying them or unusual parts of them; are they cited in other known reputable sources?
    • Are the quotations being taken out of context, or altered? Too many ellipses are often a red flag.
    • Quotations are primary sources. They should be verifiable, from real people.
    • What’s the background of the author on the byline? Is it someone who seems credible? Can you find other articles by them in reputable publications or sites? Do they have a Twitter feed? Who follows them?
    • Check the comments; are other readers flagging problems with the story? Often the devil is in the details.

    What's the Date?
    We’ve all seen what happens when a thread from six years ago on AW gets “necroed” because a new member doesn’t realize he or she is posting in an ancient thread that’s no longer relevant.
    Check the date on the story or Web page.
    • Is it old news?
    • Is it old news that someone’s trying to put a new and less-than-accurate spin on?

    Check those Photos

    • Is it a stock photo that someone is trying to make be something it isn't?
    • Is it an old photo that's been recycled?

    Photos of Hillary Clinton stumbling back in February were recycled closer to the election to give the impression she was sick.
    How to Check Photos

    Right-click or Control-Click on OS X/macOS to display the image in a new Tab or Window.
    Then use Google to do a reverse image search to see where else the image is used.
    You can also use TinEye to do a reverse image search.

    Check Those Biases
    Bias is part of human nature; we all have them. But it’s good to be aware of your own biases, and those of others—including news sources.
    Read widely.
    Read about the same subject or event from multiple sources and multiple points-of-view.

    As Alicia Shepherd suggests:

    If you lean left, watch Fox News. Listen to Alex Jones or Rush Limbaugh or read Breitbart.
    If you lean right, tune in Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Pay attention to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!
    Or watch more middle-of-the-road news on PBS’ NewsHour. Listen to NPR.
    Check out Media Matters, which monitors conservative media and the Media Research Center, which monitors the mainstream media.
    Sources like Limbaugh or Breitbart are repellant, but you need to know what others are reading and hearing. And know that some people will believe things that are patently ridiculous.

    STOP AND THINK before you reflexively pass on a link via Twitter or Facebook.

    • Read the entire piece.
    • Ask yourself if it's accurate.
    • Ask yourself how do you know it's true Have you verified it via other sources?
    • You can check lots of fake news and parodies by using
    • PolitiFact rates the veracity of stories and news and offers citations you can check yourself.
    • First Draft News flags hoaxes and offers citations regarding sources.
    • Watch out for parodies that might pass for news. TheOnion and similar sites are often hilarious, and subversively comment on the news, but the people you forward the parody to might not know it's a parody.

    Don't Help Fake News Proliferate
    Last edited by AW Admin; 12-27-2016 at 01:21 AM.

  4. #4
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    Newspapers and Periodical Sites

    This is a work in progress and many members have contributed. Feel free to suggest additions.

    Newspapers and Periodical Sites

    Quote Originally Posted by nighttimer View Post
    More importantly, if you're not supporting the kind of news media you want to see, then you're part of the problem. Buy and read a newspaper. Subscribe to a magazine or two. Bookmark and turn off you ad blocker on news websites. Write letters to the editor and compliment the writers and columnists you like and criticize the ones you dislike. Find at least one publication or website or writer whose political orientation is opposite of yours, but still makes good sense. You don't have to change your mind while you're expanding your mind.

    If you're simply bitching about the news media and doing nothing to support good, solid, fair, but hard-hitting journalism, you're not really helping the process at all.

    Le Figaro
    One of the two main French newspapers. The other is Le Monde.

    The Guardian
    The Guardian is a National British daily newspaper, known until 1959 as the Manchester Guardian. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by The Scott Trust Limited. The Trust was created in 1936 "to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference." The Scott Trust became a limited company in 2008, with a constitution to maintain the same protections for The Guardian. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than to the benefit of an owner or shareholders.[2]
    US Edition | UK Edition Australian Edition | International Edition

    Al Jazeera
    Al Jazeera Media Network is partly funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar; in other words, Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, though Al Jazeera editors and staff have stated that they are editorially independent from the government of Qatar. They are the leading media outlet for the Arab peninsula, and have a U.S. branch.

    The Los Angeles Times
    Based in Los Angeles, CA, the LA Times has been covering news for over 134 years. It is owned, with several other local papers in English and Spanish, by TRONC, Inc. which is publicly traded on NASDAQ (TRNC).

    Le Monde
    Le Monde is a French daily afternoon newspaper continuously published in Paris since its 1944. Most journalists are tenured and have a financial stake and participate in the elections of upper management and senior executives. In 2010 investors Matthieu Pigasse, Pierre Bergé, and Xavier Niel acquired a controlling stake in the newspaper.

    The New York Times
    The New York Times (NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by The New York Times Company. The New York Times is owned by The New York Times Company. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., the Publisher and the Chairman of the Board, is a member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family that has controlled the paper since 1896
    Reuters is the news and media division of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available
    Reuters is an international news agency though its headquarters are in London's Cannery Wharf. There are some odd indications that editorial policy may take precedence over journalism; see this. They are very often the first to post, especially news in an international context.

    The Wall Street Journal
    The WSJ focusses on business news. Although headquartered in New York, the Journal also has Asian and European editions. WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

    The Washington Post
    The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.. The Post was founded on December 6, 1877. In 2013, the Graham family sold The Post to Jeff Bezos ( The newspaper is owned by Nash Holdings LLC, a holding company Bezos created for the acquisition.
    Last edited by AW Admin; 02-20-2017 at 08:23 AM.

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    Broadcast News

    Please feel free to suggest additions.

    Broadcast News

    Australian Broadcasting Corporation
    The ABC is Australia's state-owned and funded national public broadcaster, with Radio, TV and Web coverage. While the ABC is funded via the Australian government (from taxes, etc.) the ABC remains editorially independent because of the the 1983 Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act.

    British Broadcasting Corporation
    The BBC was established under a Royal Charter and operates via an Agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. It includes radio, TV and Web entities, and is funded by the annual television license fee charged all British households, companies, and organizations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts. BBC World News is international in scope; see also the variety of languages in which the BBC broadcasts and posts.

    Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    Société Radio-Canada) | CBC/Radio-Canada is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster.

    National Public Radio (NPR, but more often per the logo npr)
    NPR delivers breaking national and world news. Also top stories from business, politics, health, science, technology, music, arts and culture.
    NPR is now an American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations all over the U.S.; many of them on college campuses.
    Last edited by AW Admin; 12-12-2016 at 06:58 AM.

  6. #6
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    Discussion Forums

    Discussion Forums and Political Debate Communities

    The Colline Gate
    "Thoughtful political discussion"—this is a politics discussion community created by a group of writers with a keen interest in politics, philosophy and current events.

    Little Green Footballs
    For 15 years Little Green Footballs has been a leading source of unique stories and opinion about news, politics, art, culture and music, as well as a host for one of the best commenting communities on the web, wonderfully free of the trolls and haters that plague most comment sections.

  7. #7
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    Other Resources

    The Newseum, headquartered in Washington, D.C., promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.
    The Newseum site features rotating updated displays of front pages of newspapers from all over the world.

    PolitiFact is a fact-checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. PolitiFact is run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, an independent newspaper in Florida, as is PunditFact, a site devoted to fact-checking pundits. The PolitiFact state sites are run by news organizations that have partnered with the Times. The state sites and PunditFact follow the same principles as the national site.
    Politifact won a Pulitzer in 2009. Look in the Editions menu on the far left, top, to filter by area/state.
    The website was founded by David Mikkelson, who lives and works in the Los Angeles area. What he began in 1995 as an expression of his interest in researching urban legends has since grown into what is widely regarded by folklorists, journalists, and laypersons alike as one of the World Wide Web's essential resources. is a good resource in terms of weeding out rumor, urban legend, and parody from actual news.


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