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ANTH 12A - Peace & Violence

This guide was created for Dr. Oakley's ANTH 12A course, Spring 2022

In the News

Recently you completed the "In the News" assignment in this class and you should have your articles from that.

Take a couple moments to locate the articles you identified for that activity on Friday. We're going to use them for this next part.

Activity #1:

In column #1, post a link or PDF to your favorite article out of all the articles you identified in your "In the News" assignment. By favorite, that means the most interesting and the most thorough.

This article should represent a topic about which you want to find out more.

Activity #2:

In column #2, describe how trustworthy you think this news article is. Answer the questions: What is its bias, and how local/regional is it?


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Criteria for Evaluating News Sources

News Sources

News sources can be great for finding out about current events because the publishing pipeline is rapid compared to to academic articles--the sooner a journalist can get their piece published, the more accurate and timely it is. Every journalist wants to be the one to break the story. However, only a select few individuals are verifying the information contained in the news article, and the publication process is different from an article published in an academic journal, which usually relies on a panel of peer reviewers to verify the accuracy of the information, rather than an editor and (maybe) a fact checker, as is the case with most news sources.

You might have hit several paywalls when searching for news articles for the "In the News" assignment if you didn't use the library's subscriptions. Below you will find links and instructions to accessing the news through the library, which eliminates those paywalls. You can use the library's New York Times subscription with the NYTimes app; same thing goes for the Wall Street Journal.

News sources also work well as primary sources, in the event you are researching a historical event and need sources created at the same time as the event took place.

Fake News | Completely fabricated information; old news repackaged to look new; images altered to misrepresent reality; or stories that spin bits of real news into distorted or shocking claims. Fake news is intentionally deceitful, often in order to lure traffic, make quick money for the publisher, trick readers/viewers (a hoax), or deceive people for political agenda. Satire may be fake, but it’s not as mean.

Media Bias | Information that is unfair, unbalanced or incomplete in its discussion of an issue. BIased media often lacks context and diversity, and relies on stereotypes, loaded imagery, easy explanations or highly partisan influence. Bias can occur on purpose or because the creator simply didn’t seek out balanced sources, ask deep questions, do good research or provide enough context.

Editorial Perspective | Every reporter, editor or publisher has a point of view. When the point of view is transparent to the reader/viewer, it can help us understand where the creator is coming from, and to evaluate (on our own) whether we agree and what perspectives might be missing. When the perspective is hidden or the reporter denies their bias, then news quality suffers. This is why it’s important to think critically about everything we read, watch and listen to.

- Oakland Public Library

Get Started:

  • Who is the author, producer or publisher? What kind of website is it? Look at the URL for clues.
  • What kind of content is it? (News, Opinion, Satire, Advertising, Advocacy for a cause)
  • What is the date?

Is it Fake? Ask:

  • Does the content match the headline?
  • Does it seem too good or too outrageous to be true?
  • Do the images seem altered or mismatched with the content?
  • Does the story include facts or other evidence?
  • Does the story name sources for the facts? If so, who are they and why should you believe them?
  • Does the article/story seem to be selling something?

Is it Biased? Ask all of the above questions, plus:

  • Are there stereotypes?
  • Is there a lack of context? (For instance, naming a problem without exploring its causes)
  • Is there unfair blame placed on one person, group or cause?
  • Is the language or imagery loaded or sensational?
  • Does the article include diverse experts or sources (for example, both those who study/work on an issue and those who are impacted by the issue)?
  • Does it uphold journalism standards and ethics?

- Oakland Public Library