Deciphering the Source
The world abounds with information and news media sources. Indeed, one can now receive updates from around the world in the matter of sixty seconds. Twenty-four hour cable news presents current events and opinions. Newspapers are struggling to keep up with news aggregate websites and other forms of electronic media. With so many options, a researcher must first ask him or herself what type of information they seek before they choose their source. When seeking out news and current events, the mainstream media outlets tend to be the most viable source of information. However, when delving into analysis and interpretation academic sources shine above the rest. Typically I find myself seeking out two types of information: current news events, and analysis. Current events and analysis differ in distinct ways. Whereas current events can be presented on a purely factual basis without any interpretation, an analysis of those events is necessarily slanted toward the theory or world view being used by the analyst. For example, a piece of news information may state that a factory explosion resulted in $1,000,000 property damage and the injury of five workers. The analysis of that event may conclude, based on the theory that capital expenditures effect outcomes, that the explosion occurred due to a lack of expenditures by the factory on maintenance and safety measures.
For current news events such as a hurricane, factory explosion, or the signing of a new law, the various mainstream media sources suffice. I find that for events for which there can be little dispute as to their occurrence, such as weather or legislative events, internet, radio, and television sources are typically accurate. However, when these sources venture into analysis and interpretation, they often lose credibility – especially when it comes to political events, which in today’s world can be just about any event. As such, when I seek analysis and interpretation outside of my...
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