How To Get Reliable Information & News

A discussion piece by Valley Lizard

Disclaimer: I am only studying journalism and therefore not an expert. This blog post is simply about what I’ve learnt so far.

We, especially during this time of crisis, need reliable news and accurate information. Unfortunately, like the whole history of news media, there is also misinformation.

I often write about niche interests which have a lot of misconceptions surrounding them. One of them is Harajuku fashion, in particular lolita fashion. I’m in the process of creating several blog posts and a YouTube video/s for my channel addressing myths about lolita fashion. I am NOT an expert in lolita fashion, but using what I’ve learnt at university about journalism I can share the expertise of others. The vital role journalists should fulfil in society is to spread accurate information about topics in the name of public interest (which is different to what the public is interested in).

One way ordinary people can emulate journalists when searching for accurate information is to ask an expert. When if comes to Harajuku fashion if you’re in Melbourne you can’t just pop down to Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan and ask someone. The next best thing is to ask someone who enjoys wearing Harajuku fashion.

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At the first ever Harajuku Fashion Walk I ever attended. One woman came up to Rosie Roulette, who was holding the Harajuku Fashion Walk sign, and did the most wonderful polite thing. She asked politely what was going on and wanted to know more about “Harajuku fashion”. When we need accurate information it’s always best to go to the original source of our curiousity- or the closest thing to the original source.

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As consumers of news we need to be aware of where we’re getting our news from and who is writing and researching our news.

We consume news through:

  • social media
  • websites
  • youtube
  • newspapers
  • tv
  • radio
  • word of mouth
  • observing it in action
  • creating it
  • reviewing it
  • ads

In Japan you may hear the latest Kyary Pamyu Pamyu song on a TV commercial. That would count as entertainment news. There are countless ways to discover news. The problem of bias and/or misinformation comes into play when our news consumption is limited. For example if your only source of news is Buzzfeed News on Facebook you’re probably not getting a wide variety of news and/or opinions about the news. If you read Buzzfeed News, listen to local radio news, watch the 6pm news and read Twitter you’re getting a much better idea of what’s happening in the world.

Basically never purely rely on one news source. Media watch is a good example of how every news outlet makes mistakes. We are human, therefore even journalists make mistakes.

If the media was run by a race of robots or cyborgs which could be programmed to produce perfectly accurate and ethical media content, maybe it would be perfect. It would lack the the human element of understanding and compassion which engages audiences.

Countries, organisations, companies etc. create their own ethical media standards to combat and provide a reference or guide for media professionals to follow. These ethical standards are often different from culture to culture. Media laws and ethics are also different in democracies compared to authoritarian governments. There are some worldwide ethical standards and common human ideals in journalism.

What we as consumers of news can do to avoid being mislead when journalists make mistakes is to make sure we do our own fact checking by comparing multiple news sources. This may sound hard, but it’s as easy as changing the radio station every once and a while or TV station. Different news companies often have a slightly different biased, so even if you listen to local radio and watch ABC news on TV while following a variety of news media on social media you are less likely to be mislead than someone who only watches or listens to one channel.

 

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