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Journalism

Information for students in journalism & mass media classes.

Ethics

Accountable Journalism 
A collaborative project that aims to be the world’s largest collection of ethical codes of conduct and press organisations. The site is meant to be a resource, which explains global press ethics and regulation systems, and provides advice on ethical reporting and dealing with hate speech.

iMediaEthics
iMediaEthics is a not-for-profit, non-partisan news site that publishes the latest media ethics news and investigations into ethical lapses.

Fact Checking Sites

Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch 
A national, non-profit watchdog organization, founded in 1993, that investigates and exposes the undue influence of corporations and front groups on public policy, including PR campaigns, lobbying, and electioneering.

FactCheck.org 
A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.

Fact Checker: The Washington Post 
Focused on any statements by political figures and government officials–in the United States and abroad–that cry out for fact-checking.

OpenSecrets.org 
Federal campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis. Try searching for nutrition.

PolitiFact.com 
A project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partners to help you find the truth in politics.

SciCheck
Focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.

Snopes 
Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.

Media Bias

Even typically reliable sources, whether mainstream or alternative, corporate or nonprofit, rely on particular media frames to report stories and select stories based on different notions of newsworthiness. The best thing to do in our contemporary media environment is to read/watch/listen widely and often, and to be critical of the sources we share and engage with on social media.

Here are some websites that can help you identify media bias.

Confirmation Bias

What is 'Confirmation Bias'?

A psychological phenomenon that explains why people tend to seek out information that confirms their existing opinions and overlook or ignore information that refutes their beliefs. Confirmation bias occurs when people filter out potentially useful facts and opinions that don’t coincide with their preconceived notions. It affects perceptions and decision making in all aspects of our lives and can cause us to make less-than-optimal choices. Seeking out people and publications with different opinions than our own can help us overcome confirmation bias and make better-informed decisions

How do we avoid confirmation bias?

When conducting due diligence investigations, it’s essential to keep an open mind and consider all the possibilities. Follow these simple steps to make sure you avoid missing out on the full story:

  • Start early. When you’re under pressure and facing a short deadline, it’s hard to be objective. Make sure you start while there’s still time go through your full process or back out of any commitments.
  • No stakeholders. If you’re making the ultimate decisions, or if you have any stake in their outcomes, don’t execute the due diligence investigation. Outsource it, or send it to someone who won’t bring their biases to the table. Check with your library or research department for help or referrals.
  • Consult multiple sources. In addition to just one side of the story, your single source may contain errors. And when you gather and analyze information from multiple sources, you’ll start to see patterns, contradictions, and multiple sides to the story.
  • Verify your sources. Only use trusted sources, and, even then, ask questions. Where do they get their information? What are their biases, and how do they affect the accuracy of this info?
  • It’s OK to use sources you don’t agree with. This excellent article from Bob Berkman shows how to think critically about your sources, including those that you might, as Bob says, “dismiss as propaganda.”
  • Don’t stop at negative news. While they sometimes have their uses, tools and tricks for filtering out just the bad stuff will leave your investigation lacking. I’d hate to miss the good-news stories, like the one I recently read about our subject’s year-long, round-the-world yacht race. Something like that can tell you more about a person than the negative news.

Originally published by former librarian, Marcy Phelps, June 15, 2015

http://www.phelpsresearch.com/avoiding-confirmation-bias-in-investigations/
Read more: Confirmation Bias Definition |