News is information of some public interest that is shared and subject to a journalistic process of verification, and for which an independent individual or organization is directly accountable.
Reliable news sources show attributes that are represented by the acronym IMVAIN.
Accountable sources sign their stories and take personal responsibility for the content.
Articles should have bylines (the names of the authors). An individual or group of individuals take personal and professional responsibility of the article content, the accuracy of the information in the article. Lack of a byline is a red flag indicating suspect content.
Click on the byline if it's linked. Where does it lead?
Google the author names. Is there a LinkedIn profile? some other form of biographical information? What has the author done in the past? Does the author's background and experience qualify her or him to write on the article topic?
Accountable Sources have an explicit editorial policy and follow a code of ethics or professional standards.
Check the news source you are using for an explicit Editorial Policy.
Does it follow a Code of Ethics?
Be wary of sources that lack an explicit and prominent editorial policy or statement of ethical standards.
American Society of News Editors (ASNE) links to individual news sources codes of ethics and newsroom practice. Three examples:
Los Angeles Times Ethics Guidelines
Hearst Newspapers: Statement of Professional Principles
Wall Street Journal: Policies for Employeess[sic] of the News Departments of The Wall Street Journal, Newswires and MarketWatch
Accountable sources issue corrections for the errors and inaccuracies they subsequently discover in their reporting.
The content on this page is adapted from Center for News Literacy, Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Lesson 8: Source Evaluation and the Lesson 5 outline from their Course Pack for Spring 2017.