How to choose your news – Damon Brown

How to choose your news – Damon Brown

How do you know what’s happening in your world? The amount of information just a click away may be limitless, but the time and energy we have to absorb and evaluate it is not. All the information in the world won’t be very useful unless you know how to read the news. To your grandparents, parents, or even older siblings, this idea would have sounded strange. Only a few decades ago, news was broad-based. Your choices were limited to a couple of general interest magazines and newspaper of record, and three or four TV networks where trusted newscasters delivered the day’s news at the same reliable time every evening. But the problems with this system soon became apparent as mass media spread. While it was known that authoritarian countries controlled and censored information, a series of scandals showed that democratic governments were also misleading the public, often with media cooperation. Revelations of covert wars, secret assassinations, and political corruption undermined public faith in official narratives presented by mainstream sources. This breakdown of trust in media gatekeepers lead to alternative newspapers, radio shows, and cable news competing with the major outlets and covering events from various perspectives. More recently, the Internet has multiplied the amount of information and viewpoints, with social media, blogs, and online video turning every citizen into a potential reporter. But if everyone is a reporter, nobody is, and different sources may disagree, not only opinions, but on the facts themselves. So how do you get the truth, or something close? One of the best ways is to get the original news unfiltered by middlemen. Instead of articles interpreting a scientific study or a politician’s speech, you can often find the actual material and judge for yourself. For current events, follow reporters on social media. During major events, such as the Arab Spring or the Ukrainian protests, newscasters and bloggers have posted updates and recordings from the midst of the chaos. Though many of these later appear in articles or broadcasts, keep in mind that these polished versions often combine the voice of the person who was there with the input of editors who weren’t. At the same time, the more chaotic the story, the less you should try to follow it in real time. In events like terrorist attacks and natural disasters, today’s media attempts continuous coverage even when no reliable new information is available, sometimes leading to incorrect information or false accusations of innocent people. It’s easy to be anxious in such events, but try checking for the latest information at several points in the day, rather than every few minutes, allowing time for complete details to emerge and false reports to be refuted. While good journalism aims for objectivity, media bias is often unavoidable. When you can’t get the direct story, read coverage in multiple outlets which employ different reporters and interview different experts. Tuning in to various sources and noting the differences lets you put the pieces together for a more complete picture. It’s also crucial to separate fact from opinion. Words like think, likely, or probably mean that the outlet is being careful or, worse, taking a guess. And watch out for reports that rely on anonymous sources. These could be people who have little connection to the story, or have an interest in influencing coverage, their anonymity making them unaccountable for the information they provide. Finally, and most importantly, try to verify news before spreading it. While social media has enabled the truth to reach us faster, it’s also allowed rumors to spread before they can be verified and falsehoods to survive long after they’ve been refuted. So, before you share that unbelievable or outrageous news item, do a web search to find any additional information or context you might have missed and what others are saying about it. Today, we are more free than ever from the old media gatekeepers who used to control the flow of information. But with freedom comes responsibility: the responsibility to curate our own experience and ensure that this flow does not become a flood, leaving us less informed than before we took the plunge.

100 thoughts on “How to choose your news – Damon Brown

  1. Russians should watch it, cause I'm tired of hearing what happening in my country (Ukraine) from them! the level of propaganda there is staggering, it's like they live in parallel world!

  2. and remember BE SKEPTIC! for an introduction to his watch skeptoid Bryan Dunnin's Here be dragons online! Keep questioning and keep learning!

  3. Its hard to find any objective news sources. Listen to any source long enough and the left/right comes out.  Seems like there is no one objective source out there

  4. Watch Canadian News they aren't allowed by law to lie on a news broadcast. Ever wonder why Canada has no Fox News?

  5. Its gotten really bad now where most people choose the network or station that confirms their prejudices and biases.  Conservatives, tea-partiers and older, retired  folks follow Fox News and Rush Limbaugh; Liberals follow MSNBC; the younger set tune in to The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert and VICE; those who need international news follow CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera.  Investors and traders follow CNBC; and more and more are trying to just get the headlines from Google News and then drill down from there.  Its difficult to get the facts because each group will have their own "experts" who will present their own versions or interpretation of facts and stats.  Unfortunately, groups with the most $$$ usually win since they have lobbyists, institutions and "think-tanks" to present findings beneficial to them as you can very easily lie with statistics.  Just look at the number of new groups and institutes created directly or indirectly by just one source – the Koch brothers – with neutral sounding names like Americans for Prosperity.  It is OK to have differing opinions.  However, it is NOT OK if the viewers are constantly and persistently riled or whipped into anger listening to complaints and angry rants from opinionated anchors almost every single day.  Anger then turns to hatred and hatred will inevitably result in evil.

  6. Fox news is the most accurate and totally not biased at all, 100% fair and fact.
    sarcasm cough*cough

  7. Or in Christchurch's earthquake, after an aftershock, Australia media presented news coverage from the original earthquake for the aftershock

  8. False! In 1983 90% of American media was owned by 50+ companies. In 2011 that same 90% is owned by 6 companies. GE, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Lets also not forget about Google manipulating search results and YouTube!

  9. Sorry, but pretending that getting the "direct" story or the "real facts" is to go to twitters and bloggs belonging to people who are "there" is to fail completely at understanding that there are no facts and there is no "true" or "direct" story. You are just decreasing the amount of middlemen, but it doesn't mean that the editing or the interpretation and/or agency of the one or two left is any less important. The point of reading (as broad process, not as in text-reading) "good" news is in understanding the process by which they are selected, researched, eported, edited and broadcastes to you; it is understanding what are the agendas behind media channels and how they might transpire into how they present information. There isn't such thing as a neutral reporter or a "clean" channel of information. YOU need to become an intelligent and informed reader.

  10. Though all media is without blame.. I commend Fox News for standing up against the government. Nothing's worse then News Media being in bed with the Government like nbc… no matter if it's run by red or blue.

  11. I've found that the best source: credible, verifiable, critiqued news is from crowd source news usually submitted my members. Examples of these are some subreddits and slashdot.  These sources are updated waaay more frequently than television network news and biases are caught or called out.  Also you don't ever want to be factually wrong on those sites, nothing is as demoralizing like being told how stupid you are by 10,000 people.
    American news are really opinion sources where arguments are won by loudest, most obnoxious participant. 

  12. Unfortunately, the 4th estate has eschewed their responsibilities and we now need tutorials like this to illustrate how to read the news…frankly, this lesson touches on-but comes no where close to- demonstrating the very real and very urgent need for those who care to be accurately informed and knowledgeable when trying to sieve through the filler, rubbish and op-innuendo that now permeates the global media.  Shame on them, shame on them all–it's easy to blame those like Rupert Murdoch for being allowed to own (read:control) so many outlets, it is easy or natural to blame the government(s) or it's(their) elected officials (amongst whom, their complicity in this farce pales in comparison to the very serious crimes that so many currently stand accused of) for the sorry state of matters, when, at the end of the day–the responsibility ultimately falls upon WE, the people to sort through the mess and decide what is real and what is propaganda.  I for one fear that the overwhelming majority of us fall short in every single applicable category relevant to this issue, myself especially included.


  13. 90% of all media (tv channels, radio, internet, newspaper, magazine) in the US is owned by 4 individuals. Once you find out what they have in common then you will realize that all of the media in the US is extremely biased.

  14. This video focuses on validating the sources rather than finding and choosing relevant news that would be useful and informative to us. Two of the problems I have now, and I believe lots of people have too, are not having enough time to go through every kind of media and choosing the news that is relevant to us (of course there's also validating the news). My point is, nowadays, there's just too much "news" and information everywhere that you don't know where to start let alone validating them. Moreover, a lot of news is so overly broadcasted that other seemingly "uninteresting" news that has nothing to do with wars or economic crisis gets quietly silenced. So my question is how can you find or identify relevant and useful information using the least minimal time? Also any suggestions for good bloggers, twitters, broadcasters, or anyone else to follow?

  15. There's a fantastic book that details exactly why there's less "journalism" in what used to be news, with spin doctors, public relations firms, politicians, and the like having a bigger effect than actual journalists.  Flat Earth News by Nick Davies.

  16. I'm pretty sure everybody has been doing this. I'll be damned if I don't Google an interesting story after seeing it on one outlet!

  17. lol they are trying to make the world a better place i love their naivete. best of luck but it has to fall before you can rebuild 

  18. Can anyone else not finish watching this video because the narrator creates the most annoying sound with his letter s??

  19. Bias plus bias does not equal accuracy. Watching Fox News followed by MSNBC will only succeed in getting the partisan-tainted news from both sides and confusion over which one to trust. 

    Personally, I would recommend Channel 4 News, which does amazingly nuanced and thoughtful reports, especially in their Unreported World series. It's a bit like watching Vice, but it feels slightly more authoritative. It is possibly a bit left-wing, but unlike most American news media opinion in kept to a bare minimum. They also give the most amazing interviews, the other day they had two Nigerians on to discuss Boko Haram and it felt as if the interview was actually producing information of substance as opposed to meaningless bickering. They also have moments of humour, like the interview arranged between Jon Snow (presenter) and Jon Snow (GoT)

    The BBC is also better than most American outlets, I've not been able to observe any consistent political bias. But sometimes it covers things badly (like Jimmy Savile). Having said all that, this post is probably meaningless if you're not British.

  20. wow you named Ukraine in the other side of the world and Venezuela some miles away not, indeed one must find more reliable data before liking something. 

  21. Good advice on how to supplement your news intake. Of course, I don't think that the "gatekeepers" they describe are entities to avoid, but knowing how to manage the endless pile of information we receive on a daily basis is still good to know.

  22. While all in this video may very well be true (and I believe it to be so, at even more levels than already implied), in no way should anything from the Fox (so-called) News Network, AKA the  "Faux News Network", be taken with anything less than the quasi-proverbial "ton of salt", prone as they are to provable bald-faced absurdist sensationalism as their stock-in-trade.

  23. Russia Today
    Drudge Report
    Al Jazeera
    Global Research

    These are just some of some good news to look at, though huffington and al jazeera can sometimes be jewish. But remember, there is nothing out there that is fully unbias. Question everything.

  24. Can people in the comment section stop turning every little thing into a feud? Honestly, this video is telling you to double check on information. Not "stop listening to liberals" or "democrats are liars" or whatever. Stop it!

    This is why I'm not a democrat, liberal, or a republican, or anything else. I'm a citizen. I listen to all news, I take in all opinions, THEN I THINK FOR MYSELF. You guys shouldn't be having arguments on what's true and what's not, you guys should be working together to find the truth.

    What happened to us? Everyone has become to selfish these days, we forgot about unity, and we constantly forget that we're ON THE SAME SIDE. As humans, we should all have one goal, that is to make the world a better place. The problem is the liberals are blaming the republicans, the democrats are blaming the liberals, the the republicans are blaming the democrats, in all honesty, everyone is to blame. Everyone is to blame for the wars in the Middle East, everyone is to blame for the Russia/Ukraine conflict, everyone is to blame for pollution, bullying, violence. I tell you why? Because we refuse to unite, we refuse to have one cause.

    Lets all take a moment of silence, think of the great people in the world. Think about Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Yasser Arafat, Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), think about Muhammed Ali. What do they all have in common? They all wanted to make the world a better place. They all were united with their people. And that is where greatness comes.

    99% of us are damn good people. That's good. But you can be more than that, most good people end up dying with their face in the dirt, but great people, they end up dying with their names on the hall of fame. 

    The only way to get there, is if we all unite. Make everybody around you feel like a somebody, work hard, pray, be dedicated, be nice, have fun, and remember, time flies, so don't waste it.

  25. A mind opening video for a majority of people in this world, sadly I would imagine that, 'that' majority is too busy watching mass media propaganda for them to step back and re-evaluate the situation in the modern world.
    Another problem is not just the source of the news and their accuracy, but also the fact that there is simply so much news coming from all corners of the world and its just impossible to keep up with all of it, and so one is forced to somehow find a way to filter what is important/interesting to them – but what exactly is the appropriate method for this, I'm still learning…
    And even after all of this, we may watch some news and analyse it, but the vast majority either can't or even more upsetting simply don't do anything about it! Either because they are just too ignorant or perhaps just don't know where to start in order to make any difference – in hopefully a positive direction… we're so uneducated…

  26. they're saying anonymity should be dismissed. the arab spring which they referenced moments before wouldn't have even happened without anonymity.

  27. What if you do not have the knowledge required to comprehend a primary source? Does that not mean that you are bound by translations from a middle man? Let's say that I want to learn about quantum mechanics. Opening up a textbook would be little help, as I do not have the background in basic physics that is required to understand the material. I would need to master the basics of physics first, before I can open up that quantum mechanics text book and get anything out of it. Now, this could be accomplished, but let's expand this to any topic that an individual could find themselves interested in within a given period of time. I am interested in countless subjects, but I do not have the time or energy to become an expert in all of them, or even a few of them. Thus, I, like everyone else, am bound to the interpretation of others.

  28. many news in facebook or in papers are wrong. persons, specially the politician and business man , use the social site or newspapers to success in the election or to cover the corruption

  29. 0:10 Gah! left handed mouse!!!

    (I'm not making fun of left handed people. I am one. it just really offsets me to see the mouse on that side.)

  30. sadly, many news outlets have no clue what to do when it comes to getting legitimate experts.

    ex. the video game industry

    and bozo that walks by and says they know something will be taken on their word and treated as an expert. Because the reporters, anchors, and other staff know nothing about the topic whatsoever.

  31. I noticed that TED-ED has an implicit propaganda against Iran, is it a subliminal message or what. In this video Iran-contra or Irangate as I am sure many people in the world have no idea it was an America scandal rather than Iran, or in Tsunami it highlighted that Iranian attacked Greece rather than it was a war between the 2 countries. it is not educational.

  32. When I read a story online. If they want to address me with this information. They must provide the Data, author, and scientific facts from a official report. When the scientist and researchers proves it. All the news on the Internet. Is 99% of all articles. The fact is wrong. If news agencies bring this information. And they are wrong. They should get high fines. And if it is continuous they do it. All licenses shall be revoked for the right to release "news" as a cooperation.

  33. Really important information in this video. I wish more people would take the headlines they read on outlets like facebook with a grain of salt

  34. if you want to spend time getting outraged about issues that don't affect you, hear unqualified analysts feed you misinformation or get so extremely political you alienate your friends… I suggest you read and watch the news a lot

  35. Hello, TED-Ed! Is it possible for you to post this on your Facebook page? So that when I share it, it will automatically play, and more friends of mine will be interested to watch it. I really hate fake news, and it seems to take over my country (Philippines) nowadays. Thanks in advance!

  36. I am sharing this video, because is is more revelavent in whats going on today with so much miss information. Please make an updated video on how to get the truth in 2018. It seems like we either get the far left view or the far right. Where is the middle view?

  37. I personally like The Economist, Reuters, Al Jazeera and Vox.
    I think that agenices like Washington Post, Fox, are biased and based on country interests.

  38. We direly need this video to spread in India. Please add Hindi subtitles. Our country has been hijacked by the misinformation mafia in complicit with the government.

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