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How We Choose Articles

Quality of writing

DailySource is comprised of articles that are easy to comprehend and digest. The writing is clear, uncluttered and free of random, obtuse references. It is reporting at its best — accurate, clear and pleasant to read.

Accuracy and truth

We seek articles that have accurate information and are closest to the known truth. It is well known that oftentimes an article has glaring inaccuracies.  Other times articles fail to point out obvious key facts, leading to inaccuracy and misinformation.

Another reporting problem can be caused by politicians who put out incorrect information for the media. Often members of the media do not take the time to learn if their information is correct. Even when they know the information to be wrong, they do not take the time to find and include the correct information and to clarify that the politician (source) was wrong. In cases where the information may be unverifiable and/or undeniable, we look for articles that clearly state this.

Besides doing our own fact-checking, we also leverage the efforts of numerous other organizations such as factcheck.org and fair.org who already do work to publish correct information and uncover inaccurate information.

Context

Stories which on the surface seem correct many times are actually inaccurate when the full context is considered. Sometimes it is outright massaging of the numbers or lying with statistics.  In other instances it comes from laziness or simple lack of intelligence from reporters.

An example is the emphasis the press placed on the fact Saddam Hussein was a dictator prior to the U.S. starting the war in Iraq, and that he had committed significant atrocities against the Kurds.  In almost all cases, the press failed to point out that there are numerous dictators around the world supported by and allied with the U.S. and that some are worse than Saddam.  It also failed to point out that tens of thousands of people were dying from atrocities right at that time in nearby Sudan, and that most of Saddam’s atrocities had occurred over a dozen years earlier with the tacit support of the United States.

Given the correct context, readers would have been able to see that if the intention of the U.S. was to end large-scale atrocities, Sudan would have been the place in which to get involved. 

The same could be said for the context that North Korea was known for certain to have weapons of mass destruction, while it was uncertain at best whether Iraq truly had WMDs.  Almost every context of Iraq was missed by the press prior to the war.

Another example of this is demonstrated by a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine which stated that “Americans aged 80 and over can expect to live longer than octogenarians in other industrialized countries.”

The New York Times and other papers quickly reported this as great news.  Yet when the Duke University researcher who conducted this study, Dr. Kenneth G. Manton, was asked if he viewed the numbers as positively as the press did, he said he did not.

The reason the U.S. has the healthiest octogenarians, he said, is because that's where the country spends a large amount of its medical dollars. American octogenarians do well because 98.5 percent of all Americans 65 and older are covered by medical insurance, compared to only 80 to 85 percent of Americans under 65.

The U.S. spends more than double what other countries spend on health care, over 14 percent of GDP. Yet it ranks only 23rd among nations in total life expectancy because its infant mortality rates are surprisingly high (double the rates of Japan and Sweden), and it has higher death rates until middle age than other industrialized countries.

So the larger context of the news is that Americans on average can expect to die younger than people in the majority of other industrialized nations, and the amount of money spent on costly procedures and expensive drug therapies for octogenarians appears to be in part contributing to the problem.

Evaluation and analysis

Analysis matters. It provides a “cheat sheet” for readers to easily understand complex issues and to then formulate their personal positions. We want an educated public and readership that is able to intelligently discuss worldly matters.

By providing readers with thoughtful analysis and evaluation, we can help them synthesize large quantities of facts and information to grasp the core of complex situations.

Fairness and balance

We list both fairness and balance here, though we are more interested in fairness than balance because we think balance is over-rated. 

If you had been a newspaper editor in 1964, would you have tried to give equal credence to the racists attacking MLK, or given more attention to MLK?  Would you have strived to choose the most articulate arguments in favor of racist behavior in order to explain racist behavior convincingly?  Would you have given an equal amount of space to the justifications of their behavior? 

Choosing the level of balance given to any issue or topic is very much of a judgment call.  Ultimately, DailySource believes that going for truth, accuracy and fairness should be the key guide points.

Refraining from he said / she said reporting

He said / she said articles are exceedingly common. They can be spotted anytime you see a quote or assertion from one person, and a quote or assertion from a second person, with no evaluation or discussion of which statement is closest to being correct.

This type of presentation leaves the reader with opposing sides but with no idea who to believe. If one politician makes a heinous charge, he usually gains an advantage from it.  If that charge is then smooth talked over by a person with a stronger sound bite, the second person usually wins readers to his side.

The negative atmosphere that thrives in politics and elsewhere plus the media‚Äôs race to be first, contribute to this practice of publish first, consider second - if at all. DailySource aims to monitor information, attributions and accusations to minimize the "misinformers'” stature. We do not want to encourage the current state which elevates people who put out false information. We do not want reporting that repeats bickering to be the “norm.”

Presenting possible solutions and options for moving forward  

Even when a situation or story is negative, DailySource looks for articles that can offer varying perspectives, solutions and other information useful for moving forward. We also do our best to find stories of progress, hope and inspiration to provide examples of improvements in the world; we want to show more than only what is presently off-track.

What the topic is      

For the most part we focus on topics that promote the greater good of the world. Areas such as the environment, civil rights, poverty and economic justice, fairness, consumer protections, the health of  democracy in the U.S., the health of key economic institutions like the Federal Reserve and social security, science, spirituality, health, recreation, high-quality entertainment, music, humor, and others.

We focus less on entertainment industry gossip, regional fires, car crashes, murders, individual crime stories (like Elizabeth Smart or Laci Peterson), celebrity trials, celebrity businesspeople, televangelists and poor-quality entertainment.

How important the story is

What effect does the story have on your life or the country as a whole? How important is it for you to know about it?

How useful the story is

Will you be able to make some use of it in your personal or professional life?

This could for example, cover practical information such as tips on how to be more effective at public speaking, or how to save money on a daily expense.

How interesting the story is

Is it interesting, fascinating or amusing in some manner?  Does it spark your imagination somehow, make you think, or make you view things differently?

Finally      

We always take a combination of all the above factors into account when choosing stories, since no one story is ever ideal in terms of meeting every one of our criteria. 

For example, a story currently running on another site might be important, accurate and offer valuable analysis, yet might contain a typo or two. If the analysis and content make it a better story on the whole than stories other sites are running on the same topic, typos will be ignored in favor of superior quality. That story will be chosen to be included on our site.

Similarly, an article might be important but perhaps might not be as interesting to read. The article would be included on our site because one of our important functions is to keep people informed.  Other times we might include an article that is interesting, yet not particularly important or useful.

We aim to provide a mix of the important, useful and interesting, of the serious and lighthearted, and of the big picture and little details – all with the ultimate purpose of serving our readers and making the world a better place.

We want to enable our readers to improve their lives, to help our country and to better the world. 

More information

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