Determining authority when researching

The Patriot news published a story about the errors in reporting the death of JoePa, and the resignation of journalists responsible for the erroneous stories.

Besides reminding journalists to fact check before reporting, instead of just copying and pasting, this also has implications for research. In this world of immediate online information, it is no longer enough to see a story from one reputable source and trust that is it accurate. It could simply be another copy/paste that did not go through proper editorial review. In addition to looking at the source of the information, which is always a good practice, try to verify the information from several reputable sources.

That evening, I first heard the reports of Paterno’s death from facebook. I linked through and saw the report on cbssports – a reputable source. However, before posting myself, I then went to CNN and was surprised that it was not reported yet on CNN. As the minutes went by without updates, I started to doubt the first story. Sure enough, cbssports soon issued a retraction.

It is tempting to take one source and run, especially in our fast-pace environment. But take a few more minutes to verify from other reliable sources, and your research will be even better!

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