The words “fake news” have, unfortunately, become a big part of the American vernacular over the course of the last few years. It seems as though there is fake news everywhere these days, as people try to sift through what’s true and what’s not during the never-ending news cycle.
If you’re trying to keep a close eye on what’s going on in your general area, you should try to track down the best places to get access to local news. By figuring out how to get local news, you can ensure you’re always up-to-date on what’s happening in your city or town.
In theory, it might seem as though it would be simple enough to find neighborhood news. But it can be challenging at times when there is just so much news flying around out there in the world.
Here are 10 tips that should help you with regards to finding reliable local news in your community.
1. Start by Searching for Your Local News Sources
If you don’t consume a lot of local news right now, you might not even know where to begin to turn for it. It’s why you should start your search for reliable local news by seeing what your options are going to be.
You can do this by Googling something as simple as “local news.” This will bring up a long list of the different local news sources that are operating in your area at this time.
You might also want to make your search a little bit more specific if you’re interested in finding news on particular topics. For example, you might want to search for “Wicomico County public schools news” if you’re on the hunt for news about your child’s school district.
You don’t have to begin digging into your local news sources right away. But you should give yourself some idea of which ones exist so that you can look into them further later on.
2. Seek Recommendations for Your Local News Sources
Outside of conducting your own Google search to try and find reliable local news sources, you should also seek recommendations from those you trust. You should check in with family members, friends, neighbors, and others to see which local news sources they turn to when they want to get their hands on town information.
You might also want to turn to those in your community on social media to see what they have to say about your local news sources. They might be able to point you in the right direction when you’re in the market for news sources that cover your area.
You shouldn’t just take anyone’s word for it when they recommend news sources to you. You’re going to want to do some investigating on your own to see what different news sources are all about. But asking others for assistance will get your search off to a strong start.
3. See Who Owns Each of Your Local News Sources
You can tell a lot about local news sources based on who owns them. The owner of a local news source could very well have a rooting interest in what kinds of news is reported by the TV station or newspaper that they own. It could impact how the news is presented to you and those in your community.
With this in mind, you should try to see who owns the various news sources in your city or town. Ideally, you want a TV station or newspaper to have an owner that doesn’t have any say in what news is reported on their airwaves or on their front pages.
It might take you a little bit of time to find the rightful owners of different local news sources. But it’ll be well worth the effort that you put into it. It’ll help you rule out some of the unreliable news sources in your area.
4. Find Out Who Works at Your Local News Sources
In addition to seeing who owns the local news sources in your area, you’re going to want to take a good, long look at who actually works at them as well. Who are the newscasters or the reporters who work tirelessly to report the news on TV or in the newspaper?
In a perfect world, you want to see award-winning journalists providing the news through the sources that you turn to in order to find out what’s going on in your community. This will ensure that you’re getting factual news that you can count on as opposed to opinionated news that is slanted in one direction or another.
You can typically see who works at a TV station or newspaper by checking out their website. This will give you a glimpse of who is working behind-the-scenes to bring you the news each and every day.
5. Watch and Read Your Local News Sources
You can do all the research that you want to do on local news sources. But at the end of the day, the only surefire way to see what they have to bring to the table is by watching and reading them.
You should spend a week or two watching your local news TV station or reading through your local newspaper to find out what kind of news they report. You might be able to tell within just a few minutes whether or not you trust the different news sources to provide you with reliable local news.
But you should really give each of your local news sources a chance and see what they have to offer. The last thing you want to do is pass judgment on a news source before you’ve given them an opportunity to prove themselves.
6. Fact-Check Your Local News Sources
One of the ways in which you can see if a local news source is legitimate or not is by fact-checking them when you’re watching or reading a news piece from them. You should take some of the facts that they lay out for you and research them to see if a news source is giving you the whole truth.
You might be able to find factual evidence elsewhere that disproves what some local news sources have to say. If you do, then you’ll be justified in raising an eyebrow at a local news source and staying away from their news coverage.
Just make sure that the evidence you use against a local news source is true in and of itself. You don’t want to dock a news source points based on “fake news” that you find on the internet.
7. Compare and Contrast Your Local News Sources
How do the different local news sources in your area cover the same story? Finding out the answer to that question is one of the best ways to separate the reliable news sources from the not-so-reliable ones.
You should pick a big story that’s going on in your area right now at this very moment and see what all of the different TV stations and newspapers are doing to cover it. Chances are, you’re going to find that they’re each covering the news that’s happening a little bit differently.
Some might be devoting all of their resources to covering this particular news story. They might be trying to find lots of different angles to get at the story from various perspectives.
Others might not be spending much time at all finding innovative ways to cover the story. They might be doing little more than curating the news reported by other news outlets.
The most reliable local news sources are going to be the ones that fall into the first category in most cases. They’re going to be the ones that you should turn to early and often for information on the latest neighborhood news.
8. Spend Time Following Your Local News Sources
It’s going to be difficult for you to say that a local news source is reliable or not reliable after just a few days, weeks, or even months. You really need to spend time getting to know your local news sources inside and out before you start separating the good ones from the bad ones.
That being said, you should be prepared to follow your local news sources for at least a few months prior to passing any judgment on them. This should provide you with more than enough time to educate yourself about the news sources so that you can decide which one is the most reliable to you.
Don’t be in any rush to choose one local news source over all the others. That could very well lead to you picking the wrong news source and relying on them to provide you with the news when they’re not necessarily up for the challenge.
9. Keep an Open Mind With Your Local News Sources
When you first start searching for reliable local news sources, some of your family members, friends, and neighbors might tell you to stay away from one in particular. Or you yourself might spend a couple of days checking out a local news source and feel like they’re not a good fit for you.
There is something to be said for trusting your instincts in cases like this. But there is also something to be said for keeping an open mind and not ruling out news sources on the spot. You could miss out on the chance to find a reliable local news source when you do this.
Generally speaking, being a more open-minded person in all areas of your life is going to benefit you in so many ways. But it’ll really benefit you when you’re on the hunt for news sources in your area that you can trust.
You’ll give yourself so many more options than you would have otherwise when you keep an open mind when trying to track down local news sources. You might be surprised by which sources you come to rely on after opening your mind up to the possibilities.
10. Continue to Assess Your Local News Sources
The media industry is just about always changing. There are always reporters, editors, newscasters, and others within the industry who are moving around and finding new jobs at new outlets.
As a result of this, you shouldn’t ever just latch onto one singular local news source and rely on them to provide you with news for the rest of your life. Instead, you should get into the habit of assessing your news sources to ensure that they’re still meeting your needs year after year.
Every so often, you should take a step back and assess the local news sources that you rely on to provide you with the news. You should fact-check their work, compare them to other news outlets, and give them a grade as far as how they’re doing.
You might find that a local news source you once trusted is no longer doing such a good job. It might benefit you in a big way to leave them in the dust and find a new source of neighborhood information.
Whatever you do, don’t fall so in love with a specific local news source that you feel as though they can do no wrong. This could put you into a position where you’re trusting an outlet to provide you with news when they shouldn’t be trusted.
You Can Find Reliable News Sources If You Look Hard Enough for Them
The “fake news” phenomenon has caused some people to lose their trust in the media. But you should know that there are still a lot of reliable local news sources out there. You just need to be willing to look for them.
Utilize the 10 tips that we’ve provided for you here to find a news source or, better yet, multiple news sources that you know you can count on. It’ll help you keep tabs on what’s happening in your city or town at all times.
Find more articles on educating yourself about what’s going on in your community by browsing through the rest of our blog.