05. Sources and fast-checking

There are many types of sources : news agencies, newspapers, press releases, other media, and everything going on on the Internet: blogs, social networks, pure players... To this list can be added a journalist's own sources : callers, witnesses, other journalists, the newsroom's archives…  You  must pick your sources wisely and most of all fact-check.

Double fact-checking is a basic rule for the BBC. No matter which powers are involved, a journalist can be manipulated or used as a marketing tool or for propaganda. If you’re using news you got from a newspaper, it HAS to be absolutely true. In no case can you read it as it is on air. You must also always name the newspaper.

How to find 100% valid information

Hard news

It’s what’s currently happening, has only just happened or is going to happen. It’s a recent fact unheard of yet. Every news must be evaluated taking into account the listeners’ point of view : how deeply will this event or that announcement affect them ?

Magazine news

It’s news that doesn’t necessarily focus on a precise event, but explains an issue, a situation. It can be developed at any time but it’s interesting for the audience because they don’t yet know about it and it affects them. For example, you can conduct an investigation on refugees living in a forest, erosion, embezzlement in a university… These are interesting stories that ask for some investigating.

How to choose which news to treat considering the massive amount of information you’re hit with?

Here are a few criteria :

Current news : news must be fresh. It holds little to no interest if the listener has already heard it elsewhere.

Geographical proximity : people are more interested in what’s happening in their city or their country than in faraway places.

Shared interest : people will eagerly listen to news that has an impact on them : costs of life, budgets, food prices, school prices… and also to human interest stories: fun facts, humor, suspense, tragedies, achievements, children stories, memories, overcoming obstacles…

Following an event up to its conclusion : it’s an obligation for a newsroom. You follow an event until it ends. Example: an electricity shortage. You must announce when it has been fixed and how. A possible epidemic: you must say if it ends up being confirmed or if it’s finally avoided.

How much does the information matter ? A major information has an impact on a lot of people. It changes their daily lives and influences it: an earthquake, a conflict, elections…