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The 10 Most Trustworthy & Authoritative News Sources

I talk to my political science students quite often about accessing credible news sources, not only for their research, but also for their casual consumption. College students generally rely on peer-reviewed journals for their research, but in discussing current events they often have to access reliable journalistic sources. For instance, if a student is writing about climate change they would cite peer-reviewed articles to discuss the science and a newspaper or news magazine to discuss how a specific politician responded to a recent climate change study.

Many professors provide students with a list of acceptable news sites and the ones below are on most lists because they are generally free of political bias and have a long track record of excellence. Moreover, they strive to meet and surpass the nine core principles of journalism, adopted by the American Press Association, and are highly rated as trustworthy.

The ten below are in no particular order.

1. The Conversation: This may be a source that you are not familiar with, but you should be. The Conversation is a non-profit organization that publishes articles written by academics about current public policy issues. The authors are professors that teach classes or conduct research concerning the issue they are addressing in their article. Thus, there are few news sources that can match the academic rigor of the Conversation. But never fear, the authors write their articles understanding they will be read by a non-academic audience, unfamiliar with the jargon of their field of study.

  • The Conversation now has multiple editions serving various nations, regions and the global community.

2. The New York Times: The Times is the gold standard for journalism and the most influential newspaper in the world. Since it was founded in 1851 it has collected more Pulitzer Prizes than any other news organization, and has correspondents across the globe. It does have a progressive bent, but it's scrupulous about providing its readers with all sides to a story. The Times is also one of the top five most trusted news sources globally, according to a recent survey.

  • The Times now has more than 6 million digital subscribers, more than any other news organization in the world.

3. The Economist: The Economist was first published in 1843 and now has an influential readership of prominent business leaders and policy-makers. While it has a reputation of being progressive on social and cultural issues and free market conservative on economic matters, most would agree that there are few other publications that can match its integrity and dedication to accuracy. Its reporting on European issues is especially strong. A 2017 study at the University of Missouri found the Economist to be the most trusted news source in America.

  • The Economist is probably the most pro-immigration and free market publication on the list, so I expect that former Pres. Trump is not a subscriber.

4. The Wire Services, Associated Press, Reuters, and United Press International: The wire services provide content to newspapers, radio stations, and television networks. They are a valuable resource for local and regional news organizations that can't afford to have reporters across the nation or globe. Because they serve many news outlets with varying political perspectives, they rarely provide a great deal of context, analysis or commentary. Each of these organizations now has a web presence to provide news and information to the general public.

5. The BBC: Even with budget cuts, they still seem to have reporters in every corner of the planet and their international reporting is legendary. BBC World is the largest international broadcasting organization, offering content in 40 different languages across the globe. The BBC is another of the most trusted news sources globally, according to recent surveys.

  • The BBC is a partner in the international online streaming service Britbox which competes with Netflix and Hulu.

6. National Public Radio [NPR]: In many regions of the country there aren't many choices if you consume your news via the radio. So, thank god for NPR, the antidote to the nonsense peddled daily on talk radio. It was established by an act of Congress and receives some public funding, but has always been free from government censorship. Most of its member stations are owned by government entities [mainly state funded universities]. NPR is one of the top five most trusted news organizations in the country.

  • NPR's best known shows are Morning Edition and drive-time staple All Things Considered. Both are carried by most NPR stations, and are among the most popular and critically acclaimed radio programs in the nation.

7. The Washington Post: The Post was founded in 1877 and joined the top tier of America's newspapers on the strength of their Watergate reporting. They now have a global reputation for excellence and their stories are reprinted by local newspapers across America. The Post has won 69 Pulitzer Prizes and only the New York Times has a larger impact on what Americans are discussing.

  • In 2013, Amazon's Jeff Bezos purchased the Post for $250 million.

8. Foreign Affairs: Founded in 1922, Foreign Affairs is considered one of the America's most influential foreign policy magazines, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international relations.

  • The print magazine Foreign Affairs is currently published every two months, but the website publishes articles daily.

9. Journalist's Resource: Journalist's Resource is a project of Harvard's Kennedy School, Shorenstein Center that collects and summarizes peer-reviewed academic research on current public policy issues. It serves thousands of educators, journalists and bloggers across the country, providing them access to high quality academic studies concerning some of the nation's most pressing policy issues such as gun control, income inequality and immigration. It's also a great starting point for student research projects.

  • Journalist's Resource publishes most of their content under a Creative Commons license allowing anyone to republish it on their own website.

10. PBS: Founded in 1970, the Public Broadcasting Service is a non-profit programming distributor, partially funded by federal tax dollars. With award winning shows like News Hour, Frontline and Washington Week, Public Broadcasting has cemented itself as the premier television news source.

  • Most of PBS's content is in a video format, but you can also access transcripts of interviews from shows like News Hour on its website.

Honorary Mentions: For public polling and original research on culture, religion and politics, The Pew Research Center is superb. Others excellent sources: The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Smithsonian Magazine, for finance The Wall Street Journal, and for science The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and National Geographic.


By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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