Trust Indicators

In the modern media world, it can be difficult to tell whether a news outlet is trustworthy. Thankfully, we can use Trust Indicators to determine whether we can rely on these sources or not.

Arizona Mirror

I will be focusing on an article written by Gloria Gomez titled “Senate Republicans approve Mississippi-style abortion restrictions” for a more in-depth search into these Trust Indicators. 

Expertise/Journalist Information

Arizona Mirror includes descriptions and photos of some of their authors in a section on their “About” page.

This article in particular provides a link to a description of the author, Gloria Gomez, which includes information about her professional experience and background, including the other controversial articles she has written, along with a link to her Twitter account

Labels

The articles on this website have tags such as “elections” and “law & government”, but they do not have labels such as “news” and “opinion”, so I used context clues to figure out if these articles were opinionated.

This article was created as an informative piece, and it does not have a clear opinion. Throughout the post, Gomez uses words such as “argued” to illustrate the shift to a different viewpoint than the one previously mentioned. This article provides perspectives from both pro-life and pro-choice sides, which shows that it is not persuasive or opinionated. 

This post does not seem to be sponsored or intended to advertise, but the website does include a list of people and organizations they receive funding from, so they are being transparent. 

The purpose of this post is not clearly indicated, but it was relatively simple to figure it out.

References

Gomez provides several hyperlinks throughout the article, and the links provided are from reputable sources, including official government records, a peer-reviewed journal article, NBC News, and the New York Times. The NBC News and New York Times articles also provide further hyperlinked information. 

These sources are all very trustworthy, especially the record of the Senate Bill from Arizona’s official government website. This is a very controversial story, so it is important to understand not only the legal aspects of it, but the psychological and medical elements, as well, which Gomez does an exemplary job of. 

There are several other sources to back up these claims, including articles from NBC News and Kaiser Health News.

Local

All of the writers included on Arizona Mirror’sAbout” page live and work in Arizona, and they even have their own specialties and focus areas. This lets me know that they have extensive knowledge about the area they are writing about.

Gomez’s description tells me that she is a student at the University of Arizona and that she has interned at two Arizona-based journalism sites, so she is heavily involved in her community. 

This article does not indicate that the writer was “on the scene”, but it does state that one of the quotes was pulled from an email that was sent to the Arizona Mirror.

The story does not explain whether the news sources are local, but because this is a statewide issue, I do not think this applies to this particular article. There are other articles, however, on the Arizona Mirror website that are about local issues, and it is easy to determine the background of the author based on their description

Diverse Voices

Based on their “About” page, the Arizona Mirror seems to have three women of color included in their employee list, including a reporter specializing in Indigenous communities. They even have the topic of “Immigration” as one of the main subjects at the top of their page. 

While this website does include several controversial articles, there is not much information about their direct efforts to bring in diverse voices. They do adhere to the ethics guidelines of the Society of Professional Journalists, who have a clear devotion to diversity and inclusion, but the Arizona Mirror itself does not provide much information about their personal efforts.

SPJ’s Diversity page

As I stated previously, this news outlet does a great job of providing diverse viewpoints within their articles, including this article about disability protections and this one about water infrastructure within the Indigenous community. These articles are well-written and respectful to the communities they cover.

Actionable Feedback

There are no options on this article to comment, but you can share this article to social media platforms, email it to someone, copy and paste the link, print it, and even republish it. 

Most of the author descriptions include a link to their email address and their Twitter accounts, so it is easy to contact them. There are also links to the Arizona Mirror’s social media accounts and email address, and even a place where you can donate to them.

Methods

This article does not provide much information about how this article was created or how long it took. This bill was approved on February 15, and the article was published on February 18, which indicates this article took a few days to create. It also states that one of the quotes was pulled from an email sent to the Arizona Mirror, but not much else is known about the process of writing or editing this article, including any fact-checks. 

Best Practices

I quickly learned that this news outlet is very transparent about their ethics and who is funding them, especially as a nonprofit news organization.

They have pages dedicated to explaining their ethics policy and the privacy policy for their website. They state that they will work quickly to address and fix any corrections necessary, and that readers are welcome to email them with any concerns.

The descriptions for the authors provide sufficient information that could alert readers to possible conflicts of interest, if any.

Coconino News

I will be focusing on an article titled ”Page Student to become flight paramedic in future” for a more in depth search into these Trust Indicators.

Expertise/Journalist Information

Coconino News is an immediate red flag to me because the first article that I clicked on took me to an entirely different website with the same format.

Coconino News website

VERSUS

West Virginia Record article

In addition to this, their “About” page is only found at the bottom of the page and it does not provide any substantial information.

Immediately upon opening this article, I found that there is no individual author listed. The only information provided says “By Press release submission”, and when I click on that link, it takes me to a page with other articles “written” by that same source.

This article includes the original source included is from a Coconino Community College article, which also does not provide an author. The Coconino News article was taken word-for-word from the college website.

Labels

This article is clearly informative, but it does not provide much information. There is nothing in this story that is persuasive or opinionated, except for the fact that it seems like an inspirational post. 

The only advertisement shown in this article is in the original source, which includes a link to the Coconino Community College program mentioned in the story.

References

There is only one source provided and it is from Coconino Community College. The article on Coconino News is a direct copy of the article on the college website.

Coconino News article

VERSUS

Coconino Community College article

This is not at all an in-depth or controversial story, and there are no sources to back up the claims, other than the original article, which also does not include any sources. I was not able to find any other source to back up these claims.

Local

This report was ripped directly from the college website, so it is clear that there was no in-depth local reporting done by Coconino News. There is no journalist mentioned so there is no way of finding out who wrote this article or how. This story lets me know that the student is local, but I have to go to the original source to find out more about the college itself.

Coconino News claims to be dedicated to local news, but their level of reporting does not reflect that. They also claim to “provide 100% original reporting” and this is just a blatant lie.

Diverse Voices

Based on their website, it looks like Coconino News does not do much of their own reporting, so I am not convinced that they are concerned about creating a diverse newsroom. Their “About” page claims that they provide a platform for all citizens whose views on issues are rarely heard”, but there is no further detail.

Their more controversial articles, including this story about critical race theory, does not provide enough information about the journalist who wrote it, the communities affected by this, or what the different perspectives are.

Actionable Feedback

There are no options available to comment on the story, but you can contact their Facebook page or their email account.

Coconino News encourages people to send their “news releases, tips, and comments” to the email address provided.

The lack of journalist names available makes it difficult to contact writers directly to provide feedback. 

There is no option to share this article, so I cannot directly link the article to provide feedback on it unless I copy and paste the link on my own.

Methods

Due to the lack of author information, it is virtually impossible to determine how this article was made or who was involved in it. The original source was published on February 10, and the date provided in the Coconino News article shows that it was published on their site on February 16. It is difficult to figure out why this took so long for them to post.

Best Practices

There is not much information provided about their ethics or rules. Their “About” page claims that they “provide objective, data-driven information without political bias”, but it is difficult to determine whether this is enforced or not.

There is a section named “Ethics” at the top of their page, but it only takes me to a bunch of articles about weekly mass times in the area, which is not at all what I was expecting.

Coconino News publishes their news under a licensing deal with Metric Media News. The only information about this company that is provided on their website states that it is a “non-profit news content provider”, so I decided to do some more research. After looking this organization up, I learned that Metric Media News runs more than 1,200 local news sites, which indicated to me that Coconino News is not a reliable source (in case I could not already tell).

Evaluation

Arizona Mirror

Overall, it was very easy to find evidence of all eight indicators, especially the “journalist info”, “references”, and “best practices” indicators. There were a few authors that did not have a description or photo attached to their article, but most of them did. While I found a great amount of information for the “diverse voices” and “methods” indicators, I would have liked to know more about them. 

Due to the fact that this website includes articles about several controversial issues, it would be nice to know more about their diversity and inclusion efforts. They mentioned that they used outsourced ethical guidelines, but I could not find their own personal diversity efforts stated anywhere. Several of their authors are from diverse backgrounds, and they cover several diverse topics, which I really appreciate, but I need to know more about how the executives handle diversity within the newsroom.

I would give this source 9/10 stars. While it is a very reliable source that includes relevant links, reputable and trustworthy journalists, and is very open, honest, and transparent, I did notice a few errors here and there. As I stated previously there were some authors that did not have an attached description or photo, so I could not tell if they were trustworthy or not.

The abundant presence of these indicators leads me to trust this website, and they do a great job of establishing that trust. I felt like I could rely on these authors, and I was given further information via hyperlinks if I wanted to know more or confirm their claims. 

The main aspect of this website that I loved is how organized it is. I was able to find exactly what I was looking for, and their “About” section provides plenty of information about their mission, ethics, funding, and more.

If I lived in Arizona, I would definitely be using this source for information. This is by far one of the most transparent local news sources I have ever read, and I loved the fact that they tackled controversial topics in a very respectful and relatively objective way. I do not think that this is a perfect source, but it is definitely trustworthy and I would highly recommend using it if you are in the area.

Coconino News

This entire website is a major red flag. I was unable to find sufficient evidence for all eight indicators. The main indicators missing are “journalist info”, “labels”, “diverse voices”, “methods”, and “best practices”. 

The lack of indicators makes me extremely hesitant to trust this website. The indicators that are present do not help me trust this site because they are extremely insufficient. 

Coconino News needs to implement major changes, such as including journalist names and writing their own original reports, if they want to gain any trust. I would never recommend this website to anybody. 

The fact that this website is not only owned by a non-local media company is very concerning, but I am also concerned about the fact that this website initially looks like a legit news source. The homepage includes a title, today’s date, different sections, trending articles, a menu, a search option, and options to donate or join their newsletter. These all seem like perfectly reasonable and normal elements to include on a news outlet homepage, so I did not think much of it at first. 

One I clicked on the link to the biggest article shown, however, I quickly found that this website was not legit and it was was most likely not a legit site. I am glad that I realized this quickly, but it might be more difficult for people who do not have much knowledge about media literacy.

I have realized that websites such as these are designed to stir up drama and excite strong emotions within their readers, and it is very concerning to me. I am sincerely worried for anyone who comes across this website, especially because it is probably an innocent person simply looking for the truth.

The fact that this website writes about controversial topics without providing substantial information about those topics, including the name and background information of the journalist who wrote it, makes it very clear to me that this news outlet does not care about its readers. If it did, it would do much more to ensure that the stories on this website are original, accurate, and informative.

I hope that, in the future, this media outlet will be shut down. This entire website is a scam, and I hope that people can quickly identify the red flags if they come across this site.

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