How to Find and Support Trustworthy Journalism

If you are hungry for news you can trust, journalism that helps you make decisions about your community, reporting that holds power to account, then this is for you. This is my personal advice for people who want to support journalism that matters. It is just a starting point, it is not comprehensive, and it’ll become stronger and more useful if you add your ideas to it. Use the comments to add your list of newsrooms you subscribe to and support.

Now more than ever, it is important to our democracy that we seek out and support good journalism. Every person is going to construct their media diet differently, so any list I create will be incomplete. My goal here is to provide a framework for you to find the news that will challenge, inspire, inform and engage you.

A few key pieces of advice:

  1. Support local news: Subscribe to your local newspapers, donate to a nonprofit newsrooms, become a member at your public broadcasting stations and support the local businesses that advertise on community news sites. Build a relationship with your local journalists, give them feedback, tell them what you’d like to see covered, share their stories.
  2. Support a mix of media: Construct a diverse media diet with a good mix of indie and alternative news, local, national and international coverage, niche and countervailing points of view. Get outside your bubble.
  3. Support journalism about the causes you care about: If you care about climate change, support environmental journalism. If you care about kids and schools, support a newsrooms focused on education. If you care about hunger and homelessness, support reporting about poverty, etc… (more on that below)

Finally, where ever you land on the web look for the about section, see if they post a code of ethics, figure out who the staff are. Here is a great guide to spotting fake and untrustworthy news.

The advice below focuses mostly on nonprofit newsrooms, but there are many commercial newsrooms who do important work and deserve your support as well. Give them your attention, subscribe, and engage with them too.

Photo by Mike Licht, used via creative commons

LOCAL NEWS: If you want to support local local news start here. I can’t list every local newsrooms deserving of your attention and your support, but there are a number of great directories where you can find links to trustworthy journalism in your area:

(There are other great newsrooms who aren’t in any of these directories. Can’t find a local newsroom near you? Tweet to me @jcstearns and I’ll help you track down a great local newsrooms near you.)

Photo by Brad Frost, used via creative commons

NICHE AND TOPIC FOCUSED REPORTING: If you care about a specific cause, there is likely a reporting project focused on that issue. Below are a few examples organized into imperfect categories, but check out the Institute for Nonprofit News and The Media Consortium for longer lists of newsrooms covering these topics. (Add more suggestions in the comments too!)

Photo by Glenn Halog, used via creative commons

PRESS FREEDOM: As the news landscape has shifted fewer and fewer newsroom and journalists have regular access to legal support and protection. This come at a time when we have unprecedented legal, technological and cultural threats to freedom of the press. Support these organizations who are on the front lines of defending the rights of journalists and all of us.

(Also notable are the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, though their work is focused more internationally. There are other important rights organizations and government transparency groups whose work intersects with press freedom as well.)

Building a New Infrastructure for News

As with the press freedom groups listed above, there is increasingly a need to support the organizations that support journalists. We have to help create a new infrastructure for independent media. These organizations help train journalists, offer fellowships, fund research and support small independent newsrooms in other ways.

A few of these groups include Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Maynard Institute, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Journalism and Women Symposium, Women’s Media Center, Online News Association and others mentioned throughout this post and beyond.)

Today, creating the journalism we want, demands that we help support and defend the media we need.

These places need your support. Your donations will go a long way at all of these newsrooms and organizations. But you can support these places in other ways besides your money. Giving your time, your expertise, or your connections can all help small independent newsrooms. Share their work with a friend or family member via email, social media, or in person. Subscribe to their podcasts, email newsletters, social media accounts. Participate by attending local events, meetings that they are hosting, call-in to talk shows, share feedback when it’s asked for.

Be engaged with the journalism you care about, participate in the news that matters to you, and give what you can to support it.


Thanks for contributing ideas, suggestions and feedback Teresa Gorman, Jessica Clark, Mandy Van Deven, Jeanne Brooks, Adam Schweigert.

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16 thoughts on “How to Find and Support Trustworthy Journalism

  1. Fullycucked says:

    I will check these out. My blogging is a little controversial but it’s because of the MSM that divides us. I’m pro everyone with conservative values. I do not like hidden agendas and it’s taken me too much time to fact check myself. I like facts and not opinions. I will definitely be checking those links out.

  2. TheDreamFlow says:

    Thanks for posting all of the helpful links. This is definitely a hot button issue right now and I agree with a lot of what you said. I subscribe to a healthy dose of skepticism regardless of what piece of news I’m looking at, but some are obviously better than others. I think a view point adjustment can go a long way in helping people make rational decisions and the best thing we could have is a skeptical discerning public thinking independently about each issue. But good luck on that…

  3. marymtf says:

    I am (as most of us are) drawn to those whose opinions are closest to mine, but I do try to push out of the bubble and inform myself by reading / listening to a mix of opinions.
    I’d like to say that journalists aren’t what they used to be, but that’s not true. Whenever I hear someone defend the profession I think of Herblock and how he almost lost his job in 1942, but saved it by the skin of his teeth when he won his first (of many) Pulitzer Prize. Anyone who doesn’t push to be part of the safer, larger, noisier crowd, doesn’t let himself / herself be bullied into changing sides will have my respect.

  4. Erik Moeller says:

    This is an excellent summary, thanks for writing it. In the last few weeks, I’ve been compiling a database of reviews of nonprofit media. They’re mainly my own reviews, and so my opinion, though I encourage anyone who wants to participate to get in touch with me (@xirzon on Twitter). I look at various factors, including operational aspects such as executive compensation and funding breakdown, where available.

    So far I’ve reviewed many sites you mention and some you haven’t. Of the ones you haven’t, I would call out:

    The Intercept, an adversarial, investigative journalism outfit (funded mainly by Pierre Omidyar)

    The Conversation, a global nonprofit effort to bring academic voices into journalism — produces a remarkable amount of high quality news backgrounders, making it a good alternative to Vox and the like

    Democracy Now!, a daily news program that looks in depth at topics that frequently barely rate a mention in other programs, e.g., the DAPL protests

    My reviews so far can be found here:
    https://bit.ly/npo-media

    The criteria I use can be found here:
    https://bit.ly/npo-media-criteria

    And I add all media reviewed at 4 stars or higher to this Twitter list:
    https://twitter.com/xirzon/lists/quality-non-profit-media

    I believe social media feeds are the best way to help people change their own news experience, so I think we should look into ways to make it easier for people to create their own alternative news/information mix in their feeds.

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