A bit of a do-gooder tip here, but when a main story gets cited by bloggers many of us tend to link at the same mainstream media source, thus voting for that source as the best article on that topic, when it is often the first perspective we found, but not the best.
When considering who to link to, it is worth it to take a minute or three to do a few news searches and blog searches to find better articles from sources that are more trustworthy than the mainstream media.
Why Research Many Sources?
At the very least you learn how similar various sources are, how influenced they are by public relations, and learn a bit of background on the topic. At the best this will not only make you more educated, but will also help you shape the web, and what articles others will cite going forward, which is especially important when you consider how concentrated and deceptive the media is (like firing their workers for being honest) and how much fraud there is in business.
Right now some sleazy agricorp companies are creating self destructing seeds, using rBGH in cows (which provides exactly no benefit at all to consumers), and at the same time the FDA is mulling the idea of selling cloned meat (without requiring labeling).
How to Find Other Sources:
- Check out a few of your favorite blogs or alternative media sites on the subject.
- Check meme trackers such as Techmeme, Megite, and Tailrank to look for others talking about the subject. Technorati also offers topical meme tools and blog tags.
- Search Google News, Yahoo! News, Topix, and other popular news sites.
- Search major search engines for a key quote from the article wrapped in quotes to see who is syndicating the story and who has quoted it.
- Create a Google Custom Search Engine which you seed with sites you personally trust. Search it for their past takes on keywords related to the theme of the story.
- Check out social news and bookmarking sites to find related stories and trusted sources, either directly or recursively. Start with Digg, Reddit, Newsvine, and Del.icio.us.
- Look at the Wikipedia page on the topic. If the topic is controversial ensure you also look at talk pages about the topic.
- Find related topics and keywords using keyword suggestion tools.
- See which bloggers are linking to the article in question by searching Google Blogsearch and Technorati. For example, to see who has recently linked at the SEO for Firefox extension download page I would search Google Blogsearch using link:http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html and search Technorati for tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html. Those may give you other sources which may be worth citing, and some other people discussing the same story may also be linking at other sources. It should also tell the story from a different angle or perspective unless the bloggers are parrots.
Change the Web & Change the World:
With each word you read or write, each sentence, each page, and each link, each of us are helping to shape the web every day. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
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