Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've been contemplating information sources lately, seeing as we live in an age where the amount of information grows exponentially with each passing day even while the quality and reliability grows increasingly unpredictable.
That got me thinking this morning about how much I appreciate the Globe and Mail, which really does put a lot of effort into keeping the hysteria out of its voice and presenting useful, accurate information for its readers. Today's piece on the plight of women with mental illness in our prison system is an excellent example (check out the "infographic" for some startling statistics).
For the past year I've been doing some work for Demand Media, a tough little freelance gig out of the U.S. that pays almost no money and requires writers to really dig deep to get rock-solid sources for the most obscure topics you could imagine. While I avoid calculating my actual hourly pay for that work - it'd just bum me out - I have found that it has really sharpened my skills at finding reliable on-line sources for information.
They're going to have start teaching that at school pretty soon, as the traditional media models break down and new ones continue to emerge. My advice: Find a few sources you trust and screen out the rest of the noise, because knowing you're getting accurate, unspun information every time is a very valuable thing. 

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