Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Today I have taken on the challenge of using Trust Indicators to determine if a site is trustworthy and if we can share its news. We can use eight indicators when looking at a news site to determine how much we can trust them to report accurate news. The two sites I will be evaluating are AZ Free News and Arizona Silver Belt

AZ Free News

The Trust Indicators I found on this website are: 

  • Journalist Info- I found the Twitter account for one of the journalists Terri Jo Neff and the LinkedIn account for the other journalist Corrine Murdock. The claims listed on the site about their previous experience can be verified by their online presence on these two other social sites. 
  • References- One thing I liked about their articles is that the reporters’ quoted material is usually accompanied by a link to the original account of where they are getting the information. 
  • Actionable Feedback- At the bottom of the page are links to their social media sites where the audience can easily comment and engage with the site. 
  • Best Practices- A section of the page called Code of Ethics lists what guidelines they follow to ensure they can be trustworthy sources of information. 

I could not find evidence of the use of the other indicators. Although the site is separated into News and Opinions, some “news” articles used language that seemed to point in one way or another instead of remaining impartial. Not all of the reporters are local. According to Corrine Murdock’s LinkedIn account, she is based in Texas and not Arizona. I also noticed a lack of diversity among the reporters and the news they reported, which is connected to why some of the news felt they belonged in the opinion section rather than the news. 

Another thing I found interesting while using lateral reading to gather more information on the staff was finding a page similar to this one. I Googled the Managing Editor’s name, Eric Porteous, and could not find another valid social media page belonging to him. His name also came up as the Executive Director for the Arizona Freedom Foundation. This website uses the same language in its mission as AZ Free News but only lists Porteous as its staff. 

AZ Free News states that they are a project of the Arizona Freedom Foundation, but it seems somewhat suspicious that they would describe both pages similarly. For these reasons, we should not completely trust the news presented by AZ Free News. I believe it is a great source to spark curiosity and continue to double-check and cross-reference the information from other reputable sources. 

Arizona Silver Belt

The Trust Indicators I found on this website are: 

Journalist Info- I could search for the names of the reporters that wrote the articles on the website, and they exist. However, they are not reporters that work directly with Arizona Silver Belt. These reporters work for the Associated Press. 

This website has failed all other Trust Indicators. After going deeper into the news, I found that they copy the articles written for other pages and paste them onto their page.

The page is full of advertisements and pop-ups that take away from the experience of getting accurate news. Because the articles are not original from their page, there is no way to verify if the page itself is diverse or uses a local perspective. Although the page provides a “Subscribe” button, there is no other way for readers to interact with the page and participate. Additionally, there is no site section that talks about their ethics. 

Overall, I would not trust this site to get my information. It is best to directly follow the Associated Press journalist that initially wrote the article to stay up to date on accurate news.