Anyone, theoretically speaking, may publish anything online; hence, it is essential for web users looking for Nigerian news to hone a critical eye in evaluating the credibility of their online sources. And the simplest way to do that is to study the type of site providing the information in the first place.
Here are the various types of websites that exist on the web nowadays:
Personal Home Pages
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Personal home pages, which are owned and operated by individuals, are typically informal. People may post their resumes, personal or career profiles, links to their favorite sites, opinions and ideas, and so on and so forth. Some personal websites are also made to serve as professional sites. For instance, a lot of professors publish their course material and syllabi on their personal web pages. Interior designers, photographers and other service professionals typically market their special skills and abilities on their home pages.
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Business Sites –
Even as many legitimate businesses do have websites, some are just plain illegitimate. Regardless of whether they have a positive or negative reputation, companies are in business to make money and preserve customers. Certainly, they are biased towards anything that helps them attain these two principal objectives.
Special Agenda Sites
These websites are operated by persons or non-profit organizations that promote certain advocacies like legalization of the medical use of marijuana, environment-centered causes, etc. They can be rather mainstream or radical and vary greatly in terms of the supplied information’s credibility. By nature, these special agenda sites are biased. Before using such sources, it is important that all readers have prior knowledge of such sites’ special interest.
Professional websites are maintained by organizations or institutions and sometimes by individuals who are considered authority in their specific fields. The information published in such sites are usually obtained through proper research and presented with reference sources and fact sheets. The general public usually has access to such services as provided by various institutions.
Providing vital hints to the reliability of the information in these websites are the credentials of the individual or the credibility of the institution that runs them. Does a site merely link to sources? In such a scenario, the information is only as credible as the website from which it was taken.
News and Journalistic Sites
Such sites are those providing all kinds of news, from global down to local. Then again, anyone can “publish” their own “news” online. If the website is a reputable print publication’s electronic version, then it can be deemed reputable as well. Also, a news site with an ISSN number (International Standard Serial Number) will have more authority compared to one that is without.