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6 Tips for Recognizing Trustworthy News Sources

Retail crime and loss are no longer niche topics discussed only at LP conferences and among colleagues. Now, not a day goes by without mainstream media outlets covering cases of ORC, retail violence, and the impact these incidents have on retailers’ bottom lines. And while it’s good that awareness of the devastating impacts of retail crime is growing, distinguishing accurate versus misleading information can be a challenge.

Often, journalists are under strict deadlines, and with the increasingly digital media landscape emphasizing quantity over quality (and clickbait over accuracy), it’s easy for complex issues like retail crime to get misconstrued. Globally, an astounding 60 percent of adults report news organizations deliberately reporting false stories very or fairly regularly.

Still, it is important for loss prevention professionals to stay on top of these headlines and informed of retail crime news across the country (we recommend activating Google Alerts for words like “loss prevention,” “retail crime,” “organized retail crime,” etc., and of course subscribing to our LPM Daily Newsletter).

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To ensure the articles you’re reading are trustworthy, read below for six qualities to look for:

1. Research Your Source

A quick Google search can usually tell you who owns a media outlet, and what their motivations might be. Is the owner tied to a particular political party or cause? Do they have a reputation for pushing their own personal opinions and beliefs through this outlet? If so, you may want to take what they publish with a grain of salt—or choose to find your news elsewhere.

2. Make Sure All Sides Are Addressed

Any good news story should address all sides of the story. If a specific company is mentioned, are they also quoted? Companies may not always respond to requests for comment, but a reputable journalist should at least attempt to get a quote from everyone mentioned in a story, so it is fair and balanced.

3. Identify Transparency

Reputable news outlets distinctly label opinion columns and sponsored content as such, openly reveal any conflicts of interest, specify the sources and verification methods for information in their stories, and include links to referenced sources.

4. Check How Errors Are Handled

Responsible news sources take accountability for errors and promptly correct them. Can you observe any indications that this source acknowledges and corrects its mistakes or provides clarifications?

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5. Determine Timeliness

Is the news story you’re reading recent and up to date? And are the statistics or reports they reference also recent? A timely news source is essential for delivering current and relevant information and ensuring accuracy.

6. Is the Content Original?

Last but certainly not least, make sure that the news you’re consuming is from the original source. Some outlets don’t do any original reporting of their own; rather, they simply copy and paste stories from other outlets without verifying the information they are sharing. Not only does this take away credit where credit is due, but it also makes it hard to determine how the information was gathered, and whether it is trustworthy.

With countless news sources putting out information today, taking just a few minutes to determine whether the information is reliable can stop you from being misled, or even save you from losing any of your own credibility.

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