Knowing who to trust

There are many different types of sources for information and news such as:

  • news broadcasters
  • agencies
  • search engines
  • social media platforms
  • governments
  • media organisations
  • individuals

We are more likely to believe a person or organisation that gets things right and is accurate and factual than those that have been known to make things up or get things wrong in the past. But that’s not all there is to it.

Different sources are good for different information. So who you trust may change depending on what information you're looking for. It may also change because of your:

  • own personal beliefs
  • opinions
  • experience

Here's some key questions you should ask:

  • Is your source who they say they are (and not pretending to be someone or something they aren’t)?
  • Do they have expertise in relation to this story or this type of information?
  • What is their track-record? Are they reliable?
  • Do they have an agenda? Or are they trying to be impartial? Why are they telling you this?

For schools wanting more information about trust go to our lesson plan.

Recognising fake news
Checking the story
Numbers and the tricks they play
BBC iReporter: What would a journalist do? (Guidance for young people)
Teachers guide to the BBC iReporter interactive game
Lesson 1: Real versus fake news
Lesson 2: Sources and who to trust
Lesson 3: Social media, images and data