Task 10 – reliability of websites

Wikipedia, as the 6th most used website in the world, has evolved into both a base for intellectual articles as well as a pool for easy-access general information. However, many of the 32,134,065 articles can be written and then edited by anyone, allowing people with a range of qualifications and political stances to write about a subject. This puts both the reliability and the quality of the articles into question. Nevertheless, most articles are written in depth by individuals who are passionate enough to take the time to write it. Wikipedia also encourages authors to reference sources using footnotes and a bibliography. Articles that are obviously subjective, lacking in sources or just badly written are often exposed by Wikipedia and the accountable errors are mentioned at the beginning of the article. Pages belonging to certain organisations can have anti-edit protection locks whilst IP addresses belonging to certain institutions, mostly schools, can be blocked from editing any articles if continual vandalism persists.

Popbitch is a UK-based commercial website focused on celebrity gossip and pop music culture. The site’s reliability immediately comes into question because it needs people visit the site so that they can be paid by the advertisers using the site. This explains why popbitch has gained a reputation satire and crude humour in order to entice readers. It has also received considerable criticism in the past for publishing false allegations against celebrities which have sometimes ended up in court cases. On the website, the news stories are often given quite ambiguous, quirky names which already suggests that the article won’t take itself seriously. The writing styles are also very informal as if the writer is simply dishing out their opinion on a matter. Some items are simply youtube videos posted by admins which portray celebrities in a negative light, such as the Nigella Lawson mash-up which makes it appear as if shes’s rolling a joint rather than cooking. All of these factors prove that popbitch is a totally subjective website.

As the BBC’s ‘free’ internet TV & Radio service, the reliability of the site’s radio division can only reflect the reliability of the BBC, a publicly funded broadcaster which has the responsibility of creating a wide range of shows that cater to the needs of the population. As a result, their shows must reflect both mainstream and niche audiences. The BBC also states that it must remain “independent, impartial and honest” which, thus, prevents it from being subjective whilst the public funding prevents it from using its produce for corporate gain. As a result of all this, the BBC is a very reliable source, particularly as it is over 90 years old, has considerable experience in acquiring information and has to be impartial in its broadcasts. The BBC’s radio iPlayer site must then maintain this representation of the population by ensuring that the programs both for niche and mainstream audiences are available and made equally accessible.

The Daily Mail online
Although the Mail online is the world’s most popular news site, it is notorious for its right wing bias as a keen supporter of the Conservative party. This is apparent in its attack on certain left-wing institutions and a belief that the BBC has a left-wing bias. A recent example of this is the paper’s attack on Sherlock and its writer Steven Moffat for supposedly having left-wing bias because the villain was a newspaper baron. They also bare very opinionated headlines on their home page such as, “And the gold medal for the most vile thing at Sochi goes to…? (Clue: it’s not Putin)”. The site also has an odd sense of assessing the importance of a news story as the entire right-hand column of the home page is dedicated to celebrity gossip stories. In conclusion, the Daily Mail site’s reliability is damaged by its right-wing bias and overtly opinionated articles.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s