Traditional Mass Media vs. Alternative New Sources

While this post is intended for the Year 12 Core TOK class, the information is relevant to anyone who wants to look for alternatives to news which comes from media organizations supported by major corporations.

Last class, we each chose a current event to follow and selected one story from a traditional news source (newspaper, television news show, radio news).  This class, you will

  • find out who owns that news source using Columbia Journalism Review’s Who Owns What resource.
  • find an alternative news source story on the same current event
  • compare and contrast the traditional and alternative news stories on your current event.  Think about tone, style, and content.

You may use one of the alternative news sources below or choose one of your own.

Guides to Alternative News Sources


Alternative News Sources (a Small Sampling)


Please post your comparison as a comment to this blog post. Include the links to both news stories in your response.

Do you have an alternative news source you like? Share it in the comments below!


11 thoughts on “Traditional Mass Media vs. Alternative New Sources

  1. The two articles I read were about the new goal-line technology and they can be found on the links below:

    They are similar in terms of information e.g. they both have the exact dates, location names and story but the article written by Dominic Fifield for The Guardian is more biased by saying that “Frank Lampard believes that goal-line technology will add magic to football”; whilst the other article by Telegraph sport said “Prompted into action by England midfielder’s Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany at the 2010 World Cup”, so you can tell that there the two articles are not sure yet in that specific piece of information and this shows how information can easily be presented incorrectly, even by trustworthy news websites.

    These articles came about because of what happened in the world cup in 2010, where Frank Lampard scored, but the goal wasn’t counted, as the ball was not seen going past the goal line.

    • Hi Heliécio,

      Thanks for your comparison. It’s interesting that even though The Guardian is a traditional news source, you were able to identify differences in the way two traditional sources portrayed their understanding of the situation.

      I’ll be interested to see what you find as we search through different social networks for information.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Ms. Katy

  2. On the Ground in Mali, French and Local Troops Confront Islamist Forces

    New York Times newspaper
    This journal is more realistic than the other, I mean I don’t know because I am not in Mali so I don’t know how true their statements and judgments is relating to this topic about the French troops against the rebellious in Mali. I also noticed that in this journal they add a lot of other organizations opinion for example the United Nations, and other countries opinions which they give the pros and cons about the intervention of French troops in Mali . They also add the soldiers’ opinions about the war, and why it has to be done. In my opinion I think it’s a very

    Mali close to civil war?

    This journal is more , predictable in comparison with the new Yorker one, because they see already what will the outcome of the current situation of Mali be! They predict of what will happen , I also noticed that this newspaper does not report direct facts, for example they are not very specific in the information given , they hide to much.

    • Hi Andre,

      Thank you for your comment. I think you hit on something really interesting here, which is that traditional media tries to be more objective (except if it’s an editorial of course!) whereas some alternative news sources are more likely to mix opinion and predictions with straight reporting.

      Thank you for your comment,
      Ms. Katy

  3. Pingback: Social Media & the News | LIS Secondary Library

  4. The two articles I read were about the epidemic flu and the measures to take in order to avoid getting infected. The first post I read was by ABC news which informed citizens about the flu, but at the same time praised the US government for putting together a action plan for preventing flu. The article also mentioned the different options for prevention of the flu.
    The second article was by an alternaltive news source, they focused mostly on the statistics of the flu and how the situation is only getting worst mentioning that the death toll is rising and more children die everyday. It seems the alternative news source reports the situation more realistically and does not give credit for anyone , whreas ABC mentions the measures that need to be taken and what the government is doing to help.

    • Hi Nayole,

      I think your comments here show a great deal of insight. While the flu is not a topic likely to get a lot of people really whipped up, you noticed that the alternative news source had a more casual tone as well as less linking and credit to other sources. Often (but certainly not always) independent/alternative news media sources hold themselves to a less rigorous standard of journalistic ethics. of course, some people would argue that this enables them to tell more real news, more quickly.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Ms. Katy

  5. Hi Miss Katy,
    I found this article ( ) on “RawStory”, I could see that it was about a presentation that Sen. Diane Feinstein was going to do later that day about the amount of rounds per clip and about military-style weapons that Sen. Feinstein was going to try to ban. It had some events related to the reason that might have caused to Sen. Feinstein to go and make the speech.

    And I found this article:
    on cnn after Sen. Feinstein had already made the speech. The article said what Sen. Feinstein spoke about on her speech and only that.

    I noticed a difference since CNN wouldn’t even publish anything related to the speech before it was over. Raw Story also had some personal opinions hidden and was a lot smaller than CNN’s article. As such the mainstream information has a lot more details but is also a lot more mechanic.

    • Hi Jose,

      It is interesting that you notice that the alternative news source tends to have more personal opinions “hidden” in their story. Often, alternative news sources will be more biased, tending to report news in a way that is more favorable towards their point of view, their company. Of course, many people will say the same thing about traditional news organizations.

      Thanks for your comments,
      Ms. Katy

  6. Last class I looked at an article about the South African national soccer team, it was about the way that they performing in their matches and the South African president spoke and said that Bafana Bafana should not listen to anything the critics say and just focus on trying to win the cup. The alternate one that I have looked at is from one of the players in Bafana Bafana, because he talked about how the team was not playing well and said that there are a lot of things that need to be worked on before the start of the AFCON (Africa Cup Of Nations). So the reason why I chose this one is because what the president was saying is that the Bafana Bafana (The Boys) should just ignore all of the things that they hear and what Bernard Parker was saying is practically the opposite because it is basically like he was part of the critics. The tone that was used in the way Benard Parker delivered his message was in a way that would show that Bafana Bafana were not doing well or that they might not do so well in the AFCON, but with what the president and the tone that he said it in is in the type that he is trying to encourage the team and to tell them that the nation is behind them and that we believe in them.

    • Hi Massego,

      Thanks for sharing. I would love to see the links you are discussing, as I always enjoy seeing how two different sides of an issue paint their point of view. I wonder if the player is trying to downplay their potential, just in case they lose.

      Did you see any major differences based on the types of sources you visited? Or was it more the people the news sources chose to quote?

      Thanks again,
      Ms. Katy

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