Retailer ASDA was selected as the industry standard due to its size, notoriety, and recent controversial issues surrounding them. Sources were checked for credibility, currency of information, ease of acquiring the information, and overall viewer appeal.
It was found that sources with a traditional paper history were more likely to hold to a higher journalistic standard than their electronic only counterparts. In the past, highly biased and slanted reporting would enjoy a limited circulation in marginal markets. However, recent innovations in Internet technology have made publishing quick, inexpensive, and have made universal distribution available to everyone.
It was noted that some web sites operated for the sole purpose of popularizing a social or political agenda. These were often recognizable not only by the name of the site, but also by the language used in their articles. They tended to use harsh, adjective reporting, were void of objective statistics and figures, and rarely offered opposing points of view.
On the Internet, what appears to be a magazine or a credible news outlet, may in fact be only a promotion for an industry, or extreme viewpoints with little regard for fact. Hard statistical and financial data was available in print-based sources, but was more functional on the web site format. Web sites can also offer an array of services and unique information not found in the more staid, traditional sources. These services can include video content, links to related stories, and specialized reporting on unique topics.
While nearly all electronic outlets are equipped with site search capability, global search engines such as Google and Yahoo tended to rank traditional magazines above web only sites. It was found that searching requires experience and knowledge of the search engine to produce meaningful results.
Reliability of Information
On comparison, it was found that information was overall more credible from traditional news sources, sources dedicated to financial reporting, and high traffic sites. Outlets with a paper counterpart tended to hold to a higher journalistic standard. Articles were consistently more recent and were routinely time and date stamped. A sample of inquiries revealed:
The more traditional BBC and The Telegraph electronic outlets had current information similar to a newspaper and had all articles dated.
Web Sites Friends of the Earth, War on Want, and Pendle.net presented out of date stories and little if any current content. No company or financial details were available.
"Hoovers" and "The Competition Commission", outlets with a focused purpose, offered professional research that was dated and cited. These sources offered the most complete and accurate financial assessments.
"Yahoo" and "Reuters", large global sites, contained not only current news articles, but also detailed financial and contact information. Both sources draw on a variety of reliable sources and functions as a database for information.
The language that permeates the article can, to a degree, be used to assess the information. Extreme and sensational characterization is an indication of editorial opinion and may not be based in truth. Where a reliable source may give the details of workforce treatment and hiring in