Controversial events can generate a slew of misinformation that, if a writer is not careful, can result in false reporting. While it’s not uncommon for some writers to skew towards a particular point of view in times of uncertainty or speculation, any unsubstantiated claims put that publication at risk of being untrustworthy.
Search engines, databases and books are a great starting point in the research process, but interviewing an expert such as an analyst or data scientist adds another layer of credibility for stories covering controversial or difficult topics. Their body of knowledge can offer insights on real-world issues based on information that can be easily overlooked, such as:
Part of an analyst’s job is to gather as much information about the past to make sense of present events and informed predictions about the future. The breadth of knowledge that an analyst has on a particular subject is more thorough than what can be gauged in a few hours of research; as part of their jobs, analysts are expected to regularly publish their research in academia, written reports and public presentations.
When a controversial event occurs, the most immediate reaction is to understand the underlying reasons or facts that led to why it happened. Analysts develop and test theories, using information from any relevant sources -- such as interviews, periodicals, case law, historical papers or statistical sources -- to connect the dots. An analyst’s unique ability to interpret and translate the meaning of this information to others is another reason why including this third-party perspective is critical when covering controversial news.
The intersection of social, political, and economic events
Controversial events rarely happen in a vacuum, and analysts often consult with research agencies, the media, government officials and other stakeholders regarding issues that are important to the public. This exclusive access to resources lends further credibility to a story that includes commentary from analysts.
When the public goes to the media with questions about a controversial or difficult event, it puts the pressure on newsrooms to deliver accurate information quickly. Third-party experts like analysts, professors, or researchers whose daily lives are immersed in deconstructing issues that affect the public are a reliable source for answers.
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