Consider the Source: A Critical Guide to 100 Prominent News and Information Sites on the Web
by F Broderick and Darren W Miller (Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books, 2007): 472pp, £12.80 (pbk), ISBN 978 0 910 96577 4.
Reviewed by Nic Walker
The introduction to this American book almost completes the task of the reviewer. I quote: '… takes you to 100 prominent news and information Web sites on the Internet and offers a candid and comprehensive analysis of the good, the bad, and the unusual'.
Fortunately this type of book will only be referred to by those who have a need for the information it contains, and to that extent, the authors are to be complimented on the layout and style chosen. Lest they be accused of adopting too subjective an approach or attempting to impose personal views on those seeking information for specific research purposes or just general interest, let me enter a verdict of 'Not guilty'.
The format chosen encourages an objective analysis of the sites. The headings Overview, What you'll find there, Why you should visit and Keep this in mind are used as standard throughout and are self-explanatory. The personal opinions of the authors have been subjugated to an analysis of well-recorded facts. The research bibliography, such as it is, is contained in convenient endnotes.
Perhaps the most useful and important feature of the book is the Appendix of ranked sites in which the ratings awarded to each site are collated in descending order of ranking. Each ranking is the result of a considered and pragmatic approach to the style, content and purpose of the individual site. While there must inevitably be an element of subjectivity in awarding 'marks out of five', the ratings and associated comments follow clearly from the narrative.
Whether this book is a 'terrific guide for all journalists and media-watchers' remains to be seen, but the authors are to be congratulated on not only the idea but also its execution.