Information is more than just a headline

Everyone has an opinion, but how many have an informed opinion?

In a fast-paced life with a some-what abundance of attention-seeking snippets, click bait, free-range opportunities for gossip and inuendo and fake news through a variety of public forums – including social media – the line between fact and fiction can be fine. 

Clearly some of the information available at the click of a finger is informative and engaging, but some is simply the new way of delivering a fictional story with perhaps a smattering of fact.

The big challenge is discerning between the fact and fiction, after all in many cases the fictional stories seem far more enticing to read than the stories based in fact.

Many people will read between the lines, take it with a grain of salt or research further to make sure they are fully informed. Others will take the eye-catching words on face value and form their opinions from that point. 

Not surprisingly this situation has led to a great deal of cynicism about the stories that make news. Such cynicism is not all bad - it is good to question a lot of what we read and inquire further before forming our own beliefs – but it is equally important to be confident in what we read when seeking the truth.

Perhaps the first thing we could all do to ensure we are up to speed with the topic at hand is read the entire article. Don’t simply form an opinion based on the headline or the first two or three paragraphs. No story can be told in full in the headline or the first few pars – these are the features to identify the subject and pique the attention of those who are interested in the topic. The detail is in an entire story.

Secondly we need to be mindful that many stories are open to interpretation – and if you don’t pay close attention to the words at hand there is a chance for misinterpretation.

If web links are provided in an article that will lead you to further information consider clicking on them. These could be the links to information that will help you better understand a topic. 

Regardless of whether you are studying at school or university, reading a newspaper, magazine or Facebook post or watching a documentary there is only so much information that can be delivered, or absorbed, at once. Additional links are provided for those who want to know more. The ability to be well-informed is largely up to you.