25 September 2014

Online Credibility

I chose a New York Times news article titled “Is Exercise Bad for Your Teeth” by  Gretchen Reynolds to determine if the article was credible based on the guidelines provided by the Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources.  The New York Times online is an online news site. When I first began research into its creditability, I began with the author, Gretchen Reynolds. I wanted to see if Gretchen was an authoritative figure in the topic of health and fitness and what her credentials were, as is laid out in the resources webpage for evaluating websites. I found that Gretchen had been writing about health and fitness for more than a decade and had even had experience in eco-politics and fitness for Outside magazine and was once a health and fitness reporter.  She is even in the process of writing a book about fitness and health.  She is primarily associated with the New York Times, however, her articles can be found in many reputable magazines as she is a frequent contributor.
Gretchen uses information from peer-reviewed articles, however, she has not been peer reviewed. She is very neutral on the subject that she is discussing. Gretchen has the opportunity to misuse the language of the scholarly professionals, but she is very clear in providing her information. She says repeatedly that more research is needed, and that physical activity only may slightly increase the risk of bad oral health. She is very clear in saying that there is no correlation between sports drinks, physical activity, and cavities.
Gretchen pulls her information from two scholarly peered articles. She pulled one article from the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the other from the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Each of the articles are current, one was published in 2013 and the other in 2014. Though there is not a works cited listed at the bottom of the page, the author does provide links that link her information to the scholarly article.
Unrestricted web publishing through mass media can be potentially hazardous to those who rely heavily on media to provide consumers with honest and valid information. Organizations like Time, New York Times, and other news sources rely on their authors to bring forth valid and current information. If authors are allowed to write about things that are inherently false simply to gain an audience, then the organization loses its credibility and the consumer is left with false information. If Gretchen would have used false information or manipulated the data provided  by the scholars, she could have left the reader thinking that exercise was harmful to oral health, which could interfere with their beliefs in working out. It is important for authors to be as credible as possible in how they provide readers with information; readers go to the internet for accurate information. If credible organizations manipulate scholarly articles to their own benefit or the benefit of the author, it becomes difficult to trust information from that organization.
Reynolds, G. (2014). Is exercise bad for your teeth? New York Times. 

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