Sources, Credibility and Social Media

Online Article by Nicholas Bakalar

In the New York Times of January 8th, 2016, Nicholas Bakalar published an article titled “Having Friends Is Good for You, Starting in Your Teens.” The url for the article is

I used several processes to evaluate the credibility of the source of this article. My conclusion is that this article is credible based on the different criteria that I used. In evaluating the source of this article, I see that this article is published by a nationally recognized journalistic paper, The New York Times. I also checked the credibility of Bakalar and found that he has written hundreds of articles on scientific subjects and humor for The New York Times, Discover, National Geographic Magazines. He has also published various books. His resource for this article is from National Academy of Sciences which is a reputable scientific organization. He has a long career spanning more than two decades. . The information in this article is recent and has no evidence of the author’s bias. This article is written by a journalist who according to Kovach & Rosenstiel (2010) could be referred to as The Journalist as Credentialed Expert. Bakalar may not be a scientist, but he has had a long career reporting scientific findings that he could be referred to as a reporter-source. Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) stated that, “most journalists build credibility for their stories through the sources they rely on for their information” and I see that this journalist has done extensive research and quoted reliable sources like the National Academy of Sciences.

Explain why you trust or not trust information originating from “non-professionals” such as bloggers

I do not trust all non-professional bloggers, but I trust information originating from non-professionals such as bloggers when the information appears on a trusted website such as The New York Times and The Huffington Post. These bloggers may not be professionals, but they do extensive research and quote trusted authors or organizations. An example is the study by the National Academy of Sciences that Bakalar used as his source in this article. I also trust non-professional bloggers who have experience in what they write about.

How has social media influenced the spreading and receiving of information?

Majority of people get their news from social media. Social media has been instrumental to the fast transmission of information on a large scale. Many people have access to the same information at the same time and sharing these information has also been easy and convenient, whether on the cellphone or on the computer. Friends and families share information among themselves and people get to see or hear about events in real-time. True and false information have been spread on social media sites. Information from all sources, including social media need to be researched for reliability before the information is accepted as true and before being spread to others.

N. Bakalar. (2015, January 8). Having Friends Is Good for You, Starting In Your Teens. Retrieved from

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). The Tradecraft of Verification. In Blur (pp. 36-50). New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.


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