The Good Web Guide has prepared a list of the best news websites in the UK. Check it now and choose your site for a source of trustworthy and relevant news.
The volume of information, all just a click away, may be limitless, but our capacity for filtering it is not. Before the advent of the internet, the news was delivered chiefly via a limited selection of newspapers of record and later on the television news as well, broadcast daily by trusted newsreaders across a small selection of channels. But as mass media has grown, so have our choices, meaning that we have to make judicious decisions about where we take our news from these days – not least since social media has opened the floodgates for anyone and everyone being able to report and spread the news, fake or not.
So how do we get to the truth in a world where news sources are necessarily subjective and ready-interpreted for us? When major events are unfolding, it can be hard to get a clear picture, so a rule of thumb might be to check in with a variety of sources – often a mix of most popular news sites – at distanced but regular intervals throughout the day in order to avoid false reports. Since bias is almost unavoidable, do also check in with a spectrum of coverage to ensure that you are getting wide-ranging interviews and can thus build a picture for yourself.
And the golden rule? Do be as sure as you can of the veracity of information before sharing any news you find online.
How To Choose The Best News Websites
News is everywhere, all around us, all the time. It’s on the radio, on the TV, on our social media channels, and in the papers, both on- and offline. News is, by its very nature, reactive. While scholarly articles on a topic might, in the long run, provide deeper insights, this age of 24-hour news highlights attitudes and opinions of events as they unfold.
That is not just useful in the immediate term. It will also one day play a vital role in historical research. Considered opinion after the fact might be insightful and the benefit of hindsight is always useful. But the best independent news sources in the UK from, say, 200 years ago tell scholars today much more about the nation or a community’s real-time response to past events thanks to their first-hand sources.
But how to cut through the noise? Despite the sneering towards the ‘mainstream media, generally speaking, these remain the most credible outlets for news, since they tend (with some exceptions) to cleave closer to the traditional notion of objective reporting, rather than stirring the news through with a hefty helping of opinion.
It is worth noting, though, that most of the most popular news websites in the UK rely on press services, such as Reuters or Associated Press, enabling them to get the news without posting reporters in every corner of the globe. Since most outlets use the same sources, it can be beneficial to look elsewhere for a different take.
Do beware, meanwhile, of news sources on social media. While most major news outlets are on Facebook and Twitter (with the aim of directing readers back to the website), those platforms have a dubious record, it is worth reflecting on that fact, for example, that
that lawyers have testified to the US Congress about the influence of Russian operatives in the lead up to the 2016 US election.
Here are some of the best news websites in the UK, that just so happen to be amongst the most visited news websites too.
The BBC is critically acclaimed throughout the world. Funded by television licensing fees, it is nonetheless separate from the government, priding itself on its freedom from political influence. The BBC News department generates roughly 120 hours of radio, television, and online content each day, drawing from the fifty foreign news bureaus it maintains across the world, as well as it is 250 foreign news correspondents. Its director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth, has been in post since 2018, having begun her career in the 1980s at the corporation. It covers domestic and global news, all of which is based at Broadcasting House, the largest newsroom in Europe. It needs to be: there are, after all, some 2000 journalists who work at BBC News. Recognized as news you can trust across all its channels, the BBC’s correspondents strive for journalism that is fair, independent, and impartial. It describes its own editorial values like this: ‘The trust that our audience has in all our content underpins everything that we do. We are independent, impartial, and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly or materially misleading our audiences. Our commitment to impartiality is at the heart of that relationship of trust. In all our output we will treat every subject with the impartiality that reflects the full range of views. We will consider all the relevant facts fairly and with an open mind.’ It appears to have paid off. Research shows that news consumers view it as not only one of the most popular news websites but the most trusted. With 669.1 million monthly visits, it is, hands-down, the UK’s most visited news website. Read BBC News here.
‘Available for everyone, funded by readers’ goes to the left of the center of The Guardian’s tagline. And it seems that its readers are broadly satisfied with the content they help to resource, in a 2018 Ipsos Mori research poll which was ‘designed to interrogate the public's trust of specific titles online’, The Guardian scored highest for digital-content news. Indeed, a resounding 84 percent specified that they trust what they read online. And that’s not all. In 2020, Ofcom too found that The Guardian was the most trusted amongst all the British papers (it was followed by The Telegraph and then The Times), and the most trusted UK online newspaper brand, too. As a news source overall, it scored only one point behind the BBC for general reliability. Leading the Guardian News * Media – relied heavily upon not only in the UK but also overseas as one of the best free news websites – is editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner. Reporting only to the Scott Trust, the paper has total editorial independence. With 125.1 million monthly visits, it is officially the third most popular online news site in the UK (behind the BBC and The Daily Mail). Read The Guardian here.
New York Times
It goes without saying that not all reputable news sources are created on these shores. The New York Times, whose online content is behind a paywall, is an American daily newspaper with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851 by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones, today it is owned by the publicly traded New York Times Company. In addition to its New York HQ, it also operates newsrooms in London and Hong Kong. One of the largest papers in the US, it has roughly 100 million registered users, with readers broadly trusting its factual reporting (though certain quarters do question what they consider to be its liberal bias). A 2022 survey found that just 14 percent of those polled did not trust what they read in the NYT, while at the other end of the spectrum, 24 percent of Americans found it ‘very credible'.The Factual, meanwhile, assesses the trustworthiness of a range of news outlets, using an algorithm that analyses over 10,000 articles a day, according to four metrics: author expertise, publication history, writing tone and cited sources and quotes. By its metrics, The New York Times is classified as leaning ‘moderate left’, which naturally incurs some objection from right-leaning readers and rival news sources. But, as The Factual reports, ‘Over a dataset of 1,000 articles, the New York Times scored an average Factual Grade of 69.6%. This is well above the average of 61.9% for all 240 news sources and places the site in the 84th percentile of our dataset.’ Read The New York Times here.
Manchester Evening News
Most news outlets in Britain are based in London. Going some way to redress the southern bias is The Manchester Evening News, a daily paper that has been covering North West England since it was founded in 1868. Owned by Reach PLC (formerly Trinity Mirror), it adopted a digital-first strategy in 2014. It was an astute move, even as its print circulation has fallen, it has garnered more and more readers on its digital platform. At the 2018 British Regional Press Awards, it was named Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year. For football fans, it ranks amongst the best news websites in the UK, with dedicated tabs for the city’s dual clubs: Manchester City and Manchester United. It is excellent for local news, with a drop down that features the latest stories pertinent to every area in the vicinity and it is considered very reliable by its local readership. It features breaking news and news about what’s on in the area, as well as having an area for sports and celebrities. One of the best news websites in the UK. Read The Manchester Evening News here.
The Daily Mail
The right-of-centre Daily Mail is the UK’s biggest newspaper by circulation, and it also runs the most popular news website in the UK, with an average daily readership of approximately 2.180 million. Between 2019 and 2020, it attracted more than 218 million unique visitors per month. By those impressive statistics alone, it deserves a place on any list of the best news websites to follow.
However, it is worth caveating that The Daily Mail is also frequently lambasted for its right-leaning bias, and for spreading misinformation. Indeed, The Factual’s analysis sees it come in well below average when compared to competitors. They say, ‘Over a dataset of 1,000 articles, the Daily Mail scored an average Factual Grade of 39.7%. This is well below the average of 61.9% for all 240 news sources that we analyzed. This places the site in the first percentile of our dataset — it scored the third-lowest of any news source. A range of factors contributes to these low scores. Articles generally link only to other Daily Mail articles, leading to low scores for cited evidence, headlines and text are generally heavily opinionated or sensationalized, and author expertise is low, given the wide range of new and unrecognized authors.’ Corroborating this is the fact that in 2017 Wikipedia banned the Mail as a source for the website in all but exceptional circumstances, deeming it ‘generally unreliable’. However, when taking the national temperature on a situation, it is well worth checking in with the Mail, even if only as a counterbalance to other news sites that lean left or cleave to the center.
Daily Mail and General Trust, its parent company, was founded in 1896 by Harold Sidney Harmsworth. Today, Lord Jonathan Harmsworth, Harold’s great grandson, remains in situ as chairman, while Lord Rothermere leads the business side, steering the company through the digital revolution to overtake The Sun as the UK’s most popular paper and online news site.
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