When looking at a website of interest, it is important to make sure the website is credible in that it is a reliable and trustworthy source. It’s not enough to think the page is credible based on looks of the website, but based on many other factors. When taking a look at articles about North Africa and the languages of the region, I came across an interesting article on a website called yourmiddleeast.com.
The first place to look at when evaluating the credibility of a website is the “About” page. It should tell you right off the bat who is responsible for writing the work you are reading. Yourmiddleeast.com has an “About Us” page that lists the authors along with theircredentials related to the Middle East and North Africa. For example, some of the writers are journalists, professors, and there was even an embassador. The authors prove they are qualified to write on such a topic because they all have experience in this field of study.
The authors of this site list their names along with their profession. The first name listed, Imran Garda, was a news anchor and host at Al Jazeera; next is Ruth Marks Eglash who is a Middle East Correspondent at Washington Post; next on the list is Sarah Leah Whitson who is an Executive Director Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. Names and their credentials and experience keep going down the list until the last author is Claes Cronstedt, a former international partner at Baker & McKenzie. In terms of the authors themselves they seem to be credible enough to talk about the Middle East and North Africa. On top of all that, they provide an email to contact them right before providing the list of authors. This is a sufficient enough “About” page to raise credibility.
Who Owns It?
Although the “About” page seems fine, there isn’t much information on the actual owner of the website. Whoever is responsible for creating the website made it hard to find them. When clicking the link to go to the homepage, the page is filled with many articles and pictures and colors that make it difficult to focus on one thing. Because of this, it’s not easy to find any organization the site might be under. I couldn’t find any organization that this site might be linked to. But because of the title of the URL, it’s safe to assume that the focus of this site is the Middle East. This might be the best title as it negates the region of North Africa, which this website acknowledges. Because the title is only regarding the Middle East, this may be because the owner has ties to the region or perhaps just finds it more suitable to focus only on that region and throw in a couple articles about surrounding regions. Whatever the case, it has not been made clear.
The purpose of this website looks like it’s meant to inform people of the Middle Eastern countries in regards to their culture, history, and politics. The top article on the homepage is Lebanon electing a president after two years, then the articles below are about Iran, Kurds in Syria, Israeli fashion, and so forth. Not one article on the homepage is related to North Africa which makes me think this website is geared towards “ME” rather than “MENA” like it claims it does. The audience of this website looks like it’s meant for the general public. The website seems like it’s written for anyone rather than just someone from the Middle East or just a professor. The articles are all written to inform people of the issues in this region rather than to persuade a certain outlook.
Credibility Per Article
After looking at the articles of this website it is clear that they are very factual. They don’t seem to steer an opinion a certain way. In an article about irrigation in Syria, a study was done to prove the relation between war and water and this article stated the outcome of the study. However, the article provided very little background information about the issue. For someone with no prior knowledge of the war in Syria, the experiment done in this article did little to help. And the issue that stood out the most was that there was no author listed. Without an author, an article’s credibility completely diminishes which is the case in this article.
Strengths and Weaknesses
It is clear that the authors are very impartial and objective. Their articles are full of quotes and graphs and concrete evidence to increase their credibility. The language the authors use is not very emotion-arousing words or obvious bias. However, there is no obvious affiliation with an institution so it is not officially approved by one. Also, after each article, sources are not clearly cited, therefore we don’t know where the facts are coming from. Also, as mentioned in the paragraph above, an author was not stated. The articles are free of grammatical errors, however there is an issue with not knowing where the sources are coming from.
For the most part, this is a well written website by people who seem to be well-versed on this topic, however there are no clearly cited sources nor are any links to further explain in detail. I would not recommend this website as a credible source because of the lack of citations, authors, and the lack of a general overview. With that said it is important to be diligent about the websites and articles you come across, but this one is not one I would take more from.