Professionalism - Make sure the site is free from spelling errors, offensive language, grammar mistakes and questionable sponsors.
Experience - How long has the site been in business? Do they proprietors have a background in journalism? Have they been seen guest posting/hosting on more mainstream sites?
Perspective - Not to be mistaken for bias, perspective refers to how the author/creator sees the world. This will color how they report. Are their diverse voices on the site? Have you heard from this demographic before?
Where to look?
Be thankful for the digital age. Social media, podcasts and alternative news sites are all over the place. For the love of all things newsy, join Twitter and pay attention to the hashtags (#). You’ll never be able to comb through the net by yourself, but the hashtags will lead you to great commentary, often before the larger news outlets are able to package it. Here are a few other options.
Mother Jones - http://www.motherjones.com/ Mother Jones is a nonprofit news outlet that delivers bold and original award-winning reporting on the urgent issues of our day, from politics and climate change to education…
Democracy Now - http://www.democracynow.org/Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.
This Week in Blackness – Twib.FM – Bordering on newstainment, this suite of podcasts and blogs focuses on racial equality, social justice and the African American perspective. (Beware of the choice language)
Indian Country Today