It probably doesn't surprise you that there is privilege in publishing. If we think about full-time faculty who do research and publish in peer-reviewed, scholarly articles, we are looking at a majority of white faculty. The same is true for the peer-review process. Most of the reviewers are also white. What this means is nonwhite folks do not have the same privilege to publish their work and therefore never make it into your search results. Consequently you are missing out on a whole section of valuable information.
When we continuously cite only white authors in our research, we are perpetuate this cycle of privilege. One thing we can do is push against this privilege by searching out other places for scholarly research.
There are several avenues worth exploring to get at research that is not represented in our databases due to privilege in publishing. Open Access Journals can be a really great resource. Open Access (OA) Publishing is free and allows access to anyone. This means research is not hidden behind and expensive pay wall. Keep in mind that not every Open Access Journal is on the up and up. There are scams and shoddy research/reviews that get published in some OA journals. But there are ways for you to evaluate those OA journals!
Another avenue is to find scholarly blogs. Oftentimes professors and researchers are talking about their work on blog sites. Just like with any other resource, you will need to evaluate the blog to see if it is credible or not. Here is a website to help you do that.
Lastly, you can incorporate zines into your research. While you might not be able to cite them in your work (ask your professor), you can certainly read zines for background information and for that invaluable first-hand account. Primary sources (folks writing about a topic that they are directly affected by) gives a voice to your research.
Once you graduate from Simmons, you will lose access to all the library databases. As you move beyond Simmons, here is a site that curates freely available (scholarly included) resources.
Tips for checking news:
How good are you at spotting fake news? Try this game and see!
Did you know that you have a filter bubble around you right now? That every time you do a search on Google, it tailors the results based on your previous search history? Did you know that your search results will look different if you use Google on campus as opposed to using it at a cafe in Somerville? It's because Google is making certain assumptions about you based on your IP address. While we all like customized information there is a real danger of being so trapped inside your filter bubble that you never see the other side of a story. In order to be better informed, we need to know what each side is saying about an issue and not fall for confirmation bias (reading only sources that already fall in line with our current views).
So what can you do? You can actively take control of your media consumption and step outside your filter bubble.
Read both sides of an issue before retweeting, rebloggin, reposting, etc.