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News and Media: Facts vs opinion

Fact or opinion - what's the difference?

What is the difference between fact and opinion?


In order to evaluate sources efficiently it is important to recognise the difference between fact and opinion. The table below displays attributes according to whether they describe ‘fact’ or ‘opinion’.



photo of open book


four persons sitting on concrete bench

A fact is something that is known and can be proven to be true or false.  

An opinion is an expression or belief which may or may not be backed up by facts.

But, it cannot be proven true or false.

A fact is something that has occurred or has been proven to be correct. An opinion might also be correct but they can’t be proved.
Is objective Is subjective
Is discovered Is created
States reality Interprets reality
Can be proved or verified Cannot be proved or verified

Subjective vs Objective

Objective information

Objective information reviews many points of view and relates to the object found within the information. 

It is intended to be unbiased. If you are being objective about a news story or other type of information, you have no personal feelings about it. 

For example, news reporters are supposed to be objective and report the facts of an event and not air any personal opinions that could influence others.

Encyclopedias and other reference materials provide objective information.

Example: The chair is blue (=FACT)


Subjective information

Subjective information is one person's opinion.

It can be based on fact, but it is open to that one person's interpretation of that fact - anything that is subjective is subject to interpretation

Subjective is based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Example: I like the blue chair (=OPINION)