Monday, January 11th, 2010...11:20 am

The Education of a Western Media Consumer

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I have a problem. I’ve been trying to be a good Westerner and keep up with international news when it breaks, but I have a really hard time finding a set of good, diverse sources covering those issues. Let’s take the events a few weeks ago in the Philippines. I must have first heard about this story on NPR or read it in the New York Times. It piqued my interest and I wanted to know more, but I have zero context for the political situation in the Philippines so I went to Global Voices hoping one of their fantastic regional editors was providing a primer and found nothing about the massacre. There are a couple posts up now about blogger reaction to the events and coverage of remembrance events, but those went up weeks after the initial events. Don’t get me wrong, Global Voices does great work, they just don’t do the type of work I was looking for at the time, which was coverage of a breaking event from a non-western perspective that didn’t assume so much pre-existing knowledge that I couldn’t follow along. I really don’t want to have to depend on NPR and The New York Times for all my news. There are a couple things I can think of that might help:

*Google News searches: though there’s no editor here so this really doesn’t help with my context problem, and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s crap and what’s not, which publication has a slant and what that slant is, etc.

*Wikipedia: I can’t remember where I saw this, but there was talk after some event in 2009 that Wikipedia was the best source for information on it (was it some shooting or something? I can’t remember). That’s actually a very intriguing idea, especially because of the external links Wikipedia provides, but in the most recent instance when I was looking for news–information about the health of the Nigerian president–Wikipedia’s Nigeria page had no info.
I’m sure there are existing sources/sites that are completely obvious that I’m missing. I look forward to my friends who are entrenched in this stuff schooling me!

1 Comment

  • openDemocracy is really good for some international stories. High level analysis, often by local voices.