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Non-American News in English
Call for Knowledge - RESULTS  posted by The Centaur ~ April 16, 2002

Last month, to broaden my perspective beyond that presented in the American news media, I put out a Call for Knowledge for Non-American News in English .  I received just under a dozen submissions and now am ready to report the results.

Non-American News in English
As a reminder, the topic of this Call was: What are the best sources of non-American news in English on the web? To be included, a source needed to meet the following criteria:
  • The bulk of the site must be in English. An English version of a site in another language is acceptable only if the bulk of the site is translated.
  • The site must be freely available on the web. Paid subscriptions are not allowed, but free registration a la the New York Times is acceptable.
  • The site must originate outside the United States. Additional points will be given for sources outside the former British empire.
  • The site must be a credible source of news and opinion. Propaganda sites sponsored by a government, crank sites which contain only opinions, and weblogs are disallowed.

I received a wide variety of sources, which I categorized into general news sites, opinion sites, country sites, and metasites.  (And my apologies to one entrant, who sent the mail to the wrong address and asked for it back so he could send it to the right one ... unfortunately, your message was eaten by buggy antivirus software.)  To judge the submissions, I built an internal web page that I used to browse for news for several days and tracked which ones I felt gave me the best information.  The results of this totally subjective ranking were as follows:

The Contenders
News Sites. I categorized sites as "general news" if their focus was journalism - researching and presenting news and events - and served an audience broader than any one country.
  • Best News Institute for War and Peace Reporting
    (http://www.iwpr.net/index.pl?home_index.html )
    The Institute seemed to have the best organized and balanced presentation of issues. The submitter commented: "IWPR supports recovery and development in crisis zones by providing professional training, financial assistance and an international platform to independent media, human rights activists and other local democratic voices." 
  • Jane's (http://www.janes.com/)
    Definitely an interesting site, but requires a subscription and is focused on defense. The submitter commented: "The ultimate source for defence, aerospace and transportation information.  The site requires membership for complete articles, but the abstracts are still significantly helpful."

Opinion Sites. General "opinion sites" had more of an axe to grind - often presenting direct opinions or personal testimonials.  From the horse's mouth - but read with a grain of salt.

  • Best Opinion Out There News (http://www.megastories.com/index.shtml)
    The directness of these points of view makes this the most appealing opinion site. The submitter commented: "A great site for unfiltered frontline and firsthand perspectives about the conflict du jour. Some dispatches are written by folks with an obvious ax to grind, such as the correspondents from an Afghan women's opposition group. But others are touching, including the missives from a pediatrician treating patients in Afghan refugee camps. The site also visits other war zones, including chilling accounts of children growing up in the midst of Northern Ireland's violence."

National Sites. News sites serving a specific national market.  Have your skeptic filter on (not that it shouldn't have been on before!) but worth a read.

  • Best National The Moscow Times (http://www.themoscowtimes.com)
    While I like Japan Today, the Moscow Times was the best source of news from a different point of view than the west.
  • Japan Today (http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=home )
    As a student of Japanese culture, I found some of the articles on this site fascinating; however the perspective is too familiar to me to really challenge my views. From the submitter: "This is one of my favorite sites for news from Japan...They have a very interesting range of articles and I especially like that they will e-mail you top stories at your request."
  • Afganistan (http://www.afghan-web.com/aop/)
    A really interesting site, well worth a visit. From the submitter:  "Check out the polls!"
  • Iraq(http://www.uruklink.net/iraqnews/eindex.htm)
    Another very interesting site, though it is the official Iraqi news site and can't take best of category for that reason. From the submitter: "[a] headline:'Stupid American Sanctions.
  • Palestine (http://www.ptimes.com/ )
    Down whenever I tried to access it. From the submitter:  "kind of rant-y, but there is info in there."

Metasites. Sites that help you find news sites..

  • Best Metasource The Paperboy (www.thepaperboy.com )
    A very comprehensive site. From the submitter: "This search was made infinitely easier with the Paperboy, which helps find some p oints of view that you won't see on CNN or FOXNEWS."
  • The News Directory ( http://www.newsdirectory.com/news/press/ )
    Another good site, though not as comprehensive as The Paperboy. From the submitter: "Although Japan Today is NOT one of the foreign, English language publications listed here, this is a HUGE source of information.  They list on-line English publications worldwide, organized by continent and sub-divided by country. The above link is specifically for newspapers, but if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see that they also link to magazines and TV. It's just up to you to decide whose perspective you want to read! "
The Winner - Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Kudos to Bob Kinnett for the pointer to this site, which seemed to have the best mix of a wide variety of views backed by solid journalistic principles.Bob gets a $25 gift certificate for Borders and a Library of Dresan T-shirt.  Bolot Kerimbaev, Bob Kinnett and Gordon Shippey submitted the best of category entries, and will each receive a cookie (not the browser kind).

Thanks to everyone for all of their entries!  Please join my next Call for Knowledge: April Fool's Day Hoaxes, already in progress!

See you in 15.
- The Centaur
Renaissance Engineer

Non-American News
- Out There News
- The Moscow Times
- Japan Today
- The Paperboy

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