Recommendations from students (Summer ’13)
Der Spiegel (international)
First, I enjoy reading news about the US from foreign sources — it sometimes gives a fresh, new perspective. Second, it is independent of media conglomerates and therefore less bias although, the online version does pull from wire services for some of its news. The news reported is a bit more limited than what one might find in the New York Times or LA Times. Der Spiegel magazine and Spiegel online operate as entirely separate entities.
Der Spiegel is a German owned news source known for its “investigative journalism” according to Wikepedia . It is also employee owned with over 1 million subscribers.
The Huffington Post is an online news source and blog that launched in 2005 in response to conservative blogs such as The Drudge Report. It was founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, Jonah Peretti, and Andrew Breitbart. Although it initially functioned mostly as a blog that allowed a platform for many columnists, it became an alternative news source for many. In 2011 AOL bought The Huffington Post for $315 million and kept Arianna on board as editor-in-chief. I have installed an adblocking program on my computer for Firefox so had to check out the website with a different browser to see what type of advertising they had. It’s not too overwhelming. Usually one ad from a different publication (more than likely also owned by AOL) and then a short list of sponsored links. I appreciate this website as a news source because it is so varied, and it does almost seem to function as a blog open to new reporters. Although there are a lot of articles dedicated to entertainment there is a whole section titled “voices” with subsections of women voices, Latino voices, black voices, gay voices, etc. There are whole sections dedicated to health, divorce, politics, education, and small business – all things that real people deal with daily. To me it represents what the Internet can do to make the news less homogeneous. There are many different people that contribute to the website as writers, photographers, bloggers, columnists, and now, with video, news anchors. For the most part it is a collection of news stories from other news sources such as CNN, AP, Getty, etc. It works as another filter in a sense to provide a certain audience with the stories they want to read about but are lost in the massive amount of information thrust our way today. The bias of the website is pretty obvious – it caters to “liberal” minded people and provides more than enough mindless entertainment junk food news. That being said there is not much about the weather posted on a regular basis =)
This site is one for following what is going on outside of the personal bubble, to gain more of an understanding on an international front. What I like about this site is that while articles are not just facts on a page they also provide insight in to the situations. What is also important is that if an article is not accurate or if there is a difference of opinion then the international readership is not afraid to go after the article in the comments section. What I learned about this site is that is based in the UK, it is expanding rapidly, the funding comes from donated time from writers and yearly ‘subscriptions’ (which include a weekly email of summarized news) of readers. There is not a marketing presence on the site, unless you count social networking promotion, and it is refreshing to see world news covered thoroughly rather than just glazed over for Lindsey Lohan.
Project Censored was really shocking to me when I discovered it in the Week 3 thread because it is short and to the point, and much more honest than most other sites. The writers are not afraid to talk about “the elephant in the room”, important topics and they are not afraid of what it will do to their image or what the public will think or losing profit (at least from what I have noticed). It seems to be a progressive and liberal source told from the perspective of the minority, the news that is important but is never talked about it gets filtered out because it disagrees with corporate agenda, selling the war, etc.
I found this site which was founded to to counter the agenda based reporting of the news by the mainstream media. The stories are written and contributed by professors, historians, lawyers, activists, and other people living in society and communities across the country.
The writers of the stories obviously can express their opinions but they are not motivated by any corporate concerns. It appears that the site is funded by donations. I certainly found the link, “real news” to be an interesting read. Here there is a section about the power of labels. There is also a section of must watch documentaries. The videos are supposed to be about things they won’t show you on mainstream TV.
Irish Times was established in 1859. It is owned by The Irish Times Trust that was set up solely for the purpose of keeping its independence from political, commercial, religious and sectional control.
When you visit the website a headline informs you that by using their website you consent to their cookies. There several stories with imagery to pull the consumer in as well as stories about celebrities and politicians.
I was hoping that by finding a paper that stated it wasn’t run by politics, religion or commercialism that I might get some real news. I think I was wrong.
Anyways take a look at it and see if you agree or not with me.
This is a Catholic based news source that usually covers topics that the mainstream media does not cover or mention, but that are important to people all over the world. The print news stories are located at http://www.ewtnnews.com/ The value of this source is to see news reports that are not beholden to the US government or corporate advertisers.
Many of the topics covered are regarding attacks on Christian communities around the world such as in Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan anywhere else they occur. These are stories that the mainstream media does not usually cover in their reporting, mainly because the US government is silent on the issues to their international relationships.
Named after Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (activist labor organizer), Mother Jones is a non-profit news organization that produces a bi-monthly magazine and a web site. The Foundation for National Progress is the group that supports Mother Jones, as well as another three programs that seek to create, educate and expand independent journalism. Although a non-profit, Mother Jones does use advertising dollars to fund their journalism. Their ad policy is available on their website. They state that these advertising funds account for 1/3 of their income.
Known as a “left-leaning” organization, Mother Jones focuses on political, social justice, and investigative reporting, but insists that they will investigate and write about whatever needs to be brought to light, no matter what political persuasion. For instance, this story on the union between Hollywood and politics focuses on the super-PACs for the democrats. It’s an interesting read for the course, especially after watching Wag the Dog.
The web site is busy with ads, as well as brief nods to the news of the day, but one can access many of the articles from the print magazine. The latest issue also had a piece on mental illness in the U.S., focusing on journalist Mac McClelland’s schizophrenic cousin. This is the type of news I like to read – well researched and in-depth, rather than just the quick sound bites that we have grown accustom to.
It tends to be left-leaning, as many non-mainstream news sites seem to be, but is not too ideologically rigid. It is called an “online magazine” and has a mix of longer, investigative pieces and shorter more current stories. They often put an alternative spin on issues and look at them from unpopular viewpoints. Many of their articles have interesting titles like Take the Online Sexual Harassment Course That Would Have Saved Bob Filner! and Yes, Virginia, You’re a Haven for “Crime Guns”. Several of its former writers have reached national prominence as columnists like Princeton Economics Professor Paul Krugman, who now writes for the New York Times, and Fareed Zakaria who has a show on CNN. The site is partly owned by the Washington Post and is supported by ad revenue.
News.com.au (news from Australia)
I found this Australian news site quite entertaining. It’s basically laid out much the same that many of our local news sites are, with advertisements and junk news for those who want it. However, I thought the World and Top news stories had an interesting format, unlike our ‘story’ type layout for news articles, I noticed that many of these are more like bullet point statements. There isn’t a lot of personal opinion in many of these stories (at least not the ones I read).
I chose this website because my grandmother subscribes to their magazine and I enjoy reading it. The articles in the magazine are often brief but informative and they usually at least make an effort to present both sides of a story if it is a controversial issue. They also have a section called how they see us that features a few short articles written in other countries discussing issues either in the U.S. or issues that the U.S. is involved in in other countries.
At first I found the website to be a disappointment while the magazine has some junk news, the ratio of junk news to real news is pretty good. Looking at the homepage of the website it seems like this ratio has changed to about half of each. However after looking around I still found some articles that I thought were really good and relevant. I think that the magazine is better than the website since the website does not have some of what I think are the best features, but I still thing that theweek.com can be a useful website for this class.
As far as ownership I looked down at the bottom and it says it is owned by Felix Dennis. I Googled him and found his website; he is described as a poet and a philanthropist. He owns the publishing company that owns The Week and I found out that it is also published in Australia and the U.K. I think the website makes its money from the publishing of the magazine and the digital downloads of the magazine. I believe they also get revenue from advertisers since they have ads in the magazine and there are also a few ads on the website as well.
I chose the Associated Press, for two reasons, it is a not-for-profit and a cooperative. The AP has been around for a long time, dating back to 1846, covering everything from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, to the death of the Pope John Paul I. The AP is owned by 1,400 daily newspapers that are AP members, these member elect a board of directors that directs the cooperative. The current board includes a variety of CEOs and publishers, with people from the Washington Post and the New York Times. This makes me a little leery, but the board was ethnically diverse, which usually leans towards cultural diversity, which I appreciate. The AP prides itself for keeping up with technology and its website was weak but the mobile app on my ipad was great. There was lots about values and integrity, with direct quotes such as: “The people of the AP are part of the fabric of freedom,” “Honest messengers, mostly anonymous and far from the limelight.”
One of my go-to sites is the Drudge Report. This site compiles news stories and headlines from many different sources to be read in one place. The problem with this site is only news articles that the owner, Matt Drudge, sees fit will go into his report. The website provides links to stories from other news agencies. Because of this, you can choose to view the other articles from the various sources. Internet ads can be seen as you scroll through the different links suggesting that much of the funding is provided by advertisers. The Drudge Report is based mainly on political news, but also contains links to “Junk Food News” in the form of “infotainment”. I usually check the drudge report once a day to see what the various news agencies are reporting on (politically).
The format of the Drudge Report is based on the links Mr. Drudge and his team creates. There will be a group of headlines such as this example:
- QAEDA RISING…
- STATE DEPT ISSUES WORLDWIDE TRAVEL ALERT…
- U.S. EMBASSIES ACROSS MIDDLE EAST TO SHUT DOWN SUNDAY…
- Officials: Chatter among al Qaeda operatives in Yemen led to warnings…
- Rep: Threat ‘very specific’…
- INTERPOL Issues Warning Over Prison Breaks…
Each of the different links will take you to a different news source. Many headline groupings will be different news sources on the same subject.
The Drudge Report, being politically based, is critical of the government and tagged as being conservative in nature. According to Wikipedia, the Drudge Report will sometimes post political stories that other news agencies suppress.
I guess it’s not a secret that I am a political progressive, and I really enjoy the articles on ThinkProgress.org. I began monitoring their site a few years ago after hearing about them on the Air America Radio network. There content is almost 100% political and obviously bent to the left and, technically, is a blog. In the about section of the website they state “Think Progress is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization. They have one a number of awards including “Best Liberal Blog” of 2007; they were an official honoree at the 2009 and 2012 Webby Awards, and were named best blog of the year by the Sidney Hillman Foundation. The blog is supported by by readers donations to the Center of American Progress. There stories are well written and entertaining to read, and though their content is progressive based, they are not affiliated with any political party, or religious organization.