Where Do You Get Your News?

By Flickr user Matt Callow (Creative Commons)

For someone who spends eight-plus hours a day in front of a laptop, working at an organization with an Internet domain for a name, I am really, embarrassingly, behind on my current events. I usually make an effort to scan through a few major headlines, but this obviously has its flaws (I offer you two words: Balloon Boy).

Today, I’m thanking my lucky stars that I’ve been clued in to two awesome sites that tell the other stories — the ones that we, as independent contributors and consumers of information, deem important. These underreported stories may not have Hollywood thrills and romance, but they clearly touch us, the public.

First up: Global Voices. Global Voices describes itself as “an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world.” These bloggers are volunteers from around the world who, along with part-time staff editors, decide which articles will be published to the site.

Global Voices has covered topics like equal marriage rights in Argentina, allegations of election fraud in Guinea, and Palestinian exiles. Parlez-vous français? Español? Polski? Global Voices has a team of translators, and the site is available in a dozen languages.

There is also CrowdVoice, the “user-powered service that tracks voices of protest from around the world.” Like Global Voices, CrowdVoice’s content is “chosen and approved by the community.” Each “voice” is a multimedia resource center for a given cause, which individual users can also upload and link to.

A few of the many issues covered are Repression of Dissent in Russia, Censorship in China, and LGBT Rights in Uganda. A hat tip to the excellent Ashoka blog, which featured CrowdVoice first.

The best part? You can subscribe to/follow any article or voice that piques your interest, which means one less excuse that I have to fall behind in my current events. Write on, good people. Write on.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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Newspapers Go Nonprofit

By Flickr user allaboutgeorge (Creative Commons)

We all know that traditional print media companies are converting to online and new media formats as fast as they can. But did you know that news services are also converting to the nonprofit sector in larger and larger numbers?

Of course, nonprofit and independent publications, radio stations, and websites have been around for a while. But only recently has the nonprofit model come to be seriously considered as the future of the whole newspaper industry. The nonprofit news model is appealing because it allows journalists to cover the stories they think are important, rather than the ones that will have the most shock value and gain the most clicks and advertising revenue.

If you want to know more about how nonprofit news sites are run, check out this introduction and archived online chat with Andrew Donahue, the editor of Voice of San Diego. He explains that “In nonprofit funds, foundations enjoy funding specific projects or themes (science or environmental reporting in general), or a project on community successes. However, funders don’t have special access to reporters, don’t control what stories get written and don’t say how the stories are written.”

For examples of thriving nonprofit news sites, look at MinnPost, New Haven Independent, ProPublica, and Voice of San Diego. The Bay Area News Project and the Texas Tribune are about to launch and add themselves to the mix.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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Start Spreading the News…

New Yorkers: Unless you can read over 90 languages, and visit every neighborhood of the entire metro area on a weekly basis to pick up more than 300 publications, how can you keep up with everything that’s going on around the city?

The Independent Press Association of New York offers a (free) way to make it easier: Voices That Must Be Heard, which ” translates and disseminates the best articles from New York’s immigrant and ethnic newspapers and magazines via email and on the internet.”

New Yorkers, no matter what their ethnicity, can gain a lot of perspective on their city and the world by reading this weekly roundup of articles. Readers can become aware of current events that aren’t given emphasis in the mainstream media, they can learn of opinions they wouldn’t have heard from people they know, and they can read articles that they may not have been able to comprehend before they were translated into English.

Even more importantly, many nonprofits, government agencies, and media sources subscribe to Voices That Must Be Heard. Some of them are undoubtedly using the diverse perspectives and news sources to make more informed decisions.

Do you know about any similar efforts going on in other cities or regions of the world? Leave a comment here to let us know.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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