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New views of news

One of the things I find most challenging and most exciting is sharing with my students the growing number of options for examining the news and for discovering that not all news is western.  I practically jump up and down like a crazy person when I see my students habitually returning to the same limited site for current events.

I point to many news sources in my newsy pathfinders.

But here’s a tour of a few of my favorite options:

TimeSpaceWorld is an interactive world map that allows users to geographically navigate articles, photos, video and commentary. Examining the map, students easily discover global hot-spots geographically.  They can use the slider to focus their searches by date and hour.

Google NewsTimeline organizes search results chronologically on a graphical time-line.  Sources include Google News, Google News Archive, magazines, newspapers–major dailies and locals–and blog posts.  Focus on a decade or drill down to a specific year, month, week or date.  Adjust the size of the columns and specify the size of the document.  My students find the NewsTimeline incredibly useful for studying contemporary events.  They are also fond of the other Timeline option that appears in the left frame after a regular Google search.

Google FastFlip is a graphic display of flippable magazine pages.  Stories are grouped in categories: entertainment, business, opinion, politics, and most viewed.  Users can customize the page, selecting titles they most prefer to view.  If you are signed in to Google, the site will  predict and personalize your news preferences.   View a  full list of the sources at

Every hour 10 X 10 collects the

100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale, and presents them as a single image, taken to encapsulate that moment in time. Over the course of days, months, and years, 10×10 leaves a trail of these hourly statements which, stitched together side by side, form a continuous patchwork tapestry of human life,

from leading international news sources My students enjoy navigating breaking news by scanning 100 images in the automatically generated dynamic grid or the tags along the right of the box.

Mashpedia aggregates content from multiple web services to provide an integral and real-time outlook of every topic. It allows us to get our arms around the great variety of types of content on most breaking stories.  The multimedia content that quickly populates the results page, includes newspapers, magazines, blogs, books, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and more.

Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages, from the Washington, D.C. news museum, displays local, national, and international daily newspaper front pages in their original, unedited form.  Front pages can be organized in gallery, list, or map views, and students may opt to examine top ten and archived content.

Newsmap visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator using a treemap visualization algorithm.  This cluster approach results in bands that reveal levels of coverage and patterns in reporting across regions of the globe and time.  National tabs allows for comparisons of coverage across countries.

Headline Spot, one of the very handy Spot Networks, is a rich portal leading to news from all over the world and organizing news.  Students can easily access news by media type, geographic location, subject, or from aggregated collections of op-ed pieces, political cartoons, columnists, critics, and much more.

The Week in Rap is a weekly summary of news headlines in the form of a short rap video.  Lyrics are included and linked to relevant news stories. The site was created by Flocabulary, an educational publisher that creates original hip-hop music and standards-based curricular materials to teach academic content for grades 3-12.

Zunia is designed a an online network for knowledge exchange among development professionals worldwide, but it provides students with news and a variety of critical documents on a wide range of  issues including the economy, government, environment, education, health, society, culture, science and technology.

PressDisplay calls itself the world’s largest online newspaper kiosk, where you can browse and read hundreds of full content premium newspapers and magazines from around the globe.  Students may customize the home page, select favorite papers, browse and sort news by type, location, language.  RSS feeds and email alerts are available.  It may be interesting to compare readers’ choice of stories with editors’ choices.  While much of PressDisplay’s content is freely available, paid subscribers get additional full-text and other premium features.

New York Times Topic Pages aggregate news, photos, graphics, audio, and video files on 14,000 major topics dating back to 1981.  Some topics pages include additional features selected by Time’s editors to guide researchers: short introductory essays, archive highlights and topic Navigators, and recommended websites and blogs and selected articles from other publications,  as well as book lists, with links to Times book reviews. Topics pages include archive searches, lists of related terms, and options for subscribing to RSS feeds or e-mail alerts.  (BTW, don’t miss the New York Times’ Learning Network for outstanding curriculum written around Times articles.)

BBC One-Minute World News offers pull-down menus for each world region. Select a country or territory to see a profile, as well as current news and selected links.

WatchingAmerica reflects and translates global opinion.  Without an agenda of its own, the nonprofit site offers news and opinions published by foreign press about the United States.

We hope that the insights gained by reading various points of view will help to raise level of debate, open minds, and promote understanding among the people of the world.

News-Basicsmotto is Everyone should know at least this much. Developed by my old college buddy, author Michael Laser, the goal here is developing impartial context and background for understanding major stories.  Each article covers the key facts you need to know, describes conflicting opinions, and leads you to sources of more detailed information. You may be confused about globalization when you start reading, but you’ll know more than most people when you finish.

CNN Student News is a ten-minute, commercial-free, daily news program for middle and high school students produced by the journalists and educators at CNN. The site offers a variety of teaching goodies: suggested activites, discussion questions, downloadable maps, and transcripts.

And then there are a variety of portals that simply point students to the press of other countries.  In some cases, merely seeing the lack of national coverage is a lesson in itself.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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