In 2018 I plan to read the news somewhere different for each week of the year, broadening my exposure to world events and international perspectives.
It’s easy to depend on one or two favourite news sources, either because they are convenient, because they reflect our politics, or because they show us the kinds of stories we like to read. That’s fine, but whether we check a website, read a paper copy, or get our news from the TV or radio, that source is shaping our view of the world all the time. An editor is telling us what the most important things in the world are right now, what we should know and care about, and often how we should feel about it.
As well as telling us what’s important, our news sources tell us how much we should know about stories, through how much coverage they give to particular issues. On some stories we’ll get every new development, rumour or insinuation, and then what everyone else said or did in response to those rumours and insinuations. Other stories, by comparison, only get mentioned occasionally.
There are more news sources than ever before, and news is more customisable than it has ever been. We can choose what we see, curate our own feeds according to our interests. A good number of people get their news through social media, which filters everything through our preferences and excludes viewpoints we’d find uncomfortable. It’s very easy to live in a media bubble, and that’s a big factor in the polarisation of political opinion.
So I’ve been compiling a list of news sources from all around the world. Each week I will take one news outlet to be my first port of call for the news that day. It won’t be the only one – I’ll go and look things up elsewhere if there’s something significant happening. It’s about setting the agenda more than anything else. This week I’m getting my news from The Jakarta Post. Naturally there’s a lot of local news that has little relevance to me, but I’m not reading an Indonesian newspaper to learn about Indonesia. I’m reading it to get an Indonesian take on world affairs. For example, Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle gets one article which tells me everything I need to know. There are stories from Israel, Japan and Korea, and I don’t know what Donald Trump tweeted overnight.
At the end of last year I asked you where you get your news, and a number of you got in touch with your recommended news sources. I’ve been putting them together, doing some research, and I’ve got over 50 sources altogether. Now I’m scanning through them for quality, and assigning them slots so that I get a balance over the course of a month. If you’ve got a news source you’d like to recommend, it’s not too late to add to the list. I’m particularly interested in quality English language services produced in the non-English speaking world. At the moment I’m looking for a couple more sources from South America, if you know of any.
It’s a personal project and I don’t know yet what I’m going to find, so I won’t bore you with every detail. I will try and post the final 50 sources, and I’m aiming for a post a month or so on what I’m learning. Just in case you’d like to join me, I’ll mention the next week’s news source in my weekly links roundup.
- Feature image by Igor Ovsyannykov