Listening To the World, Or Only People Like Us?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where do you get your news?

I get all of mine online. That's right, I've given up on the telly and newspapers entirely. But that's not actually what I meant by my question.

For example, I find it incredibly odd that here in Australia we get next to no mainstream news about our closest geographical neighbours New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Indonesia. Only if there is a major coup or natural disaster or some Australians were killed do we hear anything from these countries. When it comes to what's going on overseas, all we ever seem to hear is English and American news.

So I get all my news online. I read several newspapers online. I am subscribed to a gazillion special interest blogs. I have Google Alerts set up for specific topics that I want to know all about. I rely on Twitter to tell me of any major international incidents. So do I hear from a wide variety of sources? No. I'll explain in a minute.

I was already aware that my sources of information were quite limited. If they weren't then logically I'd hear about what's going on in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Indonesia, amongst others. But I don't and it has bothered me for some time without me doing much about it. And then I watched this TED talk on how we tend to only gather news from sources that are people like us. That cuts out a lot of interesting happenings and points of view and is exactly the trap I had fallen into.

If you're curious about what's going on in the world like I am, it makes sense to look for sources of news outside your country and also outside of your usual social networks. What other way is there to hear from places underrepresented in your mainstream media than to look beyond your own media? What other way is there to gain completely different perspectives but to listen to people who have lives completely different to your own?

In the spirit of seeing a problem and asking 'how can I?' instead of 'why can't I?'...
How can I source news more widely?
Here are some of my suggestions:

Where do you go to hear what's on outside your usual circle?

Photo courtesy of Tony₂

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