We have more information, but less news.
We have more information, but we understand the world less and have less perspective on global events than people in the past.
An information age paradox.
Alisa Miller in this 4 minute TED Talk explains how this has happened:
This is frightening. We live in a world in which issues that emerge in one part of the globe affect us on the other side. We live in a time when we need to understand cultures and societies on a deeper level, yet we are getting less news and less context all the time from Western news sources. Foreign bureaus close and citizen journalists (which some have described in effectiveness as being similar to citizen dentists) are expected to fill holes in the information.
So how to get information into your classroom and where to look for sources? While I am a firm believer in traditional sources such as the CBC and the BBC especially, I also delve deeply into two other places. The first of these is Ethan Zuckerman’s Global Voices Online. A home of media from around the world that are ignored by more traditional sources, I love the breadth of global voices and it how it allows people seeking information to customize it according to their needs, and also take part in the conversations through commenting.
The other site I have begun to use more and more is the English network of Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera digs deep into stories and is an essential source of news and context for the developing world and the global South. Al Jazeera journalists spend time in places traditional news sources simply don’t. While including this information source might be controversial, I think it is an increasingly important place to go for news.
I’m also finding other websites that we wouldn’t normally think of as “news sites,” containing faster moving information. Youtube, flickr and Wikipedia often are immediately updated with photos, videos and text when events happen. Searching out sources such as these, moving outside of traditional information streams and teaching students how to find and evaluate what they find online is becoming a skill that is more important for teachers and students.