The Other News:
Reporting From the Web

Margaret C. Douma
Beacon Correspondent

          Most of us get our news from pretty conventional sources - the news seems to reflect the interest and the attitudes of the mainstream. Some people may complain that a particular news source may be biased, or may not be reporting the stories people ought to (or want to) know about; but someone is watching the standard news broadcasts, reading the usual daily newspapers and the weekly or monthly magazines.

          For those with Internet access however, it has become much easier to find alternative news sources. Perhaps you don't enjoy the editorial viewpoints of newspapers that are owned by Hollinger? Maybe you want to see more in-depth coverage of environmental issues? Or maybe you want catch up on the latest gossip out of Washington? It is all on the Internet.

          So where do you start? It depends, in part, on where your interests lie.

          If you consider the Internet part of your community and want to keep up with news there, try Wired. It has been around long enough and is well-established enough to be almost mainstream, although I suspect that this partly reflects on how the online community has changed in the last decade - a much broader slice of the population has a stake in the Internet, both as users and investors. You'll find articles on business, culture and technology, as well as other links.

          If you are interested in the lives of people at the lowest rungs of the Internet business ladder, you might enjoy NetSlaves.

          I spent a lot of time at Internet fraud, Biblical prophecies, famous scientists and much more. Be warned, having your site highlighted here is not always a good thing.... There is no lack of stuff to catch one's eye there. The site is not particularly Lynx-friendly however.

          Mario's Cyberspace Station has plenty of interesting material. China, the Balkans, Kashmir, the CIA World Fact Book and links to news web-sites, organized by country, to name but a few. All in all, more than 400 pages linking to news archives worldwide. There was some bad HTML when I visited - Lynx can manage, but Netscape crashed. And crashed. And crashed. Turning off JavaScript in Netscape's Options (or Preferences, depending on your version) stopped this though.

          The Drudge Report, famous (or is that notorious) for having brought the Clinton-Lewinsky affair to public attention is actually less gossipy than I had expected. It has links to many syndicated columnists (as diverse as Dave Barry, Bill Buckley and Roger Ebert), as well as major news organizations like AP, UPI and Reuters.

          If you would like to look around for some alternative information sources, try the Wiley World links. It is an interesting list. You can also try any of the search engines, using keywords for topics that are of particular interest to you.

          Alternative internet news sources are now quite common and will no doubt become more so as time goes on: they can start up with next to no expenses, can target any specific audience segment, and the lack of content "filtering" that happens in the conventional media provides them with an edge over the older, slower traditional news outlets. The high level of competition between the online resources also provides incentive for accurate reporting: the web audience will quickly go elsewhere if they are being lied to or misinformed by a news site.


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Margaret C. Douma,


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