Wednesday, July 03, 2013

get your news for free

In an age where a most of the developed world is online, is more or less literate and many of us have access to mobile devices, the majority of first world news at least starts with "citizen journalism".

Add to this the fact that newsrooms around the developed world have made no secret of the fact that they are cost cutting and downsizing.

This downsizing means that fewer reporters cover more stories and there is less room for specialisation.

Gone are the days of the qualified journalist with a wealth of knowledge about, for example, the law covering the courts and other legal matters. We're lucky if the people writing for syndicated news outlets about recent court cases have even stepped foot in a courtroom, let alone made a phone call to check facts.

Time constraints and a lack of resources means we get a lot of quick snippets based on first reactions. They are often poorly written, as the reporters concentrate on haste, not facts and quality, and copy editors are also stretched to the limit, so details slip through the cracks.

So what do we as consumers, get in return for this reduced quality product? Cheaper newspapers? Free or ad supported websites?

In fact, we pay more for the physical newspaper and now we also face a pay wall on news websites, at least on the two major sources: Fairfax and News.

So what is the answer?

If you're online, there is a plethora of sources. Using well managed bookmarks or rss feeds you can get even more news than the major sources can hope to offer.

Most mobile devices have apps that let you arrange your rss feeds or bookmarks like a magazine, so that you can tailor your reading to your own preference. I use Flipboard, but some people prefer something like Pulse. There are plenty to choose from.

For sources, look at Al Jazeera, Google news, Slate, Guardian Australia.

In fact, simply by viewing the Google news sub-site, you will see these sources and more, with links to stories from news sources you have never heard of.

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