Like more and more people, I get my news online anymore. I’ve tried a number of different techniques to try and get the latest. They tend, however, to be linear.
Either they’re posted to a news site chronologically or they are arranged by the importance assigned to the story by the news editor. Both are awesome ways of handling the news. Pick up your typical newspaper and the big headlines will give you the big news of the day with huge fonts screaming from the top of the paper. Lesser articles appear on the page and they are typically continued on page … There’s also generally a story a little off the record to entice you to buy the paper and find the rest.
It’s the stuff that media literacy is built upon and the London Public Library has put together a great resource to help understand Media Literacy. Links abound to other resources and there really is a wealth of materials to dig into.
The one thread that weaves its way through this sort of presentation is that it is linear and there are editors who are paid nicely to be able to display the stories. They have two bosses – the consumer who wants quick access to the materials and the employer who wants to sell the media and even perhaps change the world.
I’d like to suggest that there’s another way of looking at the top current headlines of the day.
At Reuters, there is a traditional approach to the news. Top news stories and a sidebar on the left gives you the old familiar approach to determining what’s going on world wide.
But, dig a little deeper, and you’ll find Reuters’ News Maps. Here, the news of the day meets Microsoft’s Virtual Earth. News stories are fed to the page, presumably by RSS, and they appear on Virtual Earth. Move your cursor over the dots and see the news titles of the day as tags. Very quickly, you can see what’s happening worldwide. Find a teaser that really intrigues you and a link will take you to the complete story. What an efficient way to see what’s happening globally! And, of course, like most mapping programs, you easily zoom in and out to navigate to places of interest.
It serves to remind us that in today’s internet communication age, we are all closer to each other than ever. This will not replace the traditional approach to reading the news but, if you want to find out what’s happening world-wide, it can’t be beat and should be part of your routine to stay on top of happenings world-wide that might otherwise go unnoticed.