Figuring Out What’s Happening in the World

by Dave Schuler on June 14, 2014

A question about sources for finding out about world events was asked in comments and this post is my attempt at answering it. I think that learning about what’s happening in the world from reading U. S. news sources is very difficult not so much because of partisanship but because that rather than getting 50 different opinions you’re more likely to get the same opinion 50 different times. Most U. S. news sources these days rely on the same wire services and those are two frequently just regurgitating press releases.

In the UK news outlets tend to be affiliated with political parties. You can always rely on The Telegraph (not so affectionately referred to as “the Torygraph”) to give you the Conservative on events, domestic or foreign. The Guardian usually has a Lib-Dem slant. I don’t know of a non-tabloid reliably pro-Labor news outlet. The Mirror is a tabloid, pretty reliably pro-Labour, but specializes in “weird news”. The BBC? I find the Beeb a good source for world news, better than American sources.

I think there’s an occasional analysis piece at Spiegel worth reading and I check in with Deutsche Welle every so often.

My preferred news source for events in Africa and the Near East, particularly former French possessions, is Le Monde. Sadly for Anglophones, there isn’t an English-language version.

If you don’t check in with Pravda’s English language version on world events, you’re really only getting half the story. You will get a drastically different version of the news. I also check in with a half dozen other Russian news sources but they’re all Russian language.

I have found Al Jazeera’s coverage of world news remarkably good.

For world opinion writing, world opinion about the U. S., you really should check out The site features English language translations of opinion writing from all over the world. They’ve asked me to translate Russian opinion writing for them but I’ve demurred.

Anybody have any suggestions?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

TastyBits June 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

I have cut down on who and what I follow. I still check in on Belmont Club. I cannot keep up with the comments, and these were usually the most informative. For me, it provides a thread to pull, but it takes a lot of time to run them to ground.

If you want to keep ahead on racial matters, Field-Negro is a good spot. You may not agree, but you will know months ahead of the mainstream. Again, it only provided the thread for me to pull on if I have the time.

Dave Schuler June 14, 2014 at 10:51 am

Thanks for that reference, TastyBits. I wasn’t familiar with that blog. Looks interesting.

Jeff June 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm


Based upon the few times I have been able to watch, I agree with your assessment of Al Jazeera America (or were you referring to Al Jazeera English which I believe is produced out of Qatar? ‘America’ is produced out of NYC). However, time will tell if it succumbs to cable news ‘popularism’ to achieve ratings success.

You left off your list of mentions The Economist. Was this intentional? There is a definite bent to their coverage, but the perspective and the depth of the stories is sometimes a welcome contrast to other news sources.

As for the rest of the sources published in German, French and Russian, I realize that perhaps Latin was not the best foreign language choice in high school.

Dave Schuler June 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

No, it wasn’t. When I was drafting the post mentally I included The Economist but somehow it slipped away. Yes, The Economist has among the best analysis of any outlet of news and opinion.

CStanley June 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

World Affairs Journal? I’ve migrated over there looking for Michael Totten, and haven’t read that much from the other contributors yet but it seems pretty solid,

I’ve also been looking a bit at Foreign Policy, but don’t have a subscription so only get a few free clicks per month. Seems pretty hawkish but informative.

Ben Wolf June 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Asia Times, Asahi Shimbun.

steve June 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Small Wars Journal, Haaretz in addition to those listed.


.... June 15, 2014 at 9:10 am

Anybody have any suggestions?

Stick your head out the window and see which way the wind is blowing.

.... June 15, 2014 at 9:11 am

I mean, “You can see a lot just by observing.”

This seems to have escaped a lot of people.

Janis Gore June 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Thank you all, I’ve bookmarked this post.

... June 15, 2014 at 6:34 pm

How are you doing, Janis? It’s been a while.

Former screen name Icepick, here.

Janis Gore June 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Well, I haven’t been ignoring you even if I haven’t been commenting.

I take a slight combination of citalopram and conjugated estrogen,
I sold the house, relocated to a rental duplex in Monroe, and am enrolled in a pre-occupational therapy assistant program at ULM. Don’t scoff.

Young women have taken positions straight out of school at $70,000/yr.

The Solomon Island Eclectus, Lucy, is with me, Grey Charles is staying with the vet in Vidalia, and I live in 600 sq. ft. in the Garden District of Monroe, La.

Just gliding in. I’m taking an online intro psych class online through the school to begin. I must be the only bachelor graduate with 162 hours that never had a psych class.

Janis Gore June 15, 2014 at 7:32 pm
Janis Gore June 15, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Big Charles, the brother, has some pre-Stage I Hodgkins relocated into his organs. The chemotherapy is kicking his ass this time. But he has a network of friends helping him .

Why not I? I need to make a living, shortly. It’s a 2-1/2 year program.

Janis Gore June 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Four months of my life went down helping Charles get a diagnosis, again. Seemed pretty simple to me and to him, same symptoms. Ahem, the VA.

I spent six months working part-time night audit at Hampton Inn in Natchez. I’ve never been so screwed up. I don’t know how night shift workers do it.

Of course, Grey Charles was screaming on schedule, and I had to vacate for showings.

Janis Gore June 16, 2014 at 1:24 am

Since I am studying a bit of operative conditioning, I can’t see why you shouldn’t have a bit of reinforcement. She’s a good dancer:

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