A Different Point of View

Way back when I was in college, I used to go to the university library and read newspapers from around the world. Most internationally recognized papers printed an English language version, and it was interesting for me to get a perspective on how other countries viewed the same goings on throughout the world. Sure, the news was a few days old but back then we weren’t used to instantaneous reporting 24/7. The French newspaper Le Monde is just one example of how I spent my free time at 19 years old. They say History is written by the victors. But in real time, journalists are writing from their own cultural perspectives what will be the basis for our history, and it’s a telling read.

Language matters in this perspective. I learned early on that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter looking for justice. Think back to how the British would have written about Americans during The Revolutionary war. It wouldn’t have been positive. If we had lost, we’d have been terrorists ourselves. And we see it today in the protests over social justice in the Black Live Matter uprisings around the globe. We’ve heard leaders in the US call them thugs or terrorists. While others are calling them heroes demanding peace and equality for all.

I still read newspapers and news outlets from around the world, especially those in Spain. So I thought I would share where some of my global perspectives come from, in case you’d like to check them out. Some are available in an English (more abbreviated) version. Others will require you to use your naturally embedded translation software in your browser – either Bing or Google Chrome do a decent job. Since I’m starting my Spanish instruction again – I’m trying to read them in Spanish daily before I translate them. To challenge myself to get the gist of the article before I breakdown and read it in English.

Note: Like with any news, we all have to read it in the context in which it was written. Where did it originate? What are their biases? But more importantly – What are our own biases in absorbing information? With that, here you go:

El Pais is a good source of both the news of Spain and also Latin America. Based in Madrid, when you read this paper you’ll get a sense that the US isn’t the center of the universe to everyone in the world. And the perspective are very different than what you might read on CNN.com. It’s also available in English but there are a lot less articles in that version.

If you want to know what’s going on in Valencia, you might check out Las Provincias. It breaks down the Valencian Communitat by province – Aliante, Castellon and Valencia – and focuses on this region in particular. If you read the headings across the top banner you’ll see what’s important to the community. Fallas, Futbol, Society. I like reading the police blotter.

AlJezeera isn’t something most people read back in the US. It’s been maligned by US politicians for a long time. But their reporting is global – not just confined to the Middle East. And you can get news there you can’t get anywhere else from their network of journalists from all backgrounds, all around the world. Yes, it’s funded by the Qatari Government, but it encourages debate and gives a fulsome perspective on a number of topics – big and small – very different to what we see in the US. You’ll read about things here you won’t see anywhere else. And it’s Jeff’s fav.

Le Monde is the French newspaper I read. The perspectives of the French are very, very different than English speaking newspapers. In my experience, the headlines are more closely aligned with the actual article and they don’t pull punches. Again, like Aljezeera, you’ll see a focus on areas of the world that US mainstream media doesn’t bother to cover. There are more articles regarding what’s happening in Africa, for instance. Or perhaps the impact of climate change or COVID-19 on the populations of developing countries.

Zeit is a German newspaper that sprang up after WWII. It’s a progressive perspective – to be sure. But I like that they have a Knowlege section. As thought the rest of the news isn’t about learning anything. Ha!

And finally, I really like The Conversation. The information I get here is backed by experts in science and tech. And is top notch reporting. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself. You can chose English or translate it. I’ll let them say it in their own words:

The Conversation is a source of news and analysis written by the academic and research community and directed directly at society.

Our team of editors works with experts to transfer their knowledge to readers.

Our goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the great contemporary issues and complex issues.

We want to collaborate in the qualitative improvement of citizen conversation, because we believe that access to independent, quality, rigorous and explanatory information is the basis of a healthy democracy.

Of course, we read stuff on Reddit and other news aggregators. But I notice that I almost never see the outlets mentioned above as the originator of any one of the 50 article I scroll through there on a daily basis.

When we bought a map of the world (El Mundo) here, so we could start putting pins in our travels while we live here (we ran out of pins, so those are on order) we learned that the rest of the world doesn’t put the US right at the center of the map. Funny how that changes your perspective on our place in the world. And I hope reading something new from a new source might add to your understanding, as it’s certainly enhanced mine over the years. I’d love to hear if you have a place you rely on for journalistic integrity and fresh, well-rounded perspectives, too.

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