It is becoming more common for many to receive news and information over the internet these days, from Googlenews to Facebook to RSS feeds for Doonesbury editorial cartoons. All too often, however, the online news sources and wire services fall victim to the urge to cut and paste news these days, rather than engage in original journalism, resulting in a very thin, flat and narrowly focused news landscape. However, a new type of citizen journalism has emerged that provides close up, on the native ground reportage–local perspective with an international scope as netizen bloggers post about events and experiences all over the world.
GlobalVoices.org is an excellent example of networked netizen reporters. The site is based in the Netherlands but also has roots at Harvard and MIT. One of its goals is to share the human side of international events by stretching out to virtual observers and essayists worldwide. GlobalVoices aggregates news and videos from bloggers and can range from student riots in Bangladesh to the different fates of Nobel Prize winners in China. Readers can explore the Voices of Dignity project in Colombia or investigate the awesome depths of censorship in Russia. GlobalVoices has a handy keyword search engine as well as tabs for easy navigation to topics, countries, contributors and many translations–over thirty languages are listed, and many stories are presented with multiple language options.
Prefer to hold the international news in your hand while you peruse? The Community Library has received a generously donated three year subscription to Foreign Policy also available online if you don’t happen to be in the immediate neighborhood. The latest issue has hit the stacks–find it in our in-depth Foreign and National Affairs reading shelf by the fireplace reading circle.
Foreign Policy and GlobalVoices work very nicely together in tandem to broaden and deepen inquiries into events around the world. Foreign Policy’s most recent issue has a list of the 100 Top Global Thinkers of 2012. For instance, legal activist Chen Guangcheng is spotlighted at number nine in the list of global thinkers, with an article on his recent move to Greenwich Village. A quick search of GlobalVoices returns dozens of articles about Chen’s activities both in China and since his escape from detention in Dongshigu. An article about the imprisonment of the woman who helped him escape is translated into English, Spanish, Polish, Catalan, and Malagasy by a cadre of Voices translators. Sadly, there are no followup articles on Chen’s rescuer–netizen reporter Pearl He was said to have disappeared in the April 2012 article. Netizen reporting can be particularly dangerous in areas of the globe that engage in active, and sometimes violent, censorship.
Interested in expanding your global horizons? Come check out The Community Library’s extensive collection of travel books and cultural histories from Siberia to Tierra del Fuego. Newest releases include a book on counterterrorism in Israel, A High Price by Daniel Byman, and A History of Palestine by Gudrun Krämer, providing context for very relevant recent events. Or ask a librarian!