I have been asked where I get my news from, since I seem to have access to information that others do not. People want me to give them one website, but the truth is that there really isn’t one, so here’s what I do….
Using Face Book:
1. Search for news from other countries. Type in the country name followed by the word news. For example, type into the search bar Japan news. Look at the pages that come up and decide which ones you want to see on your feed, then move onto a different country. By using this method you will see news from many different perspectives. Will it be biased? Sure. But having more than one perspective presented to you will help you figure out what is actually going on!
2. Search for newsfeeds from the embassies. Type in the country name then the word embassy. You may even find a FB page by the ambassador. This will give you yet another perspective of what is happening globally.
3. For local news, follow your elected officials’ FB page. Whether you like them or not, it is helpful to know what they are up to!
4. For national news, find newspaper pages from other states. Try small towns as well as the big cities. Right now Western NY is really upset over Governor Cuomo’s order that ventilators may be removed from upstate NY to help in NYC. This is a perspective you will not here from news sources only based in NYC!
5. Also follow government leaders’ pages from other states, as well as from other nations. Almost everyone has an FB page, and since there are so many English speakers in the world, many countries that do not speak English still invest in a social media page for their leaders that is in English.
6. Follow pages regarding topics you are interested in from leaders in the field. Choose ones that seem objective and not only ones that agree with your position. It is important to hear the other side’s argument if you are going to make an informed decision. For example, during the COVID 19 pandemic you may want to follow the World Health Organization, the CDC, the AMA, some research labs who are working on the issues, as well as news sources from major and local hospitals. There are also pages by doctors who discuss current events in medicine such as ZDoggMD (aka Doc Vader) and Kevin MD. If you are employed in a certain field, there are also pages dedicated to it. If you are interested in conservation, the zoos and other organizations have FB pages. There are also pages dedicated to hobbies and other special interests.
7. Look at the titles of the shared pages you come across that you find interesting and like the page they come from to broaden your perspective even further. This is how you find the more obscure pages, which often have great, but local, information. I have more knowledge of Russia and New Zealand than I ever thought I would because of the pages I found interesting!
8. If you meet friends from other countries, follow them on FB as well. You can always ask what they think about international news, and they will typically post things about their country as well.
9. Feel free to unlike a page. Many of the news sources I began with were either fluff or so filled with propaganda they were useless. This is okay. I got rid of those and found others along the way.
10. Share with friends so they know what is going on as well. Be discriminating, not everything needs to be shared, but when it is good and interesting, share away. I do this better face to face than on FB, as I do not enjoy FB wars when someone does not agree with something and feels the need to become emotional about it, so you will have to determine the level you are comfortable sharing as well.
11. There are also translated novels from other countries as well as music with English subtitles etc. on the internet. A great way to learn about another culture is to immerse yourself in its entertainment. Right now my children have me reading translated Chinese novels, which are pretty good!
12. If you do not want your face book page overrun with news, but would like to do this, set up a second page just for this. That way you will still see all of your friends’ posts and be able to switch over to news any time you would like. You can use the same method on Twitter, but Twitter has changed and is prioritizing more popular posts as well as showing more and more suggested posts, which is keeping the more obscure things I like to look at from being easily viewed…. (In the research world, PubMed is using a similar algorithm. My pet peeve is that we are homogenizing what people see, so that everyone will think we are all on the same page, when actually many are not!)
Hopefully this will help you have a more balanced view of the world, and will keep the media more accountable. When the Boston Bombing occurred, I had people from Boston who were there posting, and knew things before our local media aired them, including people giving away their coats and water to the racers who could not make it to the finish line and people turning off their wifi passwords so everyone could get messages to loved ones, which made me proud to be an American. When Ukraine went through their civil war, average people were posting, and others were sharing, until the government turned off their internet. There is also the cutest video of President Trump’s granddaughter singing in Mandarin for the Chinese president, whom she calls ‘grandfather.’ While we may not have the best relationship with China, little Arabella has its president wrapped around her little finger, and the Chinese internet has nicknamed her the goodwill ambassador! And we all need some cute, wholesome news every once in a while….