Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


How to really get your news online

April 10, 2011

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard

Online newspapers like The Post-Standard's Internet presence, Syracuse.com, provide a sit-at-your-keyboard way to catch up on what's going on in your town, your state and the world.

But serious news junkies need more. They're the kind of people who, in pre-Internet days, would buy out-of-town newspapers and airmailed editions of the New York Times, and these days they still need multiple sources for their news.

You can be a news junkie, too, and you can do much more than your print-bound forerunners were able to do. Let's take a look at websites that satisfy that craving, all without charge.

-- AP, at www.ap.org. The Associated Press is the world's largest news organization. You'll see lists of stories at the AP site with links to full accounts. AP is sometimes preoccupied with political news, but it is serious about other coverage, too.

-- Reuters, at www.reuters.com. Brits call their treasured news service "Reuter," but plural or not, Reuters is unmatched in providing reports on national and world news independent of the subtle U.S. biases that show up in many American accounts.

-- The Guardian, at www.guardian.co.uk. Possibly the best non-U.S. newspaper for American news junkies. Serious and humorous at the same time, with a touch of whimsey -- British news with a good U.S. and world beat as well.

-- The Post-Standard, at www.syracuse.com. Good local news, although stories sometimes seem too brief. Obituaries are a plus.

-- The Daily Beast, at thedailybeast.com . Often offers an encyclopedic look at news-making events such as the Bernie Madoff scandal.

-- PolitiFact, at politifact.com . Checks political statements for accuracy, without regard to political leanings. It's run by the St. Pete Times and won a Pulitzer Prize. Statements get a Truth-o-Meter rating: True, Mostly True, Half True, Barely True, False, and, yes, "Pants on Fire."

-- Refdesk, the "Fact Checker for the Internet," at www.refdesk.com . News, facts, interesting tidbits. Reliability is high. Great for settling friendly disputes and for aiding homework.

-- Altpress, at www.altpress.org. Alternative and usually independent press reports, from mildly critical to way-out-in-left (or right) field. A great tonic for dull establishment news.

-- Topix.net, a customizable news feed especially good for following trends, from www.topix.net.

There's much more, of course. For a cool way to get individualized news reports, set up some Google alerts. I tell how at www.technofileonline.com/texts/tec102608.html.