Google News: Advantage of using news readers

Online news is more than just reading the same stuff online…it’s a great way of comparing how news is presented across different news papers

Given that newspapers are our sole source of information on a variety of issues, news bias is a serious issue. In the days of reading on paper, I would subscribe to one, or at most two newspapers and read through them cursorily. But thanks to Google News (and other such news search engines), I now compare the presentation of news across newspapers. Google news puts together articles on a topic from newspapers across the world, and does a very good job of it. By a click of a button, I now can read how different newspapers deal with an issue across space and ideological spectrum.

For example, when there is an issue between India and Pakistan, it’s useful to read a few Indian news papers and at least Dawn from Pakistan. Between Guardian UK, NY Times (USA), Hindu (India) and a spattering of Tamil Newspapers, I get more unsettled view of than I would with just one news source….and thank god, all this is just a few clicks away.

One does not have to do this for every issue – that would be boring. But by putting a few headlines next to each other, Google News itself indicates discrepancies on occasions (see image below for example, courtesy Google News). Some issues are inherently divisive e.g. Tony Blair’s legacy. When it comes to one such issue, it’s very useful to consult a variety of sources. And of course, there are topics of one’s interest, where we’d like to see how things are portrayed across newspapers.

Google news snapshot

About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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