Thursday, December 20, 2007

Web news guide

I've taken too long to read and mention the book I was sent as a review copy, Consider the Source. Published this year by Information Today, it's a guide to 'prominent news and information sites on the Web', written by a journalism professor, James F. Broderick and a reporter, Darren W. Miller. (Nice interview with the two of them at

Broderick and Miller also maintain a Website called The Reporter's Well, where links to all 100 sources profiled in the book can be found, as well as a blog (not recently updated), information for writers, and news of a new book on The Web of Conspiracies (coming soon).

The book consists of 3-4 page descriptions of the websites, with screenshots, information on layout and content, and some facts about the sites. For someone who reads news sites all the time, there isn't much new here. But I will admit to finding a couple I didn't know.

The selection of sites ranges from newspapers to broadcast sites, to gossip and politics sites, including some government and international organizations' sites. It's a fascinating overview of what's out there, and mentions sites I wouldn't have thought of as in the top 100 news and information sites, but all the choices are logical. (Hard to not smile at something that goes from Amnesty International to the FBI to Rotten Tomatoes and The Smoking Gun -- and from Michael Moore to the NRA.)

The sites are also ranked, and only five of the 100 sites got '5 newspaper' ratings: the BBC, The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, CBS, and NPR. (Only two got the lowest rating, 1/2 newspaper: Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.)

There wasn't much here for me that I didn't know, but for someone just looking for reliable sources for news online, this book could be useful. One correspondent who'd seen the book found it shallow with throw-away anecdotes about the news sources, and no detail on how the Web sites are edited. But this isn't a book for news researchers or journalists, I expect. For everyone else it's a good guide to places to go for news and information.


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