By: Charles Bowen
Can you still remember those discussions you had with your nervous publisher in the late 1980s about whether your newspaper ought to “have a presence” on the Internet? It seems kind of quaint looking back on those days now, doesn’t it?
With the World Wide Web reaching its 10th anniversary this year and every newspaper worth its ink and newsprint already having some kind of electronic extension, our industry worrywarts finally have stopped warning us about how these little computers are primed and ready to gobble up the print media. In fact, newspapers have created such happy homes on the Web that we suddenly find ourselves needing a kind of international, digital newsstand just to keep track of them all.
Fortunately, we have several of them. My newest favorite portal for finding online newspapers certainly will never win a cyberspace beauty contest. Its primary screens look positively “First Wave.” But don’t let its low-tech look fool you. It provides the fastest, easiest links I’ve yet found for reaching any of nearly 3,000 newspapers around the world.
It is the newspapers collection of The Internet Public Library, listing online versions of print-based newspapers. In addition to traditional local and national newspapers, it also identifies official and student-run newspapers from colleges, universities, and primary and secondary schools. To be considered for inclusion, the online version of a newspaper must offer “some significant amount of articles and other information that is free to the general public,” says an online IPL statement. Resources here can be browsed simply by choosing a region or specific country or by a keyword search on the name of the paper or its hometown.
To check out the collection, visit the site at http://www.ipl.org/reading/news. You are greeted by a no-nonsense list of hyperlinked countries and, under the United States section, individual states. Click any to see what papers are online from that part of the world. The system then displays a summary of the newspapers of that region for which it has direct links. Each paper gets three lines in the summary with this information: the hyperlinked name of the paper (click this for direct access), the language in which it is published, the paper’s URL or Web address, the name of the community in which it is published, and its frequency of publication.
You also can browse the collection by the titles of the various papers, regardless of their locations. Scroll to the main page until you find a hyperlinked alphabet. Click a letter to move to the links in that portion of the collection.
A relatively new addition to the IPL newspaper collection is its search facility. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find a data entry box in which you can enter a portion of a paper’s name, a city, or country. For more elaborate search strategy options, click the hyperlinked word “Search” in the text above the search box to reach the feature’s help file.
Other ways to find electronic newspapers on the Web:
1. A site called First Headlines (http://www.1stheadlines.com) monitors lead stories from some 150 newspapers, broadcasters, and online news sources. Each headline is linked for fast access to the full text. The site also has quick search links to find coverage on current hot stories, politics, and international developments as well as the top stories in metro areas from Atlanta and Boston to St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
2. Headline Spot (http://www.headlinespot.com) is a portal to thousands of online news resources, indexed by media type (such as headlines, newswires, newspapers, television) as well as by geographic region, general subject, and opinion sections. Links also are offered to the top news of the day. Headlines are sorted by media type and by subject, with a frequently updated collection of selected headlines in a right-hand column.
3. JournalismNet (http://www.journalismnet.com), a working journalist’s guide to Web resources, has a powerful “Find Papers” feature that you can use to search for electronic newspapers in the United States and Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The page also has links to tips for using online archives, tailoring personal news services through the Net, and tracking breaking news.
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