International news with less gorn?
August 2, 2016 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I check Bing news every day. I mostly read headlines, but sometimes click through to stories. International news is heavily weighted towards A Really Bad Thing Happened. Where and how can I more reliably find news about economic development and that sort of thing?

I strongly prefer online resources, but please do not feel compelled to limit your suggestions to online things only.

posted by Michele in California to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Just for general overview, I get the Daily Pnut email newsletter, which just gives a good idea of what's going on the world.

For more in depth stuff, I get the (paper) Economist and it has a lot of really good non-"Really Bad Thing" news - partially because it's UK published and therefore more weighted towards non-US stuff (and partially because it's a focus of the magazine). I don't use the online version but I assume a lot of the stuff from the magazine is available online too.
posted by brainmouse at 10:38 AM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: Seconding the Economist. I'm not sure anybody touches them for reach and depth.

Some other sources: Institute of War & Peace Reporting, Der Spiegel, BBC, devex, The Guardian.
posted by General Malaise at 10:53 AM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yet another vote for the Economist (if you can afford it - though since I've let my subscription lapse, I've never hit a limit reading the articles online for free).

I only write separately to note that, in case you are concerned that it's got a conservative bias, it does. However, it's kind of a... genteel conservativism, strictly about pro-market and pro-trade stances, without all the bigoted BS you get in US-based "conservative" sources like Fox News. I find it pretty easy to discount when one is aware of the bias, and it does not at all spoil an otherwise excellent international news source.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:28 AM on August 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I am not very political. I have zero concerns about conservative bias or anything like that. If I can just find news about something other than war crimes and general horror, that's sufficient for now. Maybe I will get pickier later. But, for now, I would just like news about the fabric of society in other places instead of this Othering crap like "all people-of-color nations are the global equivalent of a really bad neighborhood where white folks should not want to walk at all."
posted by Michele in California at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: I like the guardian for this, it will have the big bad stuff that happens but reported in a liberal non-judgemental way. I also get really international news from the BBC World Service podcast called the Global News Podcast.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:52 PM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: The Economist's bias is generally considered "British Conservative," which is a different animal than American conservatives, in many respects. In any case, I wholeheartedly second The Economist.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:03 PM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You have to actively search for this kind of news, and the best place to find it is in the reports and speeches of subject-matter experts. Consider going to youtube. Look for speeches by academics on matters of international development. For example, here's Jeffrey Sachs talking about ending poverty in our generation.

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. You can't find chronic, structural good news in commercial media . . . and for good reason. Commercially-driven media is about delivering attention to advertisers and thus media focuses on stories that are "sticky" to the reader's attention. People pay closer attention to bad news than good news. (Why? Roy Baumeister, et al.'s article Bad is Stronger than Good may supply an answer.) People also pay closer attention to quick, acute changes from the norm than to sustained, constant change. Finally, people pay closer attention to context-specific information, rather than general information applying across many cases (See Base-Rate fallacy) A website that focused on chronic, structural good news -- and that news does exist -- wouldn't grab attention, and advertisers would move elsewhere. Terrorism and shootings are "perfect" news, because they reliably deliver reader's attention.

An example? What's the most important news story from Bangladesh this year? The Dhaka bombing? How about the decade-long spread of basic sanitation, which will indirectly lead to declines in food and water-borne diseases? The change will have profound, positive, long-lasting effects, but this news got very little traction. Essentially, one journalist, Rafiqul Islam, picked up on this story, and it surfaced and disappeared very quickly.
posted by ferdydurke at 4:35 PM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How do you feel about podcasts? PRI's The World has a mix of headline news with some really interesting development and human interest stories, similar to what'd you get with BBC.
posted by the foreground at 5:54 PM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: NPR News is far less sensational than most, and then generally don't cover celebrity stupidity.
posted by cnc at 4:56 PM on August 3, 2016

Response by poster: I am going to put this here so can easily find it again:
posted by Michele in California at 11:45 AM on August 4, 2016

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