Searching for News - Beyond the Headlines

While having a handle on breaking news is important, the sheer quantity of news and its often frightening implications can make you crazy. It's helpful to have filters -- commentary, analysis, alternative points of view -- to help you make sense of the chaos taking place in the world today.

Here are a number of sites I'm finding helpful for keeping a balanced perspective on the news. There's no particular relationship among them, other than they offer thoughtful, high quality information.

Today's Papers

Today's Papers takes a critical look at how a number of major newspapers are covering top stories, comparing approaches and often pointing out discrepancies in reportage. The analysis is written by journalists who occasionally use newsroom jargon; if this leaves you puzzled there's a link to a glossary of terms at the bottom of each page.

Sky News

Sky News offers an overview and analysis of the front pages of U.K. papers, complete with images. The link above is the closest you can get -- scroll down to the lower left corner of this page and click on the button for "The Papers" to run a popup "slide show" of front pages.

Opinion Pages

Opinion Pages is a database that provides access to the most current editorials, opinions, commentaries and columnists from English newspapers and magazines on the World Wide Web. It also lets you search more than 200 Letters to the Editor Web pages. The design of the site is a bit awkward, but if you're interested in Op-Ed and reader commentary it's an invaluable resource.

The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute is a school for journalists, future journalists, and teachers of journalism with a mission of promoting excellence and integrity in the practice of craft. Its web site is a rich resource for understanding the news, offering stories by staff, links to some of the best journalism on the web, opinion from regular columnists, and much more.

Scroll about half-way down the home page for links to in-depth attack and war related coverage, including images from 237 Day-After front pages and 179 Extra Edition front pages.

Foreign Media Reaction

The U.S. Department of State's Office of Research produces a daily roundup and analysis of foreign media commentary on a major foreign policy issue or related event. These reports provide a global round-up of editorials and op-ed commentary from major newspapers, magazines and broadcast media around the world. Though these reports aren't published to the web until a week after they see print, they still provide an excellent summary of what the rest of the world's media thinks about important recent events.


Stratfor writes incisive commentary on geopolitical issues. Its staff consists of business professionals and intelligence professionals with backgrounds in the military, academia and leading think tanks. A variety of journalists and editors also serve on the staff. Stratfor's analysis can get quite technical, but it's always thought-provoking, and often offers information that doesn't seem to be available anywhere else.

Jane's Information Group

Jane's Information Group is widely regarded as one of the most authoritative sources for defense, aerospace and transportation information. Their coverage of recent events has been excellent. While much of the content on the site is available only to subscribers, there's enough that's free to make this a worthwhile stop on your quest for understanding the news.

Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index!

Editorial cartoons do a wonderful job of capturing opinion in pithy images. Cagle's index has links to most of the major editorial cartoonists around the world -- including those who are critical of the U.S. or are even supportive of Bin Laden and the al Qaeda network.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

BBC News Online blocked at Apec...
BBC Oct 18 2001 12:45PM GMT
Highlights of Ixquick Metasearch - Web Search Tip of the Day...
About Web Search Oct 18 2001 12:45PM GMT
Patents, Royalties, and the Future of the Web...
XML Oct 18 2001 11:57AM GMT
Googles Secret Formula...
Wired News Oct 18 2001 9:41AM GMT
Firm Hoisted By Own Misspelling Petard In Domain Dispute... Oct 18 2001 9:32AM GMT
LookSmart to Offer Customers Comprehensive Campaign Analytics...
Yahoo Oct 17 2001 11:09AM GMT
ATG Adds AltaVista Vet... Oct 17 2001 9:39AM GMT
Anti-terrorist laws call for a record of all email and web use... Oct 17 2001 8:55AM GMT
China unblocks news Web sites...
CNN Europe Oct 17 2001 1:39AM GMT
MSNBC launches Arabic news site...
ZDNet Oct 16 2001 6:26PM GMT
Microsofts MSN plans to step up rivalry with AOL...
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Oct 16 2001 1:21PM GMT
A Closer Look at Weblogs... Oct 16 2001 11:59AM GMT
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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.