Finding The News Online

by Greg Knollenberg
The Internet Writing Journal, August 1998
Online newspapers provide a large amount of content on a variety of subjects. Most major newspapers have enormous websites, with daily content from the print version plus original web content. Often news from tomorrow's print version can be found online the evening before. Online newspapers also have large city sections that contain information for tourists, as well as local entertainment listings. Some of the most well-known U.S. newspapers online include: Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald, LA Times, USA Today and The New York Times.

Finding online editions of newspapers is not difficult. One way to locate the newspaper you are seeking online is to use one of the major search engines. Read the article, "Effective Use of Search Engines" for more information on using search engines effectively. If you know the city or state of the newspaper but not the name you might try searching for, "Newspaper Chicago" or "Newspaper Illinois". Another way to find newspapers quickly is to use one of the major newspaper indexes. These sites will list nearly every newspaper online - with the ability to find newspapers by the name of the paper, city, state or country and/or allow you to search for the newspaper's title. Some of the most popular newspaper directories are AJR NewsLink, Media Finder and the IPL Newspaper Directory.

Major News Hubs

There are many sites that aim to be the major hub for news online. Currently there are several that stand out: CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Nando.net, ABC News, CBS, BBC Online, CBC Newsworld Online and USA Today. Each of these sites allows you to obtain a quick overview of world news. News stories are updated regularly as news comes in. Often real video downloads are also available, which may require the download of a plug-in for your browser to be able to view the videos. Major Internet Service providers such as AOL and major web portals and search engines, such as InfoSeek, Lycos and Yahoo!, also act as major news providers by providing current US and World News.

Audio and Video News Online

In addition to some of the audio and video downloads provided by major news destinations online (CNN, AOL) there are many other live news sources online. Some excellent sources for live broadcasts can be found on the Broadcast.com site and the RealGuide.National Public Radio (NPR) offers live real audio news broadcasts on its website. Many other radio stations also provide audio broadcasted news online.



Specialty News Sites

The are an endless number of specialty news sites providing news on specific topics such as computers, science, politics, medicine, sports, publishing, financial news, entertainment news, alternative media news, weather etc. These are some of the major subjects for which you will be able to find specialized news online. You could also break these categories down to find specialized news sites covering news on specific areas within each subject. For example, in the Sports field you would be able to find specialized news on Basketball, Baseball, Auto Racing, Extreme Sports, Running, Boxing, etc. In the weather arena you can even find specific news about hurricanes. With the Internet, news can be targeted to particular niches - allowing you to find a site that may provide sole coverage of news that interests you without containing unrelated news coverage.

Here are some of the most popular news destinations for popular news topics. For Internet news try the resources News.com, Newslinx, Wired and Internet.com. For Science News, try Discovery Online, PopSci.com and ScienceDaily. For Politics, try Slate, Salon or AllPolitics.com. For Medical or Health News, try MedicineNet, Reuters Health and HealthScout. For Sports news, try SI, CBS Sportsline and The Sporting News. For Publishing News, try Media Central and Bookwire. For Entertainment News, try E Online, People Online and Entertainment Weekly. For alternative media news visit the resources listed on the Mining Company's Alternative Media Section. For Weather try the Weather Channel, AccuWeather and Intellicast. Of course, there are many more news resources than the ones mentioned above. More specialized news sites can be found using the search engines or the news directories mentioned earlier in this article in the "newspapers online" section.

News Search Services

News Search Services can help you find a news article on a particular subject, event or person. These services will search through some of the major sources of news (newspapers, broadcast news and newswires) and return recent articles that match your keywords. Some of the best of the news search services include: Google News, Bing News, InfoSeek, and Total News. In addition to these search services, individual newspapers and news sites may also provide searches which will let you search through that news sites archives. Most online newspapers now provide a site search. The website, U.S. Newspaper archives on the Web, will direct you to online archives for various U.S. newspapers.

Fee Based Search Services

The more comprehensive news search services have a fee-based structure. Some of these services include: Electric Library, Lexis-Nexis and Northern Light. Speciality fee based search services also exist. Some online newspapers charge a subscription fee or cost per article fee to access the archives of old newspaper articles. Prices and terms vary depending on the newspaper you are referencing. A site called NewsLibrary allows you to search over 40 newspapers.and charges for access to the full text of the news stories. In addition to fees charged by search services and newspapers some very specialized news services also charge for a monthly or annual subscription or charge a fee to read the entire article. Examples include the Wall Street Journal Online, which provides financial information and Variety.com which provides in-depth information on the entertainment industry.

Customized (Personalized) News

Some websites now allow you to customize your own page on their site. By choosing options on the page you can select which kind of news headlines or articles you prefer. Some excellent customizable sites include: AOL, CNN Interactive, Excite, My Yahoo, and Personalized Lycos. By using a customizable format, you can receive news headlines based on your favorite subjects as well as localize news and weather to your region of the world.

Email News

Email news is a common way to receive news online. There are an enormous amount of options to choose from. Many people use email-based subscriptions to receive specialized news on areas in which they are interested. Services such as InfoBeat allow you to receive news and articles from popular publications such as Rolling Stone, Salon, the Weather Channel and ZDNet. Most news-related websites provide email news or updates of some kind; ranging from daily headline feeds to full news articles delivered by email.

Pushed News Services

News services such as Pointcast will push news and other information to you through a screen-saver type format. By subscribing to channels you receive news stories which regular updates (based on how you program the channel listing to which you subscribe). Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 Web Browser also provides subscription based channels, through which content is served to you.

The Future of News

News is one of the most popular features online. With the Web's clear presentation styles and the ability to update news stories almost immediately, it is a very efficient and effective news medium. The future of news online appears to be the integration of real audio and video into news sites as well as the specialization of news and content, so that even very specialized topics might have their own specific website or destination. Personalized news will also be a feature incorporated into a growing number of news websites. It remains to be seen who will become the leaders in providing the news, but it is clear that proven media providers in both print, radio and television are not going to be left out of the race.

**Greg Knollenberg is the CEO of Writers Write, Inc.

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