Know the facts: finding sources for news

The world is a never-ending cycle of breaking news and information distribution. From politics, to entertainment, sports and economy; there is a vast spectrum of circulating stories that are frequently broadcast throughout media outlets but are often too complex for many people to understand.

With constant media updates, the latest facts of headline news are consistently changing with a quick upload and the click of a mouse. There are, however, plenty of online resources and sites that can make staying up to date on global news easier than ever.

One of the biggest international news stories is the conflict in Ukraine. This country has a long history of being overpowered foreign powers. It has only been independent since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed and it broke away from the union.

In February 2014, Ukraine’s Parliament voted out Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of protest over what the Ukrainian people believed to be his victory in a corrupt presidential election.

This gained the Russian government’s interest because Russia has a lot of investment in Ukraine. A majority of Russian gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine and escalating tension in the region could have a critical effect on the world financial market.

Stephen Levitt, associate professor in Farquhar College of Arts and Science’s Division of Humanities, said that looking at a news story from an international perspective and using non-U.S. sources can open students up to more information and greater understanding of world events.

“It is important for students to be aware of U.S. history, geography, and politics but to understand events outside of the U.S. you really need to have some context,” said Levitt. “The international outlets give things in greater context because you can compare and contrast from what you already know.”

Some international sources that give continuous updates and contain reliable, legitimate information are the BBC and Deutsche Welle (DW), both of which Levitt recommends.

The BBC is the world’s oldest national broadcaster. Its website includes current news and archives. It is Europe’s most popular content-based site and is visited by more than 13.2 million each day.

Duetsche Welle, which means German Wave, is a German-based international broadcaster that aims at oversea markets. It broadcasts news and information on the Internet and satellite radio in 30 languages.

Both sites allow users to watch and listen to current news broadcasts about international headline stories in a timely manner. These websites can also be accessed on the go through any smartphone or tablet device.

Levitt said it’s really wonderful when students can get different perspectives because right now we live in the most international world that has ever existed.

“This is a world of trade, immigration, investment and therefore students can’t just live isolated in the U.S. because the U.S. doesn’t float on its own island,” said Levitt. “It’s very connected to the rest of the world.”

Another source that supplies an abundant amount of information is the CIA World Factbook. This reference resource is produced by the CIA and is frequently updated with details on the demographics, geography, government, economy and military entities of every country.

Levitt says even though the CIA World Factbook is a U.S. source, it gives a clear insight into how countries operate.

“Student should look at the geography in order to understand these world conflicts and also think about the military aspect. You have to think about why the military and government is interested in the piece of land because there is usually a geostrategic reason,” said Levitt.

People may sometimes be embarrassed to ask questions about what is going on in the news. Now it will be simpler to clue into ongoing events with sources that quickly break down complex news into more precise information.

The thing to remember is that there is always a source available to find quick updates and concrete information that will keep anyone informed and educated on world topics.

“For a student to see what’s happening and what is coming up in the future, they need to be aware with what’s going on abroad as well as what is going on at home,” said Levitt.

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