Monday, December 15, 2008

A Visual Way To Read The News

There are several sites available that allows you to see current news articles in a different way. I like a few of them, and some of them I don’t understand at all.

The first one is the Spectra Visual Newsreader by The best way for me to describe it is a cross between an aggregator and a customized start page. The user has the choice of adding topics that he/she is interested in and the site will arrange your articles in a moving, interactive orb of news. It is hard to capture this as an image since the articles are always moving allowing you to zoom in on different topics. I like the colors and the movement. I felt like a baby staring at a mobile at nap time. Pretty! Pretty!

The next one is World News Maps by This one is a bit more simple. You have a world map. Click a country. Thumbnails of articles from that country appear. Simple. Easy. It’s okay. I can’t see myself using it personally. See below.

Third, is NewsGlobe sponsored by It looks very similar to Google Earth’s globe, except there are long red poles sticking out of the earth, which represent different news articles around the world. Obviously, this provides a visual representation of where the news is actually occuring at the time, which is helpful when teaching current events. However, I personally would still find myself going to Google Earth to show students the exact location of the article versus an approximate location. I did like how NewsGlobe has an “AutoPlay” feature that allows you to sit back and watch the news jump around the globe or an “interactive” feature that allows YOU to be the explorer.

Finally, there is a site called Doodlebuzz. This site boasts, “DoodleBuzz is a new way to read the news through an experimental interface that allows you to create typographic maps of current news stories.” Basically, you type a word in the search field. Then you start doodling on the screen to get the news to appear. The result, to me, is a huge mess. There are titles of articles all squished together and you have to keep doodling to get the rest of the story. Eventually you can click the article to be taken to the site featuring the article. It’s A LOT of work to get to the news. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why it’s worth the effort. I found this site frustrating, but “to each his own”, I guess.

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