IDEA #22. Pick an important current issue in the news and follow it for a week or a month on two different news outlets (newspapers, news websites, radio, television…)—one of which is not from your native country. Talk about these events with an adult or two.
This exercise in comparative political science and news analysis is intended to help youngsters understand such complex concepts as point of view and self-interest as well as to uproot the participant from the single point of view with which one’s “home country” media may portray an issue.
The first challenge is to identify an ongoing issue that is receiving at least a moderate amount of play in the media. This may include any field, from politics to science to sports to the arts, although a sports issue probably ought to involve a sport that is truly international in its popularity base, as interesting as it might be to read what a Spanish newspaper thinks about a trade in the NBA.
The second challenge will be to find a news source from another country; most major newspapers and news magazines have websites, and many large city or university libraries subscribe to at least a couple of English-language newspapers from other countries. English-language news sources from other nations include the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Times of London, and the British Broadcasting Corporation (United Kingdom); The Japan Times and Asahi Shimbun (Japan); the Globe and Mail (Canada); The Hindu (India); The Star (South Africa); French News (France); Gulf Times (Kuwait); Al Jazeera English (Qatar); China Daily (China); and the International Herald Tribune. There are many more, and a thoughtful Internet search (try “English-language news [country name]”) should find them; most national broadcast media also maintain written-word sites.
One thing for the young news hunter to be on the lookout for are syndicated news stories from press agencies like the Associated Press and Reuters. These are often purchased and published in identical form by news outlets around the world and will not show appreciable difference from one outlet to another–although when they are different, it’s worth figuring out why.
In the end, the youngster should consider the differences and similarities he or she has observed, and any interested adult should be delighted to hear about the project and the result.