The Really World Wide Web


The last place to look for worldwide news is the mainstream American media. Instead, turn to the Web, where you can skip weeks ahead of our lame excuses for international reporting and, in a kick-ass minute, find out what’s really going on.

Though nothing has ever matched the BBC’s radio bulletins of the World War II blitz of London, when whole families huddled around the radio and strained to hear Edward R. Murrow’s reports over the exploding bombs, a mix of independent journalists and major media outlets have begun to create a new kind of reportage online, one that in tone and scope sets the stage for the future. During last year’s war in Kosovo, the British news corps’s speedy headline service far outpaced the efforts of the Associated Press’s stodgy dodgers. The BBC is a little centrist for some tastes, but it’s strong on breaking stories. This is the home of Britain’s Guardian, the most sensible paper in English. Another British paper, the Independent is unbeatable for foreign reporting. This press agency had the goods on Russian military operations during the Kosovo conflict and diplomatic bickering from the unhappy campers in NATO, namely the Italians. When the bombs fell over the Balkans, this site lobbed hour-by-hour (sometimes minute-by-minute) intelligence takes.

B92 Radio: Banned from Belgrade, this station was picked up and broadcast online at by Dutch backers. It provided lengthy reports on the toll of bombing within Yugoslavia.

Perry Castañeda Library Map Collection: Hosted by the University of Texas, this Web-based archive filled the gaps in online Kosovo coverage by providing aerial and ground maps that allowed the viewer to plot the course of any military maneuver, whether it came up from the southern staging points in Albania or swept down out of Hungary. Found at

Russia List: David Johnson’s daily listserv dishes out the most pointed stories from Moscow and the republics of the former Soviet Union. Johnson, an inspired researcher who works days at the Center for Defense Information, includes mercifully small doses of windy rent-a-professors.

He also compiles a weekly edition called the CDI Russia Weekly. Both are free. Just e-mail a request to Back issues of the CDI Russia Weekly are available at This English-language paper has been around since 1992, delivering news on everything from soccer to economics. An English-language business rag, The Russia Journal covers subjects from commerce to defense and politics.

International War and Peace Report: Found at, this site tracks what’s going down daily in places like Chechnya, where guerrillas continue to fight a dogged, determined battle. The Report is also strong on the continuing nightmare in the Balkans. Part of the up-and-coming European Internet Network, Russia Today offers a combination of news, analysis, and chat rooms. For most Americans, Europe stops at Vienna. But that’s where the new Europe actually begins its wild ride down the Danube all the way to Istanbul. Central Europe, a sister publication of Russia Today, offers the same mix of breaking headlines and cultural information, but with an eye toward countries like Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Another European Internet Network site, this one covers Chinese news, from politics to defense.

Central Europe Review: Found at, this weekly journal covers politics and culture, with an intellectual bent.

Central Asia Caucasus Analyst: This Johns Hopkins journal is a tad stuffy, but it’s a great source for information on the developments in the Caspian Sea region, where Kazakhstan recently confirmed a huge oil find, shoving the Middle East into the background. Found at The nonprofit foundation has its own take on the Caspian Sea oil play, and a ticker that at least makes a stab at providing news. Instead of watching the AP wires, keep a sharp eye out for this news agency’s terrific regional reports.

Agence France Presse: Like Reuters, is a strong source for speedy foreign reports. An English-language version of a Norwegian site packed with information on antinuclear issues. The American press barely reports on the international revolt against the financial practices of Western banks in the developing world. To follow the fight, head to Vandana Shiva’s Delhi Web site, which can give you a whiff of the revolution straight from the small farms of the subcontinent where it flourishes with an intensity seen nowhere else in the world. Walden Bello is probably the single most important figure in describing the effects of international financial capital on developing economies, especially those in Asia. Forty news organizations contribute to this site. The best of them is the Dakar-based PanAfricanNews Agency. This portal opens a door to all things African, including the Norwegian Council for Africa’s must-read Index on Africa.

Latin American Network Information Center: This portal, hosted by the University of Texas at, is the best bet for sorting out news and issues concerning Latin America.

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