Sunday, December 11, 2005

Online News Services - For native speakers

Hi Geoff here again.

Here's the second part of this post on online news services.

The first part gave links to online news services intended specifically for English language students (often using simplified English). This second part gives links to online news services for native speakers, that can be considered very useful for English language students too.

Online news services for native speakers

"Visit BBC News for up-to-the-minute news, breaking news, video, audio and feature stories. BBC News provides trusted World and UK news as well as local and regional perspectives. Also entertainment, business, science, technology and health news... The BBC News mantra has always been one of truth, impartiality, accuracy and diversity of opinion."

- Choose between UK or International versions of the BBC News Front Page or focus on:
>>particular geographical areas: Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, South Asia, the UK
>>Business, Health, Science/Nature, Technology, Entertainment

Special sections:
- Have Your Say: participate in online forums and discussions about different news topics
- In Pictures: photo galleries of news stories
- Week at a Glance: the most important new stories of the week
- Country Profiles: instant guides to history, politics and economic background of the countries and territories of the world, including audio and video clips
- In Depth: reports on the week's major news stories and key issues. Each report contains a combination of news, background information and expert analysis.

- Read or listen to the BBC News in 43 different languages!

Google News gathers stories from more than 4,500 news sources in English worldwide, and automatically arranges them to present the most relevant news first. Topics are updated every 15 minutes, so you're likely see new stories each time you check the page. You pick the item that interests you, then go directly to the site which published the account you want to read.

What if I want to see more news about my country?
Google News is offered in several versions, each tailored to a different regional audience around the world.
Argentina, Australia, Austria, China (, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan (, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland (French), Switzerland (German), Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States

Customised news
You can build and share your own customised version of Google News. Customised news allows you to create your own sections on the Google News front page to focus on, for instance, your favourite technology, sports team or entertainment. You can also rearrange your sections and choose which ones to show by mixing and matching any of the sections from the 22 regional editions of Google News from around the globe.


The Onion
Satirical international and US news stories

Human interest (strange, funny, etc) stories from around the USA.

Also, something completely different:
reddit is a source for what's new and popular online. reddit learns what people like as they vote on existing links or submit their own.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Online News Services - For EFL/ESL students

Hi, Geoff here.

This post is about some online news services that could be useful for English language learners.
Some of these news services are intended for English language learners; some are intended for native speakers of English.

Online news services intended for English language students:

BBC World Service - Learning English - News English
Vocabulary from BBC international news broadcasts, and discussion topics about Britain. This service is updated regularly and features:
* Words in the News - Listen to and learn vocabulary from recent international news stories
* News about Britain - Learn about UK news and current affairs

The New York Times Learning Network
This has three interesting sections: News Summaries, Daily News Quiz and the Word of the Day

News Summaries
Read today's news, learn new words and see new places. This section has two very useful optional easy-to-use knowledge tools. Firstly, f you turn on the "Vocabulary" feature, more difficult-to-understand words are explained in Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary links. Secondly, if you turn on the "Geography" feature, information about countries and states is provided in links to the Merriam-Webster Atlas.

Daily News Quiz
See what you know about each week's news with this quiz. Each question and image relates to an article published on The New York Times on the Web. Links are provided to the articles if you need to research your answers.

Breaking News
Ready-to-use current events lesson plans for EFL/ESL classes by Sean Banville.
- All of these current events and business English lesson plans contain a news article, listening (MP3 file), podcast, communication activities, pair work, discussion, reading and vocabulary exercises.
- There is a new lesson each day at two different levels.
- All lessons are based on stories currently in the news.
- Classroom handouts are reproducible in Word and PDF.
- The materials use American English spelling.

CNN Student News
"CNN Student News is a 10-minute, commercial-free news program... Created by a team of journalists and educators, the program provides the top stories of the day, segments that encourage student participation, and in-depth special reports."
Transcripts of the webcast are available.

Voice of America Special News
Daily 30-Minute Radio Broadcasts intended to help people "learn American English while they learn about American life and stay informed about world news and developments in science"
VOA Special English:
- uses a simplified vocabulary of 1500 words, and some more difficult words "for reporting world events and describing discoveries in medicine and science
- is read at a slower pace, about two-thirds the speed of standard English
Each half-hour broadcast begins with:
• The latest news from around the world
• A different short feature every day about development, agriculture, health, education, economics, news events and American idioms.
• 15-minute in-depth features about life in the United States, news about science and space, American history, popular culture, influential Americans and short stories.