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May 15, 2020

Newspaper Map โ€” "Find and translate over 10,000 newspapers"


Free, the way we like it.

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Fair warning: this is a very alluring rabbit hole.

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[via Matt Penning]

May 15, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


As always, Joe, thanks for unearthing this! Hope my comments don't seem ungrateful.

This sort of newspaper-finding service would seem a godsend for what I do on my own site/Twitter ("Commentary on the European non-English-language press"). Upon reflection, however, there is far less utility here than initially meets the eye.

One can think of the radio analogue to this (of course it exists; I may have also discovered it via BOJ): you plan to visit/live someplace, you can find out the stations that broadcast in that area - although the increased dominance of radio stations broadcasting worldwide over the Internet means the location aspect somewhat fades away, so that one instead basically discovers the very *existence* of what may be interesting radio stations, to then look up on the Net.

By far the majority of papers are on the Net as well (although many with some sort of paywall), so it would seem the usefulness of this on-line "Newspaper Map" would shrink in an analogous way (to repeat: location no longer so important as discovering sheer existence). In reality, though, it's even worse than that, for with newspapers there is the additional vital criterion of their importance to a given nation's political and cultural life.

Let's pretend we come to this Newspaper Map to learn about American newspapers with ZERO prior knowledge. HOW do we find the papers that really matter? I guess it might depend on the particular location that is prompting our investigation: Maybe we're about to move into the US and specifically to Long Beach, CA, say, so we get to discover the Long Beach paper (if there even is one, these days).

But I wager that's not what most people want to know! Rather (and keeping in mind the Net renders mere location unimportant): Which are the important newspapers, which set the national agenda, which provide the info & analysis which then dominate discussion on TV/radio news-shows? In the US it is of course the NYT, WaPo and WSJournal - pray tell, HOW is one supposed to find this out (for the US, or for any other country) from this Newspaper Map?

You can't. It's what most of us want to know (for ex., when we learn a new language and want to know the key newspapers in that country to read for practice). But it's what this Newspaper Map in no way provides.*

And don't even get me started on automated Internet "translation" ... you can sample the sour taste of that right here, I'm talking about that semi-coherent bit we see above about the "Kuruntie traffic divider"(huh?)!

*Yes, you're right, a good way to start is to use Newspaper Map to show you the papers from a country's capital city. Yet even within any capital there are still papers which - as people can inform you *elsewhere* on the Net - are of relatively minor import (or espouse some radical/distasteful ideology - how about that?), and thus probably not worth one's time.

Posted by: MAO | May 16, 2020 3:40:44 AM

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