Of the number of ways I set out to prepare for presidential debate participation to include what twitter streams and live blogging to follow, what livestreaming commentary to watch, and which station to view, the most weighty decision for me was which fact-checker organization to refer to as I worked to pick through the mendacity rubble for small scraps of truth. Candidates’ numbers, pundits’ percentages, partisans’ pie charts, tweeters’ zingers, oh my!
Adding a social component to my debate watching experience meant that the number of “news” sources multiplied exponentially. I enjoyed hearing multiple voices, many of which reinforced my current views, and some of which made me question my stances. But what resonated most for me was just how important it is as I participate in this democracy to be research and media savvy and to question all of my sources. As a trained library media specialist, I’m inclined toward a world view that makes me skeptical. As a teacher and parent, I want to instill that healthy skepticism in my students and daughters and arm them with the tools necessary to distill fact from fiction.
With the discovery of newspapermap.com, I’ve been given another sifting tool and another way to add new voices to my knowledge stream. Pins on the global map take you directly to local newspapers in 39 countries. Click on a pin and the linked title of the newspaper appears so you can visit the current online version instantly in the original language. So cool. But wait…here’s the kicker: I can, with one click, be taken to that same newspaper, but ask for it to be translated via Google Translater into my language of choice. Newspapermap’s tagline is All news is local news: local perspectives on global news. In your language.
Visitors can get the current world’s view from the horse’s mouth. The classroom applications seem fertile: point of view, perspective, bias, global awareness, etc.
I was interested in seeing how the world was responding to the first presidential debate so clicked through a number of pins in different parts of the world. While some of the translations were decent, here is an excerpt translated from Arabic from As-Safir, a newspaper in Beruit:
the presidential race heats up toward the White House, the U.S.
continued the series lapses on my forehead competition, at the time did
not provide any of the parties the opportunity to straighten the
Access to the world’s perspective for me, and for a number of schools with whom I work who can count 23 native languages spoken in the halls, is worth a bad translation every once in a while. I’ll take a bad translation any day over purposeful obfuscation, like I experienced in the debate.