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News Travels Fast

Here’s another travel tip from your friends at Been-Seen. Read the newspaper. Zip around the globe reading the front pages of the world’s major dailies. Websites like Newseum and Press Display compile hundreds of newspapers from around the world in dozens of different languages.
It’s a fascinating way to learn about the places you want to visit, even if you don’t understand the language.

The presentations of these publications differ from their online cousins—if they even are online. Instead, they look and read like real newspapers. Flip the page, turn them horizontal, fold them in half. It as close as you can get to reading Uganda’s Daily Monitor without buying one from a kiosk in Kampala.

It’s an invaluable resource for those hoping to gain different perspectives on issues of international scope. What is Mexico saying about this summer’s failed immigration bill in the US? And it is equally as informative if you’re looking for provincial point of view on a uniquely local subject, like fishing in Australia.

Of course, not everyone is a UN translating polyglot. Most humans are bilingual at best. Nevertheless, aesthetically and anthropologically speaking, there certainly is something to be gained by simply viewing these papers.

The vivid, colorful boldness of the layout seen in some of the Japanese press surely says something about them as a people. And what of the swimsuit-clad beauty on the front page of a Brazilian daily? Would you expect the same in Canada?

It isn’t real travel, but it’s a start. And it’s easy. Just like the paper that hits your front door every morning, you can a different front page delivered to computer desktop every day. Newspaper Index offers a free widget that you can download. Next thing you know you’re reading the Hindustan Times with your morning coffee.

On a more somber note, Poynter has a poignant collection of 9/11 related newspaper headlines. A testament to the historic tragedy, it is a chilling reminder of the sadness, anger and uncertainty that gripped the world on that momentous day. Of special note is the Hartford Courant’s 1-year retrospective, which powerfully emphasized the resulting radical change in society that had occurred with a horizontal spread.

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