With a newspaper media landscape ranging from boring over propagandastic and war mongering to outright lying you in the face, many of us are looking for alternative news sources. We can find a lot of quality information in the blogosphere. But the search engines make it difficult to locate the information we want, since they are commercial advertising platforms that direct you to the same media sources (typically Anglo-American) that you wanted to avoid in the first place.
But did you know that you are actually already reading one of the best newspapers in the world? It’s free. It’s open source. It’s crowd created and edited. It’s available in all languages. It’s available on all platforms. It’s as objective as it gets.
If you’re a news addicted infomaniac, chances are pretty high that you are also doing daily Wikipedia look ups. Even normal people use the service. It’s the 7th most visited web site in the world.
But do you ever visit the edited frontpage? It’s called the Main Page in Wikipedia. It features four sections, a photo feature and three Wikipedia service areas in addition to the standard top and left menu navigation. There are also links to the Wikipedia portals such as Art and History (be careful not to click “Nazi Germany” or you will never get out of there).
Please note that the Main Pages are localized and the content structure can differ from language to language (here is the Danish version). Remember that Wikipedia is “borderless” and divided into languages. Not countries or other geopolitical parameters.
The English version of the Main Page:
- From today’s featured article
- In the news
- Did you know…
- On this day…
- Today’s featured picture
“From today’s featured article” is an editorially handpicked Wikipedia article of the day that will introduce you to something or someone randomly. Yesterday, it was a Goldfrapp album including audio snippets! You can subscribe to the section as an e-mail alert.
“In the news” is a headline selection as you know it from other news sources. The difference here is that the headlines are directed to Wikipedia articles and not directly to media sources (they are source links inside). Besides showing five current headlines, this section also links to the chronological sections “Ongoing Events” and “Recent Deaths”. Oh, Miss Universe 1967 just passed away!
“Did you know…” is a selection of nominated articles, that are articles that are not news driven, but picked to expand your knowledge and inspire you with the fountain of wisdom inside Wikipedia. Did you know that in 1971, Charles Winick found that American prostitutes earned little more than clerical workers?
“On this day” is the popular listing of events that happned on the day throughout history. It’s great for discovering inspiration to social media content. In 1958, on the day of writing this blog article, Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita was published in the United States. Fun fact: did you know that Nabokov used to play tennis on KuDammm in Berlin?
“Today’s featured picture” showcases the visual part of Wikipedia. This page highlights the finest images on Wikipedia. The featured picture criteria explain that featured pictures must be freely licensed or in the public domain, must be of a high technical quality, and must add significantly to at least one article on Wikipedia. The photo of taxi cabs in Hong Kong above was a featured photo a couple of days ago.
There is also a “Featured Sounds” section as a sub page.
Tip of the day is putting the Wikipedia front page into your daily routine. Add it to your bookmarks. You should even consider making it your Start Page.
Wikipedia currently has more than 38 million articles.