Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Visually Engaging News Sites


This is a one-of-a-kind “The Best…” list.

I don’t think any of the sites on this list are very accessible to English Language Learners. Those sites can be found at The Best News/Current Events Websites For English Language Learners.

This list is just a collection of links I’ve been accumulating for applications that visually represent current news in particularly unusual ways. I certainly wouldn’t get my news from them, but I thought readers might find them intriguing to glance through. I do admire the creativity of their designers, though.

It’s pretty difficult for me to describe them, so I’ll just list them here and let you discover how they work on your own.

Here are my choices for The Best Visually Engaging News Sites:

* Doodlebuzz

* Spectra Visual Newsreader

* News Map

* Reverbiage

* Interceder

* Discovery Earth Live

* Newser, This site shows a large grid of news photos, along with a headline, short description, its source, and how long ago it has been published.  If you move your cursor to the “more” section of each photo, you get a longer summary.

Track This Now lets you submit a search query (for example, I wrote in “Veterans Day”). Then, on a map of the world, a bunch of “push-pins” appeared showing the origination point of current news stories related to that subject. I clicked on one of the markers, and the beginning of that particular story showed with a link to the original source.

GNews Vision is the latest addition to this list.  A pointer (in the shape of a plane) moves to the region of the world you choose and, in the language you pick, shares headlines and very short summaries of recent news stories.  If you choose “World” it will move around the map highlighting a variety of stories at the speed you choose.

Time Space: World is from the Washington Post. It shows a world map, along with multiple “push-pins” in areas where news events are occurring. Clicking on them will bring you videos and images from that location. It’s pretty engaging, but, at least the times I’ve tried using it, the application loads quite slowly.

Earth Knowledge lets you click on headlines related to environmental news, and then leads you to a summary of the story and a Google Map pinpointing its location on the globe.

Google has just announced a new feature called Google News Timeline. It shows you the news in the form of a ….timeline, with images and the first sentence or two of the story.

The BBC has developed what they call the News Globe. It’s similar to some other sites on this list– it has a virtual globe globe that you spin, and there are points on it. When you place your cursor on the points a short introduction to a news story based on that location shows-up, and you can click on it to go to the complete report. You type in a query for the types of news you’re looking for.

USA Today News Deck

The New York Times Skimmer

Google Fast Flip is a neat new way to read news online. You can read how Google explains it here.

The Associated Press has unveiled the AP Timeline Reader, a visual way to see and read the news.

USA Today has just unveiled its new “beta” website (they plan on making it their permanent home soon, I think), and it looks good. I especially like the fact that they show a headline with an image underneath, and if you put the cursor on the image the first paragraph shows-up. I think it will make the site especially accessible to ELL’s.

Feel free to offer additional suggestions.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


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  2. is another search site, offering a new way of visualizing the search results. At the top-right of the screen, activate the “bubble-mapping- icon” (for lack of better words)

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