A number of news sites have regular features called something like “explainer” or “explain it to me” where they provide — in either video or text — short explanations about current events or answers to reader/viewer questions.
Here are my choices for best of these kinds of resources out there — please share suggestions for ones I’m missing:
CNN regularly produces two-to-three minute video clips on current news topics (including ones related to science) called “Explain It To Me.” They’re generally excellent, though it appears they may have stopped making new segments. You can find them all here. Here’s an example:
Slate has had a very popular “Explainer” series in text.
WNYC has an Explainer series in text.
Foreign Policy also has a text feature called “Explainer.”
I recently read two very interesting and helpful article from Poynter about the best ways to create them, and they offer strategies that anyone can use — even beyond creating online videos:
TIME Magazine has an ongoing series of short TIME Explains videos on current events. Here’s a link to most of them.
The Washington Post regularly publishes a feature called “Five Myths.”
They’ll typically pick a topic that’s been in the news and list five myths with a short explanation about each one. It’s pretty useful to teachers and students alike.
NBC News produces an ongoing series of 30 Seconds To Know videos about current events and issues. They’re videos that last…thirty seconds, with an expert who explains a topic. However, it’s not just a talking head — it includes action shots and graphics, and the narrator doesn’t speak too fast.
The British newspaper The Guardian publishes a neat series of video “animations and explainers” that you can find on their YouTube channel.
Here’s an example:
The Economist Explains provides short text…explanations of current events.
The BBC creates excellent one-to-three minute video “news explainers” about current events.
Here’s an example:
You can find them in one of three locations (depending on what your school’s content filter blocks):
The Explainers section on the BBC site itself appears to be the one updated most frequently.
The BBC has some of them on their Vimeo account.
They have a Playlist on YouTube.
It appears that the Voice Of America has recently begun creating very short “Explainer” videos about current events.
Here are a couple of examples:
The Telegraph newspaper publishes a series of “Explained – In 60 Seconds” videos about current events (though they sometimes also include coverage of more “gossipy” topics). Unfortunately, they don’t have a central place on their website where you can access them all in one place. However, they do have a YouTube playlist that appears to be about three weeks behind in publishing their newest ones. You can also search “Explained – in 60 Seconds” on their website.
Here’s a sample:
Al Jazeera English has a playlist of “Explainer” videos. Here’s an example:
The Associated Press has a decent series of “AP Explains” videos.
USA Today publishes a series of short videos explaining current events.
They call them FAQs, and you can see all twenty-seven (so far) here.
Here’s an example of one:
What The Fact is a series of videos created by Newsy in partnership with PolitiFact. They analyse if claims made by figures in current events are true or not.
Feedback is always welcome.
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