How do I find a good newsfeed for South African news?
In preparation for a trip early next year, I want to start reading up on the news and contemporary events in South Africa. Now, is there some general approach to doing this with online tools?
I'm glad you're interested in the fascinating and complex country of South Africa, but I'm going to answer you with a set of steps you can use to start learning about any nation on Earth, rather than specifically just South Africa. Of course, there are few countries with 11 national languages and other countries completely encircled by a single nation.
The first place I suggest you explore is traditional mainstream news, which can be identified by using a search engine to look for south africa newspaper, for example, on Google, which offers up a link to Online Newspapers.com.
A quick glance at this list of about thirty suggests that there's quite a thriving media in South Africa. But a bit more digging brings up a Stanford University site run by Karen Fung that lists newspapers by circulation: South African Newspapers on the Net. There she lists seventeen or so resource, most notably The Johannesburg Mail and Guardian and Business Day.
More importantly, it's through this list -- and my own knowledge of Google News -- that I know you can get a page of top South African news based on what's in all the top publications, not just one. This is done by going to an advanced search and specifying the country "South Africa". The results: is a nice summary of all South African news sources.
Problem is, it's not just South African news because, like any other newspaper, these publications include international news too.
To remedy this, I decided to add the names of the half-dozen largest cities in South Africa to the search, ascertained by yet another Google search, for largest cities by population in south africa. With that list in hand, I used the (a|b) notation in sophisticated Google searches to produce this:
location:south_africa (durban|east rand|pretoria|cape town|johannesburg)
Now we have some good results:
You can bookmark that page, but since it's Google News you can also get the new articles that match through email or even as an RSS stream that you can read in your favorite newsreader.
Scroll to the bottom of the search results and you'll see:
Chose your favorite way of getting the information and you should be good to go! Me? I decided to subscribe using Google Reader, as it's already my news reader of choice.
In the next part of this article, I will look at how to find and follow South African (or any nationality) bloggers and conversation about South Africa on Twitter.
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