Monthly News Challenge

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Monthly News Challenge

Postby aokoye » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:09 pm

11/6/15: For more information - see the FAQ at the end of this post

Most of the challenges that I've seen have been literary in nature and, as someone who doesn't actually enjoy most genres of literature they really don't appeal to me. That said I do consume a lot of news and thus I'm proposing a month by month News Challenge.

The guidelines that I'm thinking of are very flexible. Read, listen to, or watch at least 90 articles/news segments a month - so roughly three a day. I realize that these can very in length pretty wildly so I encourage anyone who wants to participate to use their best judgment (again about the flexibility). The idea is to get in the habit of reading, listening, and/or watching news in one's target languages. I would also say that it's totally fine to mix and match what types of media you consume, as long as it comes from a news source.

Given the nature of various topics on the news I also would like remind everyone that talking about politics (and religion?) aren't allowed on this forum (Emk correct me if I"m wrong). While I don't care what you read and would most definitely count articles about politics and religion towards the 90 article/segment goal, let's keep the discussion to what is actually allowed on this forum for everyone's sake. Also please don't link to articles containing topics that aren't allowed (again let's stay within the forum's rules).

I realize that not everyone is comfortable or able to read, listen to, or watch the news for various reasons and that's fine - you don't have to participate in this challenge.

So yea - that's my somewhat fleshed out idea. Does anyone have any critiques or ideas for changes/additions?

FAQ
Has this challenge started yet?
Yes the challenge has started. It is from November 1st through November 30th. I will every likely start a new thread in December for an identical challenge for that month

How many articles/news stories do I have to read/watch/listen to?
I have decided that the goal is 60 articles/stories read/watched/listened to.

What counts as an article/story in relation to length?
For written articles my suggestion is to start counting things as 2+ articles at 2 and a half to 3 A4 pages. For articles/stories that are watched or listened to the approximate length that I've decided on is 15 minutes per 1 article/story. This means that if you're watching a 30 minute news show you will count that as 2 articles/stories.

How many languages can I consume news in for this challenge and how do those languages fall in line with the 60 article count?
Any story that isn't in your native language(s) counts. So if I were to read one article in French, 5 in German, and 3 in Dutch I would have a total of 9 articles for this month's challenge. If a language is very easy for you feel free to not count that - it's your choice.

Do articles from news sources aimed at language learners, children, and/or people with low literacy count towards this challenge?
Yes.

How should I let people know that I've read/listened to/watched articles/stories?
You don't have to let anyone know if you don't want to - this isn't a competition and I expect people to participate in good faith. That said, if you want to report Emk did a great job doing so in his post here. The easiest way to keep track of the number of articles and stories you've read/watched/listened to would be to create a tracker for it that sits in your signature. There's lots of info on that in this thread.
Last edited by aokoye on Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Monthly News Challenge

Postby Soclydeza » Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:58 pm

Would you consider Deutsch Aktuell to be allowed? (http://www.dw.com/de/deutsch-lernen/deutsch-aktuell/s-2146) It's news, though its intended for learners (articles range from B1-C1, I believe).
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Re: Monthly News Challenge

Postby aokoye » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:33 am

Yes - I would totally count Deutsch Aktuell along with any other news written with foreign language learners in mind. I would also consider language written with children in mind as fitting into sources that count.
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Re: Monthly News Challenge

Postby Serpent » Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:50 am

Well, I'm a new-ish mod, but Rhian has approved this post of mine at least ;) As far as I know, there's no rule against external links, especially articles you are reading in your target language. Of course, use your best judgement - don't post inflammatory articles, and consider using content notes/warnings (also for topics like rape and for articles that have graphic images of violence etc).

I like the idea but I wonder if 90 may be too many. All challenges seem to need some downscaling from the original "it has to be challenging!" goal. Also, what's your take on reading/watching the news in several languages?
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Re: Monthly News Challenge

Postby aokoye » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:47 am

Serpent wrote:Well, I'm a new-ish mod, but Rhian has approved this post of mine at least ;) As far as I know, there's no rule against external links, especially articles you are reading in your target language. Of course, use your best judgement - don't post inflammatory articles, and consider using content notes/warnings (also for topics like rape and for articles that have graphic images of violence etc).


Yeah I wasn't sure about the rules but I figured I'd play safe rather than sorry. It would be so easy for someone to post a bunch of inflammatory articles. It's part of what prompted my thread asking for a sticky'd closed rules thread.

I like the idea but I wonder if 90 may be too many. All challenges seem to need some downscaling from the original "it has to be challenging!" goal. Also, what's your take on reading/watching the news in several languages?


I hear you on the 90 possibly being too many. Originally I was thinking 60 and then I got to thinking just how short some news clips on TV and radio can be. If someone were to say, watch a news program once a day they would easily have watched 90 segments within a week and a half or two. Perhaps 60 is a better goal though. In terms of reading/watching/listening to news in several languages I haven't thought too long or hard on that (it's been a very long day - I wrote the last post right before rushing off to a three hour choral rehearsal and I just got home 25 minutes ago from the library (at 12:20am) after finishing an essay on die Verwandlung for my German class). I'm leaning towards, "it needs to all be in one language" but I'm very open to suggestions.
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Re: Monthly News Challenge

Postby aokoye » Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:25 am

So it's a November 1st in most of the world and October 31st where I am - I've neglected this thread but haven't stopped thinking about it.

I've thought about the feed back that I've gotten and have decided that it makes more sense to set the goal at 60 news articles or segments read, listened to, and/or watched by the end of November in any language that isn't native to you. The distribution of the languages, media sources, and types if up to you.

In terms of what I would and wouldn't count as "news media" I think anything outside of blogs that are doing analysis counts. This means things like the NY Times, Le Mond, ZDF, NHK as well as things like, Deutsche Welle's learner targeted content, Slowly Spoken X News (where X is a language), and news aimed at children as well as people with low literacy. In relation to blogs - I will count them if they are attached to a news paper/source (NPR has a variety of blogs, for example) but a private individual or organization's blog does not. If the blog (that isn't obviously a part of a larger news organization) is summarizing the news then that's fine. If they are analyzing it then that doesn't count.

There are thousands of choices (which to me is a bit daunting) but some very quick Googling netted some good repositories of links to newspapers. Omniglot has a list of papers that covers 82 languages, though it only gives a hand full of links per language (not that I blame them with that many languages!). Onlinenewspapers.com has a very large list of papers and MIT has a much less overwhelming list here.

I have far fewer resources for streaming video. For English there's always the BBC. For German there's Deutsche Welle, ZDF, ARD, etc - just do a google search for Mediathek, a lot of them aren't region restricted in terms of news. For French it looks like France 24 has a streaming news service that, as of right now, works in the USA. NRK in Norway has at least semi unreigion restricted news streaming here and as of now the NPO's News station in Dutch is streaming for me.
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Re: Monthly News Challenge

Postby emk » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:00 pm

aokoye wrote:
Serpent wrote:Well, I'm a new-ish mod, but Rhian has approved this post of mine at least ;) As far as I know, there's no rule against external links, especially articles you are reading in your target language. Of course, use your best judgement - don't post inflammatory articles, and consider using content notes/warnings (also for topics like rape and for articles that have graphic images of violence etc).

Yeah I wasn't sure about the rules but I figured I'd play safe rather than sorry. It would be so easy for someone to post a bunch of inflammatory articles. It's part of what prompted my thread asking for a sticky'd closed rules thread.

In general, the overall goal of the moderators is to encourage interesting, mutually-respectful discussions related to language learning. In the past, political threads have tended to cause problems, partly because politics makes people act funny, and because even among our most senior and helpful posters, we have an enormous range of political viewpoints. For example, we have American libertarians, and people who work actively for social justice in Europe. We have posters who are on opposite sides of actual ongoing wars. And also, sooner or later, just about anybody might turn up here—from any country, from any group—and we'd like them to feel welcome.

Now, all that said, anybody who wants to take a B2 exam will quickly discover that B2 examiners love news articles and politics. It's a legitimate part of language learning. And so a monthly news challenge is a great idea, and of course we want to allow it. So let me propose a few rules of thumb for this challenge:

  • For people who prefer clear, straightforward rules: The safest thing to do is to steer well clear of politics, or to only link to articles that you're pretty sure are uncontroversial. And if an article does turn out to be controversial, please just say "Sorry" and avoid linking to articles like that in the future.
  • For people who are good at social nuance: The moderators are primarily concerned about maintaining a mutually respectful atmosphere where everybody can discuss languages without feeling the need to defend themselves. We want to avoid long, bitter threads which leave people upset and hurt. And we're bored senseless by people parroting standard political talking points at each other. But at the same time, we do want people to read and share interesting news articles. In other words: there's a small amount of grey area here, if you use it carefully and if you don't make unnecessary work for the moderators. :-) This rule of thumb explains, by the way, some seemingly inconsistent things about how we moderate: certain subjects (such as language politics) may usually be safe about country X but hugely nasty about country Y. So use your good judgement and please defer to the moderators, even if we sometimes seem inconsistent.
  • For everybody: If somebody's post makes you really mad, and if you feel you just have to respond, please consider using the "Report" or "!" button (depending on your theme) to notify the moderators instead of flaming people. And similarly, if the moderators do need to intervene in the challenge, their decisions are final. Similarly, if everybody else in the thread is like, "No! Don't go there! Please don't get our thread locked!", then please take that as hint that you may have misjudged the situation.
aokoye, does that help any?
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Some french news sources

Postby emk » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:01 pm

Now, in the spirit of the challenge, here are some French news sources:

  1. Le Monde and Le Figaro are the two giant, high-brow dailies. Note that these may have paywalls that activate after a certain number of articles per month.
  2. You can find tons of news articles (and links to other news sites) using Google Actualités.
  3. For satirical news (The Onion-style), your best bet is usually Le Gorafi. I don't know whether these count; please check with aokoye for challenge rules. :-)
  4. For news podcasts for native listeners, check out RFI (which also has printed articles), France Inter, France Info, and France Culture. And of course, for science news with a variety of Quebec accents, Les Années Lumière is extremely popular for good reasons.
  5. For beginner audio news, check out Apprendre le français avec TV5MONDE, which has programs for each CEFR level, with transcripts and exercises. You may also want to check out News in Slow French and RFI Français Facile (which isn't that easy—if you can understand almost all of this without using the transcript, you're getting near B2).
  6. For TV news, it will depend on what you have access to via cable, Internet or VPN. I used to watch LCI, LCP, BFM, and BFM Business because that's what I got through VoilàTV.
If you're going to do a news challenge, it's probably worth looking a good podcast player and a good RSS reader. For an RSS reader, I currently recommend Feedly, which has a free version, and which you can use on the web or on mobile devices. To get you started with RSS, here's my personal subscription list, which most RSS readers should be able to import.
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Re: Some french news sources

Postby tomgosse » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:34 pm

emk wrote:If you're going to do a news challenge, it's probably worth looking a good podcast player and a good RSS reader. For an RSS reader, I currently recommend Feedly, which has a free version, and which you can use on the web or on mobile devices. To get you started with RSS, here's my personal subscription list, which most RSS readers should be able to import.

This personal list is all in html. Do I need to install feedly to read it?
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Re: Some french news sources

Postby emk » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:10 pm

tomgosse wrote:This personal list is all in html. Do I need to install feedly to read it?

My personal list is all in OMPL format, which can be imported by almost any RSS reader. Or if you don't have an RSS reader and don't want to get one, you can usually just eyeball the file and look for site names and URLs; it's almost human readable.

I personally encourage news junkies to at least try out an RSS reader once (and Feedly is both excellent and free). The advantage of an RSS reader is that it allows you to scan all your favorite news sources and blogs quickly, in one place, and to curate your favorite sources. A fancy RSS reader like Feedly can also offer a "what's hot today" version of the news, pointing you towards the most popular articles. And Feedly can also sync read vs unread articles between the website and your phone. Oh, and usually there are almost no ads!

If you fill up an RSS reader with interesting foreign language sites, and if you stick an icon in a prominent place, you can have your daily fill of interesting news just by tapping a button reflexively. As Khatzumoto points out, we all follow the path of least resistance, so we should make it ridiculously easy to get our foreign language news fix. :-)
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