Our Daily Bleg: Looking for the Best Online News

A reader named Chuck Amos writes:

My bleg is for a list of reliable, unbiased, and intelligent news sources that present general information in a readable and user-friendly way.

This seems like a very simple problem to solve, but my efforts over the years have been unsatisfactory. Sites like CNN.com are presented reasonably well, but the actual “news” is way too fluffy. Sites like Huffington Post are so miserable to look at that I’m not willing to sift through the train-wreck presentation and look for articles that might be interesting. Sites like Salon.com are willing to dig deeper than many of the mainstream news sites, but the politics are biased and therefore fail the test of what I seek.

To make my search more difficult, I don’t care about video (I have limited time, and I’d rather spend 20 seconds skimming/reading a written article than 90 seconds watching a newscast), and the amount of garbage that comes across Twitter feeds makes that outlet of limited use to me.

I’ve had reasonably good experiences with the Economist, Christian Science Monitor, and Guardian sites, but none of them leaves me completely satisfied.

My perfect news site would simply be a list of headlines that link to well-written, well-researched articles on a broad variety of topics. Sort of like an AP feed, but with articles that contain more than 2 poorly written paragraphs.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Chuck sounds like a nice guy but … hard to please! I wrote back to him:

Have you tried Google News? In some ways, it’s a dreadful aggregator, but it’s so easy to sort the dreadful from the potentially good that it can be useful. But what I suspect you are really seeking is a software/app solution, so you can easily customize the right news to get pushed your way on a daily basis. Anyway … we’ll see what the crowd has to say on this.

His reply:

Thank you for the note, I’m glad to read it’ll be posted. Google News is fine for topics I know, but part of what I love about reading the news is stumbling on a fascinating article on a topic about which I know nothing. I lose that element of surprise with Google News or other user-defined aggregators. Frankly, that’s the very reason I read your site … you make me interested in topics that are normally not interesting to me. Good news sites do the same thing.

All right, then readers. Can you help out Chuck, whether it’s a site, an aggregator, an app, etc.?


Set up a google reader account (or netvibes if you are feeling fancy( - and follow the key rss feeds that interest you. I have a couple of BBC and guardian feeds, ch4 news and sky are both also good, some of the main political commentors, some American news and a few random things I am interested in. It suits me fine - and I need to follow the news for professional reasons and have little time (i am a press officer)....

Scott Rogers

Flipboard for the iPad


I wish I had thought to bleg this. It's something that I have been trying to solve for a long time. My solution so far has been the same one I've used for 20 years: subscribing to a hard copy newspaper. Sadly, the only remaining newspaper in my city is rapidly dropping in quality and especially quantity of news.

My backup solution is the Google News "Spotlight" section. It finds a lot of really good long-form articles that help fill the void that my shrunken Sunday paper has left behind.

I wish there were a way to tell Google to ignore the news I read in the past. I am almost positive that it is filtering news based on what I supposedly want to read.

Phil Whittall

I don't think you can do much better than the BBC

Marcus Kalka

Drudge Report and Benzinga are good.


Try Feedly, an app on Google Chrome. It's an RSS reader. It's like a customized magazine that makes reading multiple sources very easy and organized.

VB in NV




I think what he's looking for is an actual news source or two... I really like this bleg, and I hope to find out the solution. I have the same problem getting quality reporting, without bias. ANy solutions out there?

(btw, the problem with Google News is that, as previously mentioned, it filters articles based on what you probably have already read. If there was a better rating system - based on quality, not on how many agree with the article - maybe that would work.)


Although I only use the iPhone/iPad app version (I'm sure a browser-based version exists), I find fluent news fills this void for me.


I subscribe to a fairly large number of twitter sources that I respect whether for tech, financial, social, general world news, etc. From there I link my twitter account to paper.li which aggregates all the links and videos posted in the twitter feed and organizes by topic. I find this the best way to follow a wide variety of sources that you have vetted. Good luck!


*I have the same problem getting quality reporting, without bias.*

Is there ever such a thing? For some very short, visible facts only news stories, maybe you could do this.

But just choosing which stories get reported is inherently affected by bias, since we all have biases. I'd agree though that some blogger might want to get on this aggregator idea. At least even if they aren't bias-free, noting where they came from is helpful. The bigger the mix of sources, at least the wider the range of the bias.

Adding well-researched, as well as linking to sources for that research whenever possible, really narrows down the field of candidates though.

Ranita Ragunathan

I have been looking for something of this sort for a while now. To put it quite simply, I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that there is none. So if Chuck wants to get together and start such a news site, he should drop me a line.

Side note: In the (rather expensive) subscription-only, somewhat niche sphere, however, Roubini Global Economics often does the trick for me.

Eric M. Jones.


It is so good that there is no second best. You will soon grow to love the ballsy interviewers like Judy Swallow, who while interviewing an African dictator about why he stole all the country's money...Judy said, "but isn't pretending to love your people all just a load of CRAP..."

You could hear the AK-47's cocking.

And they are not beholden to financial interests. Their USA news is the best you can get.

Michael Hill

Insideautomotive.com by journalist Ed Wallace who follows politics, economics, oil and gas industry and has an awesome Saturday radio show called Wheels with Ed Wallace.


This too is a constant problem of mine and I am always looking for ways to improve my system. My current system uses RSS and I subscribe to many sources from different viewpoints, a collection of opinion pieces, and editorial or magazines.

I suggest getting a Google Reader account and then maybe looking into a desktop option which syncs if that doesn't suit you. For Mac NetNewsWire and Reeder are good options.

I then make folders for each topic, for the news items I create National News, Global News, and Business News. In these I subscribe to NY Times, WSJ, BBC, Reuters, Haaretz, Spiegel, Times of India, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, Mail & Guardian, and others. These are my cut and dry sources because they don't often include opinion pieces. For the international sources I don't look at local news so much but focus on their coverage of important national or international news - it is surprising to see what various countries will cover compared to the US. Because of the quantity there will be some overlap but often this keeps me from overlooking many important stories - if something shows multiple times I should probably pay attention.

For more opinion based sources I have three folders labeled A, AA, and Always Read - these are just a ranking based on quality of postings and how long I have been subscribed . All of these subscriptions start in A and if over time I like them enough they move to AA, and about 5-10 are in Always Read - some of these aren't news or opinion but other blogs or content sites I enjoy. In these folders I have many of the Economist's blogs, NY Times' blogs, SCOTUS blog, New Internationalist, a few Guardian's blogs, and then a collection of journalist and academics I follow.

Finally, for magazines or journals I have a folder titled just that. These include PULSE, NY Review of Books, London Review of Books, New Yorker, New Left Project, Counter Punch, Reason, and others.

I try to break the system down so it never feels overwhelming and I can always get to important items quickly and without going through massive amounts of text. I've never been able to find the one great source but I found if you try to include some sources from various biases, more cut and dry sources, and then editorial pieces you get the best picture.



Baker is about right.

Would disagree about only getting the news sources - without opinion you have no context and you miss the point of much of the news.

The economist is better than the bbc - and the FT political team's blog is better than the BBC's combined political output.

So, would add the following rss feeds to list of those to consider:
- Anything the Economist does
- Timothy Garton Ash
- FT westminster blog for UK politics - although less newsy these days, so also Boulton and Co
- the bbc newsnight blogs (although fallen out of love with them a bit - though Paul Mason is best in the business)
- some left and right wing blogs - so guido fawkes is worth reading (honestly) and Paul Krugman over in the US - although rss feed doesnt work properly
- Mark Kleinman at sky has the best exclusives on business

Or listen to Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Dont read news at all. though i think he might have said the economist was ok too...!


Theresa Mallinson

Well, www.thedailymaverick.co.za is where almost everyone I know reads their news these days. (Disclosure: I work there). It is biased towards South African coverage, although there is as much international coverage as our small team allows.


Yahoo news. gives you all the good news providers, is easy to follow, and will also learn from your selections.

G Schroder

Maybe Chuck should check out iGoogle.com. It's javascript-driven portal that allows you to set up small feed windows from any site with an RSS feed. I have one tab that lists headlines from my favorite blogs, which tend to be edited aggregations, and another for feed windows from trusted news sources. I also have tabs with feed window for tech news, travel news, and other news related to my business.

igoogle.com is easy to customize, but it does take a bit of work to set up a set of sources you'll find useful.

I can't imagine just reading one established source for news or commentary.

Heavy D

www.fluentnews.com is an excellent aggregator app I use for iphone. You can customize which topics you'd like to get heavier coverage and minimize others.