According to the American Press Institute, roughly 59 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed follow international news — a lower percentage than any other older age group surveyed. In U.S. newspapers, the international news sections are consistently thinner than in European ones. Here at Newsela, though, we want to ensure students are always a click away from world news. That’s why we have decided to add our first international content partner: The Guardian. Based in the United Kingdom and founded in 1821, The Guardian content will help students become more informed in two ways — through exposure and through perspective.
By exposing students to more stories from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, we hope to bring more nuance to international news. Students can view Africa not only as a place of extreme poverty, but as a place of booming entrepreneurship and promise. They can see that the Middle East is not a place of seemingly endless violence, but a region that is persistent and dedicated in its fight for peace. And with this knowledge of the diverse, complicated world, students can gain better understanding of some of the concepts their teachers are trying to illustrate. Geography is no longer simply lines on a map, but hard-fought battles, cultural and religious clusters, and proximity to valued resources. Foreign countries are not just places visited in history books and travel guides. They are living, breathing places where people laugh, listen to music, and go to school – just like students in the United States.
While Newsela already has a wealth of content covering countries around the world, the stories are told by American media outlets. With content from The Guardian, we add a new perspective. Students can read about events and issues that affect the globe through an international lens. Topics like climate change, space travel and the protection of wildlife affect legislation all over the planet. How Tokyo chooses to tackle these problems may differ from the way they are dealt with in Paris, in Johannesburg, or in Washington, D.C. Providing news on these issues from an international publication allows students to become better informed on the topics at hand.
Students reading about these issues today — no matter where they live — may be responsible for the legislation that happens tomorrow. This makes a well-balanced and multi-dimensional perspective increasingly imperative. We feel strongly that The Guardian (and other international content to come) will provide a wealth of knowledge, perspectives and ultimately, we hope, understanding.