by Cara Gardner

A balanced news diet can make your mind healthy, just as your daily allotment of fruits and veggies nourishes your body. One news source, no matter how legit, just isn't enough. No matter where you stand on the scale from radical liberal to radical conservative, or from intellectual genius to dumber than Dumb and Dumberer; whether you've got your finger on the pulse of world events or are still trying to figure out where in the world Afghanistan is, these Web sites provide helpful alternatives to some of the mainstream news fare. So log on and start reading all about it -- who says you can't be your own editor?

On the Left:

Alternet -- -- Launched in 1988, AlterNet is a product of the Independent Media Institute, a nonprofit media watchdog organization. Alternet provides news, opinion and investigative journalism on a broad range of subjects.

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting -- -- FAIR is a national media watchdog and offers well-documented and researched critiques of media bias and censorship.

Media Channel -- -- Media Channel's slogan, "As media watch the world, we watch the media," is telling. The site provides information on current mainstream media censorship and offers links to hundreds of other sites. Produced by Globalvision New Media, a project of the Global Center, and OneWorld, Media Channel is the first media and democracy super-site on the World Wide Web.

MoveOn -- -- MoveOn builds electronic advocacy groups on issues such as campaign finance, environmental and energy issues, impeachment, gun safety and nuclear disarmament. Once a group is assembled, MoveOn provides information and tools to help each individual have the greatest possible impact.

Znet Mag -- -- A top spot for the seriously left-minded, Znet takes on current world issues. The site has a well-organized collection of news stories, essays, interviews, commentaries and interactive debates. You'll read the likes of Noam Chomsky and Norman Solomon, see artwork from underground comic guerrillas and have access to one of the best-archived Internet sites out there.

On the right:

Media Research Center -- -- Founded in 1987, MRC's mission is to bring balance and responsibility to the news media, which, it claims, has been corrupted by liberal spin. MRC offers different perspectives on current news stories, particularly U.S. politics.

Reason -- -- Reason Online is the cyber-version of the monthly print magazine. Its quirky conservatism promotes "free minds and free markets." The site is full of great graphics and focuses mainly on American politics and culture.

National Review -- -- Highly commercialized, the National Review is nevertheless full of useful tools, links and news stories that bring current issues and events to readers in a different light. Prepare to muck through the pop-up ads, offers for National Review cross-marketing material and promotions, but you'll find in-depth articles and perspectives.

World Net Daily -- -- World Net Daily is an independent site based on a mission to bring hard-hitting journalism to its viewers. The site is updated daily and is a great spot to find links to foreign and domestic newspapers, news wires, government documents and links to contact government officials.

International sites:

Global Spin -- -- Founded in 1999, this is a complete guide to world news. Global Spin offers consistently updated information and has links to news in more than 100 countries.

News Unlimited -- -- News Unlimited is the cyber-offshoot of The Guardian, one of London's biggest newspapers. Like the BBC, The Guardian has become more popular in the United States as people grow weary of American-style commercialized news fare. The Guardian may even start a subscription-based magazine for U.S. readers. The site offers lots of international coverage, is updated daily and provides links to plenty of other well-respected news sites.

The Paper Boy -- -- A window into virtually any newspaper in the world, The Paper Boy can link you to conservative and liberal papers from Ireland to China to Peru in seconds.

Issue-Specific Sites:

APB News -- -- APB provides information on crime, justice and safety. The site is maintained by the belief that the U.S. criminal justice system belongs to its citizens. Good information and useful links are abundant.

Columbia Journalism Review -- -- A media watchdog, the CJR is most noted for its complete listings of what corporate media actually own. By clicking on "Who Owns What" at CJR's homepage, you'll be able to find out exactly what each multinational company owns.

Dollars and Sense -- -- An extension of Dollars and Sense Magazine, the Web site offers big-picture analysis and visionary alternatives to corporate misbehavior. Dollars and Sense focuses on economic issues and has plenty of research information.

Pew Research Center for People and the Press -- -- The Pew Center is an independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics and public policy issues. It's a huge domain, carrying plenty of informative reports and studies on contemporary media.

7/24/03 Polling Report -- -- Polling Report is an independent, non-partisan resource on trends in American public opinion. This is a great site for anyone looking for updated political polls or survey results on a variety of topics. It also provides debate on current lobbies, laws and other political issues.

Publication date: 07/24/03

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