Finding the best online news source is a challenge. I usually read World Magazine, because I like their perspective on things. But their news offering is AP, and you can get that from almost anywhere, so I've found myself looking for more, particularly in the area of international news (which most American sources do a poor job of covering).
Many times, the place I end up is the BBC. The sheer scope of their offerings, along with the commitment to global coverage, makes them very attractive.
But here's a comparison of BBC & one of the leading US sites, CNN, on Sharon's stroke, followed by other reasons I like BBC so much.
BBC's coverage of Sharon's stroke, and CNN's coverage of the same story.
BBC's layout, to me at least, seems cleaner. They have news items, plus links to related stories. CNN has some also, but they also have annoying ads, and in the same color scheme, no less. Not only is CNN trying to sell you something with ads, but they're also slogging their new "pipeline" feature--permium streaming web content.
Here's where the BBC really shines. Over to the left-hand side are links to different languages. Obviously, their offering in English is much stronger. But I love the other language features--including a section on learning other languages. CNN has nothing like this depth of offerings. They offer Korean, Arabic, Japanese, and Turkish, but no other European languages. In fact, although many links exist to CNN en Español, the site is little more than another advertisement--this one for their Spanish programs.
My favorite language offering from the BBC is actually the reverse--taking other views and translating them into English. BBC Monitoring translates a cross-section of commentary on a particular topic from foreign language newspapers and translates it into English. There is nothing else like it on the Web (if you know of something, please let me know.)
To be fair, the Beeb is a quasi-government agency, while CNN is part of a private company. CNN tries to do one thing well, and that's provide news in English (pls the four other languages I mentioned). But at times it seems like their website is setup mainly to push people back to their cable offerings--in a sense, using the news as advertising. It never really seems to exist on it's own, apart from the cable stations.
Before I finish, I'll add a word about bias. Some might complain that there is anti-American bias at the BBC. What I read doesn't seem to appear from that same weakness. The existence of bias at the BBC might be more than American news organizations, and is probably on par with the CBC, but it's certainly less than China or Cuba (all of which I listen to through shortwave from time to time). Ultimately, it's impossible to be completely free of bias, even if it's unintentional; and if you can ferret out a particular organization's bias, it can potentially remain a useful source of information. (Disclaimer here: since I listen to shortwave, and the BBC is the grandaddy of all shortwave offerings, perhaps I'm displaying a bit of bias as well.)
Finally, to make this a bit more interactive, I'm interested in your perceptions of bias in media (particularly those of you reading outside the US), and I'm interested in what web news service you use, if any.