The first rule of news is never to get yours from newspapers or televisions. This goes doubly for American and Australians. Less so for the English: you have the BBC and the Guardian (and to a not-much-less-extent the Independent and the Times. You bastards). You clearly would not be here without internet access, so:
The Guardian is the best newspaper in the world. The non-English may prefer to start at their World section. The slighly-conservative Times of London is good, as is the assuredly non-conservative Independent (it is quite good – the front page just looks kind of silly).
Another good newspaper is the International Herald Tribune. It used to be a lot better, before editorship fell entirely under the New York Times, but it is still a good newspaper of world affairs, and one of my favourite parts of international travel. Headphones, IHT’s and departure lounges. Wonderful things in combination.
If you can handle other languages, Le Monde, La Repubblica and El Pais are excellent newspapers also. If you cannot (like me), give the Guardian’s world news guide a try. I recommend the Moscow Times and Egypt’s Al-Ahram very highly.
Outside of print, the BBC is easily the best thing around. If you’re using something like CNN or Fox instead, you don’t know what you’re missing. And I mean that literally – those networks are only making you less informed, not more, and a poorer citizen, not a better one. Google News is also a good place to go to catch latest news, although can be a bit of a victim of the news cycle. EIN News’ (itself fantastic) Central Europe Online is pretty good, as is Deutsche Welle.
Purely web-based enterprises that are well worth the time are Truthdig and Truthout, which includes both news and editorials from all over. 10 x 10 is of some use, but much fun to use. I treat the Huffington Post a little like Google News. It also serves as a good portal into American newspapers, rather than suffering their front pages (I am being unkind, but justly so. America suffers most, I think from not having a national newspaper). If you’re in America, be sure to complement your news with daily allowances of Media Matters and the Columbia Journalism Review (there used to be the CJR Daily, also, which was really good, but…funding cuts).
Analysis and Editorial
Outside of the News Proper. The Guardian’s editorial staff are pretty good (though a little left, which may or may not be your thing). One of its absolute stars is George Monbiot, whose predominantly environmentalist writing can be found on his own site. Related to which I also recommend Clusterfuck Nation, the Oil Drum and more generally things like Grist magazine. Also be sure you read Environmental Economics, Oikos (also Australian) and Ecological Economics. And Treehugger, of course!
Actually, the Oil Drum and Environmental Economics are both big favourites of mine (environmentalhealthnews.org is also terrific for seeing what’s happening at the nexus of the environment and health). The blogroll over at the Oil Drum is great.
Things Generally Editorial and Discussion: try the Nation, Harpers or the New Yorker. TomDispatch is great, as is Perceval Press and Mother Jones. Alternet will again be better when it stops letting in such poor quality. Open Democracy is commentary of a more lofty analytical nature, but if the topic appeals to you, so will the article, I’m sure. Foreign Affairs is critical, along this dimension of exposure, also.
Wired and Discover magazine are excellent for science and technology, without having to enter the more Slashdot kind of world. Wired is becoming ever more lifestyle-oriented, though. The Digital Journalist is excellent (it is based upon photojournalism, and is always worth the 10 minutes).
Finally the likes of BagNewsNotes is excellent for looking behind the images we are given in so-called mainstream media – I clearly don’t think much of it, but it is fun to keep up with what the mainstream is doing. Crooks and Liars is also a good use of a lunch-hour spent at one’s desk.
The Wooster Collective, a great resource for/of street art.
BLDGBLOG (that’s Building Blog) is bloody great, truly truly interesting. The blogroll there is a sight to behold, as well. Its cohorts Inhabitat (which I love) and Subtopia (I’m less familiar, generally, but it is quite interesting to visit).
The Harper’s Index: Each month, the Harper’s Index provides a statistical snapshot of the world’s economic, political, and cultural climate (their description). It’s now behind a subscription wall, the bastards.
Statistical Modelling, Causal Inference and Social Science: In fact the authors throw in a second, Oxford, comma, which really is a shame. A little bit Bayesian, but a little bit of other things.
Mathworld: As I’m sure you’re aware, Wikipedia can be mined for a lot of information; Mathematics and Statistics are no exception. Mathworld also is a very good resource (put out by Wolfram, makers of Mathematica).
Surfstat Australia: Another good online text in introductory statistics.
The Big Picture: A macro perspective on (their words) the capital markets, economy, geopolitics, technology and digital media. I really like this blog.
Marginal Revolution: A co-authored weblog containing a host of well-organised discussion. More than a little to the right of me, but a decent gateway to other Economic-oriented sites.
Paul Krugman’s Op-Ed columns from the NY Times: Probably to the left of me, and I have heard many an argument against Paul Krugman even being an economist anymore. Still an interesting columnist (this link in no way comprises my endorsement of the New York Times. If you want news, read the Guardian). Paul Krugman also has a NY Times blog, which is worth visiting.
Ludwig von Mises Institute: More of the Austrian School – this one has a blog, articles, even a podcast! Quite an interesting site. Say what you will, the Austrian school are an interesting bunch.
Economy Professor: Economic theories and theorists. A very nicely-run site.
New Economist: New economic research, data, events and analysis from a London-based macroeconomist.
Economics A-Z: From the Economist magazine.
That other thing on the internet that employs my time (did you think it was porn? Sorry). Vastly superior to the normal kind of comics (the genius Brian Wood notwithstanding – although to be fair his are hardly of the normal variety. Don’t believe me? Go read Channel Zero and Jennie One, and we will discuss this again)
In no particular order,
It all starts, as it must, with Megatoko. read about Fred Gallagher’s adventuresome duo in Tokyo.
Real Life: Greg Dean’s life (space station notwithstanding).
Little Gamers: Swedish gamer love. Of the dick-and-fart joke variety. That’s probably unfair. Mr. Madsen and Christian are super-cool.
Penny Arcade: if you don’t know who Gabe and Tycho are, you shouldn’t even be on the internet. And that isn’t even an elitist thing to say.
Three Panel Soul: Matt Boyd and Ian McConville are goddamn geniuses. Three Panel Soul continues their collaboration post-MacHall.
Exploding Dog: you write it, he will draw it.
PhD Comics: of great comfort, relevance and humour to of us so afflicted. I don’t know about the rest of you.
The Perry Bible Fellowship: now runs in the Guardian. Weird, weird.
Mitch Clem: punk humour
Unshelved: Library and librarian humour. No, seriously.
Multiplex: cinema humour!
XKCD: maths humour? Remarkably clever stick-figure comic.
Copper: currently on hiatus, but if you’ve never seen it before that won’t matter until you’ve read and marvelled at what is already there. Kazu Kibuishi also produced the marvellous Daisy Kutter, by the by.