Best Alternative News Sites | The Good Web Guide (2024)

Here are the best alternative news sites that uphold the art of journalism. Who knows, you could even help shape the news agenda!

The world has faced many serious crises in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has been followed by Putin's invasion of Ukraine and now, as a result of those two events as well as Brexit, we are facing a cost of living crisis. The very last thing we need is fake news, PR spin or post-truth politics. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the information that we digest cannot be relied upon, where the manipulation of news for political, corporate or personal agendas is rife, and where journalists are vilified, threatened or silenced for exposing corruption, crimes and injustice. In the reporting of seismic world events, even sites that we intrinsically trust have been pulled up over misinformation. It may be an occupational hazard when it comes to reporting on fast-changing situations. There are, however, some independent news sources to whom we can turn for a better representation of what is happening – minus the agenda

So how do we, as readers, get closer to the truth? While no reporting is entirely without bias, there are still, thankfully, some news outlets that work against the grain by undermining traditional media and attempting to reveal hidden truths.

This list of alternative media contains some of the best independent news sources. No PR spin, no advertising, no corporate media agenda and plenty of non-mainstream news and alternative media sources: rather, just eleven sites that uphold the art of journalism in a time of world crises.

Tortoise

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Founded in 2019 by James Harding, the former Times editor and BBC News Director, Tortoise is a membership-based title that specialises in what it calls ‘slow news’. In practice, this means that it publishes long-form articles by some of the best journalists writing today, offering deep explorations of social, political and scientific issues. One week’s content might explore the repercussions of the murder of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and another could look at gut microbiomes. With some excellent journalists on board (including former Spectator editor Matthew d’Ancona) and a sense of interaction with its readership, thanks to regular ‘ThinkIns’ which allow Tortoise members to discuss articles with their writers and editors, this looks as if it might be the true future of journalism, 21st-century style.

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The Onion

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Parody publication The Onion was founded in 1988. Since its move online in the late 1990s it has become exceptionally popular. The Onion takes news stories and gives them satirical twists to reveal the absurdity of not only what is happening, but also the manner in which the mainstream media reports it. It's clever, extremely funny and hyper-aware, playing on the way the news has become another branch of the entertainment industry. Sample headlines include ‘Right Wingers Criticise Kanye For Not Using Platform To Raise Awareness of Lesser Known Nazis’ and ‘Congressional Democrats Put On Elaborate 4th Of July Pageant To Teach Republicans Importance Of Democracy.’ Hands down the best news site for proving how serious a business satire can be.

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Human Rights Watch

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Do you find that the mainstream media has a bias towards certain sorts of stories and sectors of society? Do you have a sense that there are all sorts of terrible things happening in the world that you simply never hear anything about? Human Rights Watch helps to correct that balance by investigating and reporting on abuses in every corner of the globe. As they explain, ‘We are roughly 550 plus people of 70-plus nationalities who are country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime to refugees and children in need. We direct our advocacy towards governments, armed groups and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies and practices.’ To ensure its status as one of the best independent news sources, it refuses government funding and regularly reviews its donations to ensure that donors are consistent with the values the publication espouses. Most recent articles at the time of writing were as diverse as The Exploitation of Personal Data in Hungary’s 2022 Elections, and Experiences of Children Repatriated from Camps for ISIS Suspects and Their Families in Northeast Syria.

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21st Century Wire

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‘News for the waking generation’ is how 21st Century Wire describes itself. With bureaus in Europe and North America, it was founded in 2009 with the intention of creating hyper-blogs, ‘offering bold commentary, news, views, analysis, as well as thought-provoking curated content from around the web.’ Its contributors are based all around the world, creating a hugely diverse range of voices and standpoints, thus making this one of the best news websites. Features include those on how Christians became a minority in England and why Germany is at risk of a mass exodus in the industry sector.

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Off Guardian

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Created by former Guardian journalists who became disillusioned by “the increasingly distorted and tendentious news reporting on Libya, the proxy-war in Syria, and the Ukraine Crisis,” Off Guardian believes “in a true free press that (consistently) speaks truth to power” and acts to remind mainstream media (especially The Guardian) of this duty.

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Consortium News

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Now in its 28th year of independent journalism, Consortium News was founded by the late Robert Parry as the first online investigative news magazine. As he reflected, at that point, ‘there was already a crisis building in the U.S. news media. The mainstream media was falling into a pattern of groupthink on issue after issue, often ignoring important factual information because it didn’t fit with what all the Important People knew to be true.’ Having been one of the journalists who uncovered the Iran-Contra scandal for Associated Press in the 1980s, Parry was alarmed by what he saw as the ‘propaganda and silliness’ that had pervaded the US media. He deemed that the American press had learned nothing from the disaster of the Iraq War and, in the run-up to it, had actively betrayed the public. Parry’s attitude – and his legacy – can be summed up in his own words: ‘When I was a young reporter, I was taught that there were almost always two sides to a story and often more. I was expected to seek out those alternative views, not dismiss them or pretend they didn’t exist. I also realised that finding the truth often required digging beneath the surface and not just picking up the convenient explanation sitting out in the open.’

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AlterNet

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Launched in 1998, AlterNet is a project of the non-profit Independent Media Institute, with a progressive liberal stance, aiming to inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights, civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues and more by providing independent news stories, hard-hitting critiques of policies, investigative reports and expert analysis. The content tackles stereotypes, prejudice and inequality and turns the coin on contentious issues, offering insight and new perspectives on persistent social problems.

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Media Lens

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Launched in 2001 by David Edwards and David Cromwell, Media Lens aims to challenge the way in which it sees news and commentary being ‘filtered’ by the media’s profit-orientation and by dependence on advertisers, parent companies, wealthy owners and official news sources.

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Air Mail

Graydon Carter’s Airmail has been landing in subscribers’ inboxes at precisely 6am every Saturday since July 2019, complete with its mid-flight vintage airliner logo and slogan announcing that it is intended to be read by the ‘world class traveller’. The ex-Vanity Fair editor describes it as ‘the weekend edition of a non-existent international daily’, and it offers up features that range from the millennial obsession with astrology to why Harry married Meghan; the rise and (supposed) fall of Farrow & Ball to cases of unexplained true crime. Created alongside Alessandra Stanley, a critic and reporter for The New York Times, subscribers can expect magazine-length articles that go out as a newsletter but can also be read via the website (much like yours truly), the breadth of which has been descried as ‘The Economist with attitude’ but which we find resembles nothing quite so much as… well, Vanity Fair. Not that we’re complaining. A great, varied read.

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Truth Out

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Founded in 2001, Truth Out’s mission statement is clear from its title: it is a non-profit organisation dedicated to reporting on social justice issues. It has, since its inception, ‘anchored our work in principles of accuracy, transparency, and independence from the influence of corporate and political forces.’ It exists not simply as an underground news site for conveying information, but as a means of sparking action against injustice. You will find no advertising nor corporate backing here; instead, it depends on readers and a few simpatico foundations to support its raison d’etre: to go deeper, to discover the truth and to put it out there. For a steer on its content, its main categories are under tabs titled as follows: fracking, immigration, Donald Trump, Labor, and Herschel Walker.

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On Our Radar

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On Our Radar works by having a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. Its far-reaching tentacles are able to get to hard-to-reach spots thanks to its having established partnerships and community reporter networks ‘from unheard groups worldwide.’ More than anything, this commendable site is about storytelling – and the ability to tell one's story is, as we know, an act that not only empowers the teller but aids understanding in others. In short, everyone wins. They say, ‘Over a decade of collaborating with communities – from garment workers in Bangladesh to people living with dementia in the UK – a clear framework has emerged to enable marginalised groups to be able to share their stories.’ For anyone seeking our alternative news in the UK, this is a great option.

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More Sites That Support The Journalistic Cause

Hooked? Delve into more unbiased

news sources in the UK

with our pick of five more alternative sites we rate highly.

Antiwar.com

For pacifists seeking an anti-war agenda via their preferred news source, Antiwar has a free newsletter and even a radio station dedicated to the cause of non-interventionism.

Read it here

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Democracy Now!

A daily global independent news hour, Democracy Now! is presented by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan González and its content ‘includes breaking daily news headlines and in-depth interviews with people on the front lines of the world’s most pressing issues.

Read it here

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The Real News Network (TRNN)

TRNN is a non-profit organisation with a very clear agenda: to connect its readers to ‘the movements, people, and perspectives that are advancing the cause of a more just, equal, and livable planet.’ Expect rigorous, engaged journalism, available across all social platforms and its podcast too.

Read it here

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Truthdig

As its title suggests, Truthdig is all about digging behind the headlines to bring readers a variety of perspectives on a story, as well as sharp analysis. It also offers ideas. As it explains, ‘‘digging’ to uncover problems is of limited value if all it does is leave you at the bottom of a deep hole with no way out. So we’ll go beyond and identify possible solutions that may offer pathways to create positive change.

Read it here

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This Can't Be Happening

This Can't Be Happening’s tagline proudly boasts that it is ‘The only news organization in the US to be labelled a threat by the Department of Homeland Security.’ And with that, it sets out its stall. Founded by Dave Lindorff as a blog in 2004, the site soon gained readers and recognition – and contributors, all of whom shared ‘Dave’s profound frustration with the shallowness and the fawning complicity of the establishment corporate media (and with the establishment not-for-profit media, too)’.

Read it here

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By Nancy Alsop
Updated 2022

Best Alternative News Sites | The Good Web Guide (2024)
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