Where History is Making News Around the World


Ms. Goodman is a graduate student at Concordia University and an Assistant Editor at HNN.

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If history doesn't really matter, as so many people, taking their cue from Henry Ford, seem to believe, what do they make of all the events in the news that are directly related to history? This is the question they seldom seem to ask themselves. Of the historical anniversaries of which so much is routinely made, of the tensions between nations arising from disputes about history, of the many arguments about the content of student textbooks--of these things they express a determined insouciance that is downright breathtaking.

One measure of the extent of this indifference can be found on this map, which charts a select list of the news stories posted on HNN during the single month of June 2005. Each star on the map represents a different news story. Mouse over any star to see a short explanation. (Clicking on the star will bring up the original link from which the story was drawn except in those cases where the link became outdated.) As with our Breaking News page, descriptions of events are taken directly from the websites where the news is found; quotation marks are dispensed with in such cases.

Like HNN's Breaking News page, the map features only those news stories reported in the English-language press. The result is that the map is heavily skewed toward news stories that draw the attention of English-speaking readers, leading to a heavy concentration of stars in the United States and Western Europe, with a sprinkling of stars in Asia. Click here to view the lists of media sources HNN interns use to track news stories featured on the Breaking News page.

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John Edward Philips - 7/21/2005

Are you checking AllAfrica.com? I don't remember last year's bicentennial of the Sokoto Caliphate being covered at all, despite its being in many news media, with dozens of articles on news.google.com, but a quick search for "Sokoto" on hnn.us turned up only an article about the Miss World riots in Kaduna.

Trust me, you could easily find a LOT more African history news in English, and probably a lot from India and other countries, too.

Nathaniel Brian Bates - 7/11/2005

Mr. Luker, please enjoy the map and let it be.
A Former Intern, now gone to the Field of Infinite Possibilities.

Ralph E. Luker - 7/11/2005

There are certain kinds of obvious barriers, like language, that are certain to influence the way a breaking-news map is going to look.

Bonnie K. Goodman - 7/11/2005

If you think that there are some newsworthy stories that you feel we are missing at HNN, (which has proven to be a comprehensive and very reliable source for history related news) you should include them on your blog on this very site, let us know what we might be missing...
Assistant Editor

Ralph E. Luker - 7/11/2005

No one is asking anyone to invent stories. I simply suggested that the venues for stories that get picked up by HNN may be predisposed to certain georgraphical areas and not sufficiently sensitive to others. Surely you don't think that what appears on HNN is some absolute measure of all that is worthy of coverage as history -- or do you?

Bonnie K. Goodman - 7/11/2005

If you would scour through the breaking news page for news stories in June you would see there has not been many major history related stories in Africa or Latin America. Canada and Australia have had one news story each, both quite inconsequential, while Scandinavia and South Asia literally have had none.
The map is meant to indicate where the brunt of history related news and controversies are occurring in a single month, and for the most part they occur in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. One can't invent news stories to make a more balanced looking map.
Assistant Editor

Ralph E. Luker - 7/11/2005

The technology is remarkable. But the map suggests that there are real blind spots in news coverage. _One_ story for all of Latin America? _One_ story for all of Africa? And that on Egypt, in its Middle Eastern rather than its African relations. Nothing Canadian, Scandinavian, Australian, South Asian?