Sphaera Ephemeris is an excellent example of a news blog with a specific focus: Greek news. Nikolaos Karanikos writes, pretty exclusively, on Greek politics, and geopolitics as it effects Greece. I don’t know much (OK, I don’t know nothin’) about Greek politics, but if I were interested in it I would read this site daily. Karanikos doesn’t just aggregate news, he opines at length. He does not mince words. He has harsh words for the Simitis government, and harsher ones for Turkey. I suppose if you disagreed with him you might find his tone inflammatory (“Turko-fascists,” “Simitis the Supine,” etc.) But hey, it’s a blog, and strong opinions well expressed are valuable.
The site isn’t going to win any design awards — it’s functional, cut-and-paste template, and that’s about it. Personally I’d like to see the font slightly larger, but then I’m all about the legibility. (Plus I think I need to see an optometrist. But enough about me.) Sphaera Ephemeris has a list of blog-links, (including the NYCBloggers map, yay!), but not much else in the way of extras. (What? No links to recommended Greek news sources?) There’s a search function (powered by Google) but it’s hidden at the bottom of the page, and doesn’t find specific posts, and so is not that useful. He’s just launched a Greek language version of the blog, making this the first bilingual blog I’ve come across, which I think is just grand.
But the major drawback to Sphaera Ephemeris is its lack of community functions like commenting. With strong political opinions such as these, there must be people who agree and disagree. Feedback would make the site a much better source of news. (Think about little green footballs, for example.) I’d really like to see what others think about Karanikos’ opinions. It looks like he’s attempted to use a Yahoo group as a discussion mechanism, but the only posts in it (as of now) are mirrors of his blog posts. His email address isn’t even listed, so if you vehmently disagree with him, there’s no way to let him know. Other than post about it on your own blog, I suppose.
In all, I think this a very good blog, that has the potential to be an important voice for those interested in Greece and European politics. If you’re in that camp, then definitely check it out. If you’re not, then you’ll definitely learn something.Sphaera Ephemeris