Thursday, July 01, 2010
ProCon.org: An unbiased analysis of controversial issues
A few days ago I stumbled upon a most remarkable website. I see remarkable websites every day - it is part of my job to seek out new and innovative ideas and bring them back to the folks with whom I work. What makes this particular website unique is that it made me think about things that really need thinking about, but about which I am almost completely uninformed.
ProCon.org presents controversial ideas and issues in a plainspoken, straightforward way that acknowledges every side of an argument in a fair and balanced manner. As a non-profit public charity with no government affiliation they are free to address any issue that strikes their fancy. Be it the death penalty, alternative energy, obesity, the war in Iraq or any of a couple of dozen other fascinating and important topics, all are addressed evenhandedly and with candor. To my eye, there is no agenda or bias.
Each topic features an “overview” that presents the issue clearly and in an easily understood manner. The overview is followed by a pro/con section that presents arguments from both sides. In complicated cases where there may be more than two simple viewpoints a strong effort is made to explore the topic throughly and present the issue as far more than two-dimensional.
In a further nod to transparency, they publish not only their list of donors, but their budget and annual reports as well as a detailed analysis of their web traffic and media exposure. There are also detailed biographies of their board and employees - amazing.
As testament to their veracity, ProCon.org has been quoted extensively by such entities as the New York Times, The Congressional Research Service, Forbes Magazine, National Public Radio and many more. Where possible, their reports are annotated and citations are provided. If you require the use of their data or complete reports, they are readily available and there is even a detailed guide to “how to cite ProCon.org” complete with examples of proper bibliographic citation. Very helpful!
Most exciting to us is their “Teachers Corner” where educators can assemble lesson plans and study guides for students from elementary school through universities. There are dozens of testimonials from educators acknowledging ProCon.org’s value in the classroom.
I can not recommend this site more highly. It came to us serendipitously but will remain in our inventory as a valued resource. Great work!
Posted by David Booker at 2:47 PM