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World Wide Events

Tie-in features are staple page-fillers for most magazines, Sunday papers, and now even the dailies with their pull-out supplements. While features afford plenty of opportunities for freelance journalists it's still taxing to find something, apart from hard news, to write about. Step forward the enormously useful World Wide Events Web site.

To find interesting events to preview or be commissioned to cover in time for magazine deadlines we have to rely either on personal knowledge or annual listings in the annual writers' directories. While these are handy for upcoming sporting occasions and exhibitions, they're often printed too far in advance to be truly useful. For example, music concerts are often missing. The annual directories also don't list very many events. Not as many as 37,000 (Ed note: Now over 100,000 listings, target 250,000 3 months) at any rate, which is the number contained in World Wide Events' database.

World Wide Events is a global mega-listing of forthcoming events in 23 countries around the world and even better it's completely free to tap into. Need to find something going on in late March down in rural Devon? You got it. If you're a freelance journalist you'll undoubtedly already know what's happening in your region, but now you'll be able to find events that take place a convenient driving distance away or those that tie in with a trip abroad.

Cooperation is what the Internet does best, and the more people that contribute local listings to World Wide Events, the greater the benefit for everyone else. It is simply a great idea that's been waiting to happen. The site wasn't around two years ago, and we should be truly thankful for it, and the Internet as a whole, for making our lives so much easier.

Simplicity is often equated with elegance, and it's no bad thing that World Wide Events is so straightforward to use. You can search England by individual counties and the US by its States or else view a listing for the entire country. It is slightly frustrating that you can't see all the events in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland at the same time, but it doesn't take long to look at them individually. If you have some idea of what you're looking for, a keyword search facility enables you to narrow the results down further.

And that's really all there is to say, except that this modest and unassuming site has a very understated design and no flashy Web technology to slow it down. Thank heavens for that.

Graham Southorn

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