While I understand most of these are just aggregates of various people's contributions and really represent a vast number of sources, overall, the reports, opinions, and interpretations of news and events seems to cluster pretty closely within these communities.
Additionally, the owners of these news outlets are fairly close with one another which I think further contributes to covering similar type of topics from a very similar point of view. I am not suggesting there is control, manipulation or withholding of news stories, just that people who think alike keep together.
So, is there an alternate tech community out there that interprets the same events discussed here in a completely different light? I know there are individuals here who do, but what about an entire community?
Google News, with some custom sections to emphasize news about science and technology and about education, and the many friends I have on Facebook, who post interesting links regularly. I follow several blogs and other websites with regular news updates, especially about science. When I really want to research a subject in depth, I go straight to the academic libraries of my alma mater university across town (now often via its extensive subscriptions to databases that I can access from home with user authentication I gain through an affiliation with that university). For articles to look at for submission to Hacker News, I
1) make sure to have a science section in my Google News set-up, and additionally use Google News and Google Scholar keyword searches to check submissions by other users to HN,
2) follow the recommendations of certain key Facebook friends of mine who are either professional scientists, science writers, or science educators,
3) daily read Science-Based Medicine
(I don't submit to HN from Science-Based Medicine every day, but I have found some GREAT articles there over the years)
4) daily read Why Evolution Is True
(which sometimes has personal posts by the site owner but also has EXCELLENT posts by him and by guest posters on cutting-edge science issues, some of which I post directly and some of which lead to professional journal articles I post directly)
5) daily read Skeptic Blog
(which goes from very ordinary to EXCELLENT in quality in unpredictable fashion, and has several very thoughtful co-bloggers contributing)
6) daily read Respectful Insolence
(which has had some EXCELLENT posts about the methods of research over the years)
7) receive specific suggestions of research articles to read on human intelligence and human behavioral genetics either by request or by researcher nomination from the Minnesota Twin Family Study researchers with whom I discuss issues in a journal club during the school year
8) occasionally look at Pharyngula
(which is going through a dry spell right now while its author finishes writing a book that I am very eager to read, but which in the past has had some great posts on topics of much interest to HN participants)
9) generally prowl the Web and recommendations I see anywhere else in cyberspace for good articles on science. I test most articles I see submitted anywhere with the checklist from Peter Norvig (Google's director of research)'s article "Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation,"
which is my all-time favorite link to share in discussions on Hacker News.