The Slavic department of the George Washington University offers a bi-weekly podcast (or webcast, as they call it). The webcast, entitled News of the week in simplified Russian, offers, as the title of the webcast indicates, summaries of the news from the past 2 weeks. 🙂 Snippet from the site:
News of the week in simplified Russian is posted to the web bi-weekly and delivers a survey of the previous two weeks’ news in simplified standard Russian Listeners of Voice of America’s “Special English” broadcasts will recognize the slightly slower rate of speech and textual redundancy which characterize these webcasts.
Why News of the week in simplified Russian ? Back in Soviet times, the news was easy to understand. The propaganda-laden messages were predictable and the diction clear and slow. Post-communist newscasts feature telegraphic speech and slurry diction. Our webcasts serve as a stepping stone between the teacher talk of the classroom and the “real” Russian of the media.
Authentic news. The news itself is taken from a number of Russian sites, including Lenta.Ru, Vesti.Ru, Ytro.ru and other authentic sites.
Perhaps one of the best features of the site is that there are full transcripts of every episode they’ve ever done. It’s recommended that you listen to the audio first without the text, to get the most out of it – but once you get stuck, you can always fall back on the transcripts. Not only are transcripts available, but there are also exercises for every single episode.
The archives for the website go back to 2003, so there’s a lot of content here. The interface of the website is a bit clunky, but it’s worth fighting with.
In regards to language level, the webcasts are recommended for “students with listening skills at ACTFL Intermediate Mid to Intermediate High. In most cases, that corresponds to college Russian at the end of second-year.”
Last (but certainly not least!), the webcasts are a project of the National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC).