Source: I am an American living in China.
Philipp's answer is great, but I'd like to add something about VPNs.
As many of you know, a VPN allows you to (at least most of the time) bypass whichever firewall which might be in the closed country. This will allow you to access any news sites that are open in other countries' internet.
There is a HUGE problem with doing this: legality and accessibility of VPNs.
In China (I can't really speak to other countries), they are not always legal. They are used by many foreigners, and some local Chinese people, but the government can penalize use of them.
Couple of stories (if anyone has a link I'd appreciate it):
(hearsay) A foreigner normally uses a VPN, but all of a sudden, his phone will not connect to the internet at all. He has plenty of data, and he's paid his phone bill. The government contacts him and asks him to surrender his phone temporarily. They return the phone, and to his surprise his VPN(s) have been deleted.
A Chinese national (via their VPN) hears another Chinese national discussing the Government in a negative light on Youtube, and contacts the authorities. The reporting national gets fined a large amount.
A foreigner put a VPN on a Chinese national's computer, and the national downloaded pornography (possessing pornography is illegal in China) onto his machine. The Chinese government put the foreigner into prison.
These are not necessarily isolated incidents, but something that happens quite frequently.
Accessibility: the Chinese government recognizes the utility of VPNs (particularly software engineers and people learning English for example), and there are "government approved VPNs" that are free and that people can use. However, these report the web activity to the government, and still block certain websites defeating the point of a VPN.
The common western owned VPNs are "allowed", but are not approved for that reason. One has to be careful at times when using one, and the service tends to not work as well when there is a political event involving China or its allies.
So yes, some people use VPNs but it's pretty rare. Most people do not, and have no interest in hearing news that is from outside China. I would assume in other closed countries, it's relatively similar.