I am a self confessed news junkie, but I admit I can struggle to keep up with all that is happening in the world. We’re living in an age of information overload, which has only gone into overdrive in the past year. So I thought I’d have a go at answering the question: how to keep up with the news.
I don’t shy away from the fact that I may not always be in the know about a topic. It’s better than making up an opinion on something you know nothing about. I’m reminded of the Lie Witness News segments on Jimmy Kimmel where people on the street give their opinion on fake news stories (I do wonder if these segments are staged though).
Just in the past week alone France elected a new president, South Korea elected a new president, Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey, North Korea tested new missiles, a General Election campaign continued in the UK, there was a worldwide cyber attack, and war raged on in Syria. Out of all these complex stories I think I was only able to really look into two of them, everything else I saw in passing. And before I can try and understand anything fully there will be a flurry of new stories to get my head around, like today for instance, Trump reveals highly classified information to Russian Officials.
I feel like its never been more easy to keep up with the news, but there is so much content that it can be overwhelming for people to know where to start.
Here is what you can do.
1. Figure out what is important to you.
For me it’s trying to stay up to date with what is going on back home in New Zealand and figuring out what is happening in my new country of residence Australia. I like many others have a keen interest in what is going on in America. I studied international relations with special focus on East Asia so I want to continue to learn about that. I have an interest in protest movements, elections, human rights and South Asia. It’s a lot to keep up with but I try my best. I am also a pop culture enthusiast therefore I want to keep up with the latest from the world of movies, TV and everything in between.
What’s important to you? Whatever it may be seek out well regarded, trusted and verified news sources that can best help you stay informed.
It’s probably the first source I check each morning to see what news has happened overnight. I follow multiple media organisations and many journalists. It’s an excellent news source to get real time information and reaction to an event. But just don’t get too caught up with the speculation that goes on eg. Twitter going into overdrive speculating over the apparent death of Prince Philip.
I’ll admit my use of news apps is limited as I probably use Twitter more. But for those who are not keen on getting on Twitter download some news apps, read on the go, pretty self explanatory. I have BBC News, BuzzFeed, New York Times, Radio NZ, and Stuff on my phone.
I’ve really gotten in to Podcasts of late, they are perfect for more in depth discussion and analysis on a topic that you have an interest in. If I am not listening to music on the train or bus I’ll probably be listening to Pod Save America.
5. Political satire?
There is obvious bias here (regarding my own political leanings), I am a millennial who grew up watching Jon Stewart, in 2008 one of my main sources to follow the US election was Stewart. Political satire has the ability to “define public opinion on powerful figures” you can’t think of Sarah Palin without thinking of Tina Fey’s impression of her on Saturday Night Live. It’s becoming more informative than ever, while continuing to poke fun at the powerful. While I consume a lot of traditional media, I also love to hear what take these comedians have on topical issues. Seth Meyers A Closer Look continues to be both fascinating, informative and hilarious. I continue to watch The Daily Show, and also love John Oliver and Samantha Bee.
(I am a bit obsessed with political satire, I did a presentation on it for my Modern American Politics class in 2010 and thought I did a really good job. But to this day I am annoyed that it was not graded, but it was still mandatory to pass the course!).
Research has been done, a University of Pennsylvania study found that viewers of The Colbert Report “who watched host Stephen Colbert set up a Super PAC (Political Action Committee) during the last election were better informed about campaign financing than viewers of dedicated news channels and programs.” There has also been a noted effect on what impact the show Last Week Tonight has had in real life.
Learn something new and have a laugh along the way.
This is what I do but what do you think? Do you have other ways to keep up with the news?