Due to the business of everyday life, being aware of world events can be super difficult. It can be especially intimidating to someone who has never followed the news in the past and is trying to get involved in understanding current events now. With so many sources of information and so little time, it might seem easier not to get involved, but understanding current events is vital to being an active, informed member of society. Below are ways to follow the news without feeling overwhelmed or confused by the internet’s plethora of information:
1. Have headlines sent to your phone throughout the day
Smartphones’ news apps can be programmed to send headlines to a user’s home screen as news breaks in real time. While setting this up, one can choose their topics of interest and favorite news sources to be sent headlines from. One of the great things about this is that the headlines will appear conveniently on the home screen right when the article is published. Another benefit of seeing headlines is that they require a very low time commitment: in a few seconds, a lot of information is conveyed, and the headline summarizing the corresponding article can easily be dismissed or clicked on (to read the corresponding article). Another great way to access headlines is by following news sources on Twitter. Most news sources also tweet headlines they publish with links to the corresponding articles. To still receive alerts when new tweets are published, turn on post notifications for the source’s profile.
2. Read morning briefings
Morning briefings essentially summarize multiple major world events (usually five) in one article. They don’t go into too much depth on each topic, but will often link to articles with more detail. Most companies publish these every morning, and they can also be sent to smartphone home screens. They’re super convenient and fairly quick to read. I recommend CNN’s and the New York Times’ briefings.
3. If you don’t want to read articles, listen to podcasts instead
Sometimes, taking the time to read headlines and articles can seem too time-consuming. So, try listening to a podcast instead! Many news podcasts are free on platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Starboard EIC Vivienne Germain recommends “NPR News Now”. Each episode is only five minutes long, and a new one is released every hour.
4. Watch the news on the go
Most news companies have apps that can be downloaded to watch their shows for free. Like podcasts, watching programs is convenient because it removes the reading component that comes with articles. Additionally, this is nice for starting out with following the news because some anchors explain and analyze the information they deliver rather than just state it. Also, they often interview other people to hear their opinions on current events, sharing multiple perspectives.
5. Watch late-night comedy commentary
Late-night television is a great way to keep up on the news, but it should never be the only source used. The great thing about comedians’ commentary on current events is that it’s easier to take in than a serious report because it’s full of jokes rather than just straight-up news. While this is entertaining, late-night commentary is often extremely biased in the direction of the comedian’s and his/her writing team’s beliefs. Additionally, since comedians have to make sure they are entertaining rather than informing the audience, they will only discuss material that they can make funny. So, not all important events will be given equal (if any) coverage based on how easily it can be joked about. Because the information discussed will be selected carefully and delivered with a political bias, it’s best to think of late-night TV as an embellishment rather than a sole source of news.
Always be aware of authors’ biases, and be sure to obtain news from reputable sources. With false information still prevalent on the internet, it is important to research a new source before believing everything it publishes is truthful.