Our parents had it easy. While they grew up, the only ways to stay current on what was happening in the world were to watch the news on TV, or to read it in the newspaper. Humans being creatures of habit, most of them still do exactly that. I grew up in a house where my parents watched the local news most every night. But for millennials, it’s a little different. Newspapers may still exist, and local and national news networks still broadcast, but many of us don’t make use of them. Sometimes it’s because we don’t have the budget to subscribe to a newspaper or cable service. It may even be because we don’t have a TV, or even a permanent address. But that doesn’t give us an excuse to fall out of the habit of following world or local events.
But Why Is It So Important?
You’re even reading this website, so I’m probably preaching to the choir when I say that following the news is probably the most important thing you can do to be a competent and productive human being. If you don’t know what’s going on in the world, you have no say in it. If you have no say in what goes on, then life becomes something that just happens to you, and that’s not fun, and definitely a little scary.
Apart from that, following the news can make you more knowledgeable, respected, and all-around intelligent. When someone around the dinner table mentions healthcare, or tax reform, or even the latest diplomatic trip abroad, you can join in the conversation in a meaningful way, whether or not you agree with the person who brought it up. It can also come in handy at work, at school, and in your personal life. When you know what’s going on in the world, or even in your city, it can help inform your daily decisions in ways you may not expect.
As we have seen in the last few years, it is virtually impossible to find a news outlet that doesn’t have some sort of bias. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but you do need to be aware of it. When you choose your personal method of staying current, do a little research into its known political positions and biases. It pains me to even have to say this, but also do a little research into the platform’s factual accuracy. There’s a lot of stories out there that have zero basis in reality, and you don’t want to be caught talking about them when it’s discovered they aren’t true.
I personally believe in the importance of not letting the news overwhelm you. It’s easy to only see the bad news, and get caught up in everything that’s going wrong. Remember to read some human interest stories, and remember that good things happen in the world too. (They just don’t get as much coverage).
There are countless resources out there for staying up on current events. If I covered them all, this post would go on to infinity (and beyond!) So here’s a few suggestions to start with, and some of my personal favorites.
- Make your homepage a reputable news site. BBC or CNN is a great place to start here. I have personally used the New York Times and EuroNews, but there are lots of options to choose from. I’ve found that news organizations based outside the US have a much greater range of world stories on their front page.
- Listen to a podcast on your commute. This is one of my absolute favorite ways to keep up! NPR has a great one that’s only 10 minutes daily, and I personally listen to NYT’s The Daily, which is usually around 25 minutes. You can also supplement these with other podcasts that cater to your specific interests, like the latest in tech or education. I am a HUGE fan of Pod Save America (which is unapologetically biased, I know), and for those of you aspiring entrepreneurs, Gary Vaynerchuk has a great daily podcast as well!
- Get the news directly to your inbox. It’s hard to forget about checking the news when it greets you in your email every day. Lots of outlets offer this service, but I am pretty partial to theSkimm. It usually avoids outright bias, and it covers everything from politics to sports to pop culture. (This isn’t an affiliate link per se, but theSkimm offers every member their own personal link, and I could win some cool prizes if you sign up with them through me.)
There are about a million other ways to stay current with the news, so try out a few things, and find out what works for you! Feel free to let me know what your favorites are, I’d love to hear from you!