For years, I had always felt out of the loop – watching the news or listening to an intense political discussion, only to open Safari on my phone and search, “What’s the problem with Obamacare?”
I made it my goal in college that I would graduate with some sense of the world, knowing as much about current events as I could and developing my own opinions on important topics. Here are some of the tips I’ve found to be the most helpful to ensure I stay in the loop!
1. Actually read or watch the news.
It seems pretty obvious, but the best way to stay informed is to find a news source you like and that feels balanced… then read it! I know personally my life is too busy to keep tabs on the news every day, but instead of pouring over Instagram with your morning coffee, download the New York Times app. My personal favorite news outlet is The Washington Post, because they explain things in simple language I can understand. The Skimm also provides awesome daily newsletters that grab the most important news across most platforms and streamlines them to your inbox! You can stay informed with one email.
2. Set a google alert.
Google alerts are really useful if there’s one issue or subject you particularly care about. Having studied abroad in Cuba, relations between the United States and the tiny island that holds my heart are important to me. Rather than scouring the foreign relations pieces on every news site ever, my handy google alert rounds them up for me nightly – dropping the most important pieces of Cuba news into my inbox!
3. Get your news explained with Vox.
With the tagline, “Explain the news,” Vox has single handledly restored my faith in myself as a smart person. The website takes the most important topics and breaks them down from square one for readers, trying to bring everyone to an equal place of shared knowledge. (Read: It does’t make me feel like an idiot for asking questions!) Vox uses informative videos, timelines and infographics to break down today’s news, but my favorite feature is its card stacks. Calling to mind my high school flashcards as study aids, the card stacks explain an issue in short, informative cards, taking readers through a topic piece by piece.
4. Have a good laugh.
I personally learn best when I’m entertained, and political comedy shows like The Daily Show on Comedy Central and Last Week Tonight on HBO can be really great news sources. Though highly eccentric and ridiculous, both Jon Stewart and John Oliver work their butts off to make viewers understand what’s going on in the world – all while giving us a good laugh.
As recent graduates and young professionals, it is our job to shape the way our world looks for the next few decades, and we can only do that if we know what’s happening in it. Staying informed can be really intimidating and overwhelming, but it can be very rewarding when you cast your vote during election season and actually know what you’re doing!