We are living in an interesting time, folks! It’s easy for younger people to want to “stay out” of politics or current events in general. School allows us to live in a comfortable, low-conflict bubble – leaving it is easier said than done! However, I firmly believe that staying informed is necessary to understand the world around you.
I will admit though, I struggle with staying on top of the news. I don’t keep a TV in my room, and I honestly don’t have the time or money to get the Wall Street Journal delivered to my dorm every day. Because of this, I need to be *creative* in order to stay informed as a busy college student. If you’re anything like me and you’re looking to get on top of your news, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Know! Your! Sources!
Okay, ya’ll. It’s time to get real.
STOP GETTING YOUR NEWS FROM FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.
I know it’s tempting – especially because you consume it on the daily already. However, getting your news from the people you follow presents an interesting problem. I mean, you follow these people for a reason, right? Something about them aligns with who you are personally. Because of this, there’s a high chance that you’re only seeing views that you’re comfortable with and agree with. Now, why is this a bad thing?
It can put you in an “echo-chamber”. Remember that as there are multiple sides to every story, there are also multiple sides to every issue. Staying informed based solely on what you see on your feed paints a very one-sided, biased image, which can hinder your understanding of the full picture. This is why I am a huge proponent of pulling from different sources when I’m trying to get my news. When you’re researching an issue, it might be a good idea to look at both conservative and liberal sides, or to look for counterarguments in general. It might sound tedious, but I promise it will help you get a better idea of the situation overall. I might be biased though – it’s kind of like a research paper to me (and I love research papers!).
2. Try out shows and documentaries to see what you’re interested in.
So if you’re not a weirdo like me and you don’t like researching things, there are definitely other ways of getting “into” the news. Raise your hand if you spend a pointless amount of time watching Netflix when you should be studying or doing something productive.
Thankfully, even Netflix has opportunities for you to stay informed! There are a ton of documentaries on different political and cultural issues, and a lot of times they’re super interesting. I personally recommend “The Bleeding Edge” if you want to learn more about medical devices/the FDA, but there’s a documentary for pretty much anything you’re interested in.
Also, I can’t talk about politics/the news on Netflix without mentioning my favorite comedian/political commenter. He hosts a show called Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which posts new episodes every Sunday. The show covers different current events in a fun and dynamic way while still providing useful information. Plus, Hasan is freaking hysterical and it’s guaranteed to make you laugh at one point or another. I absolutely love watching it every week, and I think you all will like it too!
Starting with shows/docs can help you figure out what issues you’re interested in, and give you a better starting point for when you move into daily news consumption! Speaking of which…
3. Subscribe to a daily email service!
I don’t know about you guys, but I check my email religiously. One of the first things I do in the morning is check my email (in addition to Instagram, of course)! It’s where my teachers send us updates, where we get information about social events, and so much more. Since it’s such a central hub for information, why not throw in some real-life news in there too?
Personally, I subscribe to The Skimm, which is a daily email service. They break down the news of the day before in totally readable terms (no political jargon here, folks!), and it takes a couple of minutes to read every day. I like to check my Skimm during my morning cup of coffee, and it keeps me informed without too much effort.
Alternatively, newspapers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both send out daily emails if you subscribe to them! Subscriptions start at $1/month (and might be free through your school), so that’s always something worth checking out.
4. Find fun ways to get your news
If reading the paper every morning does not sound like your jam, however, that’s no excuse! There are tons of other ways to get your news and stay up to date on the world.
I personally love listening to news podcasts. It’s super easy to work into my daily routine – all I have to do is pop in my headphones to get the day’s news. News podcasts are also great for staying informed because you can pick and choose how “deep” you want to get into the subject! If you want to listen to a two-hour long podcast on gerrymandering, there’s a pod for you. However, if you want to get the low-down on all the important stuff in under 45 minutes, there’s a pod for you too!
Check out my news podcast recs down below (and follow me on Spotify!):
It might not feel like you have a lot of time to devote to getting news, but I promise it’s worth it! Beyond being good for conversation, staying informed is key to ensuring that the decisions you make (like voting) come from a factual & well supported place. I think it’s more important now than ever to keep up with the world around you, and hopefully these tips will help you do just that!