We don’t necessarily want to keep up with the news today when there’s so much happening all at once, and much of it is hard to digest. With news coming at us fast from every direction 24/7, too, how can we possibly keep up?
The truth is, while we can’t consume it all, staying current must become a habit and a priority. Remember the butterfly effect? Something happening far away can impact us too, like conflict bringing up gas and good prices, and knowing more never hurt anybody.
Here are some easy ways to stay informed besides reading the news: with the right resources and strategies in place, you’ll be discussing current events confidently by the water cooler in no time!
1) Listen to Podcasts on Current Events
Podcasts are a great way to stay on top of what’s happening in the world while commuting. There are tons of options out there, so here are a few of our favourites:
The Daily from The New York Times is a must-listen. They examine one important news story each day, covering details you may miss when just skimming headlines. Episodes are usually around 20 minutes.
NPR’s Up First is a quick 10-minute news podcast that catches you up with the top three news stories happening now. It’s a fast, efficient way to start your day informed. If you prefer to stick to just the facts, NPR’s 5-minute news summary podcasts, like Newscast and News Now, offer quick bursts of the day’s headlines with no commentary.
For a more in-depth analysis, check out The Economist’s Editor’s Picks. Their experts discuss key global issues, explaining topics like politics, business, science and technology. Episodes release weekly and run around 30 minutes.
Want something more Asian-oriented? The Straits Times, Singapore’s local newspaper, has a couple of podcasts you can check out.
Find these podcasts on their various websites and Spotify!
2) Follow Key Leaders and Journalists on Social Media
Follow key journalists, thought leaders, and news organizations on social media!
Major news publications frequently share news updates, articles, and analyses.
If you follow reputable journalists and journalists reporting on the news you are interested in, you’ll get news directly from the source, as well as insight into stories they’re working on.
Thought leaders, experts, and academics frequently share information and opinions on trending topics on their various socials. Find people with expertise in areas that interest you, like technology, leadership or marketing. Some great examples for aspiring marketers, for example, include Tim Ferriss (author/podcaster), Simon Sinek (leadership expert), and Guy Kawasaki (marketing/tech evangelist).
3) Watch Educational YouTube Channels
To stay on top of what’s happening in the world, subscribe to educational YouTube channels! These channels create high-quality, engaging content on current events, history, science, philosophy, and more. There are also many channels producing documentaries that may be of interest. Here are some to start you off:
Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
Kurzgesagt uses animations to explain complex topics in an easy-to-understand manner. They cover everything from black holes and evolution to the refugee crisis and universal basic income. The visuals are gorgeous, and the narration is thoughtful.
TED-Ed creates lessons and animated videos on a wide range of subjects. While the content is tailored for students, it’s still great for everyone! They work with world-class educators and animators to bring topics like neuroscience, ancient history, economics, and beyond to life.
DW Documentary is run by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s state-owned international broadcaster. It offers insights into issues occurring around the world, covering poverty, climate change, conflict and more.
4) Download News Apps for Quick Updates
To stay on top of current events in today’s fast-paced world, download news apps that deliver quick updates right to your phone. These apps make it easy to browse headlines and read full articles on the go.
Flipboard is a popular news aggregator app that lets you follow topics and publications that interest you. It pulls in stories from major media companies, blogs, YouTube channels and more. You can browse news by category, save articles to read later and share must-reads on social media. Flipboard offers versions for phones and tablets on iOS and Android.
SmartNews is an AI-powered news discovery engine that provides a curated selection of articles from over 3,000 trusted publications. The app learns your preferences as you read and gets smarter over time. You can follow specific news categories, save stories, hide certain publishers, and get notifications for breaking news. SmartNews is free on both iOS and Android.
For international news and current events coverage, check out BBC News. It features top stories from around the world, along with live video streams, podcasts, and local news sections. You can choose to receive alerts for breaking news stories and save articles to read offline. The BBC News app is available as a free download for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
5) Set a Habit of Reading a News Summary Each Morning
One of the best habits you can develop is reading a quick news summary each morning to stay on top of current events. This helps ensure you don’t miss any major headlines and are aware of the latest happenings in the world.
Check reputable news sources
Many news organizations offer concise summaries of top news stories delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for their newsletters or check their websites and mobile apps. Do explore multiple sources and viewpoints for objectivity and different perspectives!
Keep it brief
Look for news roundups, digests or briefings that provide short summaries and highlights of the main news of the day, both locally and internationally. Glance through the headlines and short descriptions to get the gist, then read in more depth any stories of interest.
Follow topics that matter to you
In addition to general news coverage, subscribe to newsletters focused on subjects you care about like technology, business, entertainment or sports. That way you receive more in-depth reporting on trends and issues relevant to your interests and industry. Look for expert analyses and opinions to build a more nuanced and balanced perspective.
You can also set Google Alerts for important keywords or phrases. You’ll then get notifications sent to your inbox when there are any news updates. To prevent yourself from being overwhelmed, you can decide how often you receive these alerts.
Discuss and debate
Reading the news isn’t enough! If you can, discuss current events with others to strengthen your own opinions and arguments. Share and debate news stories on social media or in person with colleagues and friends. Explaining the news to others also reinforces your own understanding and retention of the information.
6) Have Discussions With Friends and Colleagues
Discussing current events with people in your life is one of the best ways to stay up to date on what’s happening in the world. Your friends and coworkers can offer unique perspectives and opinions on news stories that you may not have considered on your own.
Talk to Friends Casually
When chatting with friends, bring up a recent news story you found interesting and ask for their take on it. For example, you might say something like “Did you see that article on the new tech announced at the conference this week? What did you think about it?” Let the conversation flow naturally from there. Your friends may bring up other related topics or events you weren’t aware of.
Talk Current Events at Work
If appropriate for your workplace, discussing recent news with colleagues is a great way to build camaraderie and stay up to date with trends in your industry. For example, you might chat about news of mergers, policy changes, or new technologies that could impact your field. See if any co-workers have a different take or additional insights to share. These water cooler conversations help ensure you have your finger on the pulse of current events.
How can I avoid information overload and burnout?
Take breaks when needed to prevent feeling overwhelmed by the constant influx of news. Some tips:
- Limit how often you check news sources and social media. For example, avoid looking at the news for an hour before bed.
- Focus on quality over quantity. Read in-depth news analyses and investigative reports rather than dozens of short pieces.
- Balance your news consumption with other activities like exercise, socializing, and hobbies. Make time for self-care!
- Remember that you can’t control world events, only your responses to them. Do small things each day to make a positive difference.
Staying informed may feel like a challenge, but the key is to be selective, consistent and balanced in how you consume and engage with the news. Focus on what really matters to you and make your time count!
Remember: you don’t have to stay on top of every trending topic. Pick and choose what matters most to you and start there! Just following a few key news sources makes a big difference in your awareness and understanding of current events.
You’ve got this!