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The News: Staying Informed in the Digital Age

Millennials are said to be the generation that’s killing newspapers and isn’t well-informed, largely due to the overwhelming amount of (often unverified) information on the internet. With the rise of social media platforms that constantly flood us with images and messages, it can be incredibly hard to sift out the important information and get a good grasp of what’s going on. I used to give up and just avoid the news because I would get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available, and my lack of ability to discern what was trustworthy information. I wanted to share a few of the ways that I have found make staying updated easier, as well as some tips on how to interpret/judge news articles for bias.

When reading articles, pay attention to the way information is stated. Does it vilify the opposing side? Is the opposing side addressed at all? Does it imply things that the speaker never said? It’s hard to find a truly neutral news source, but for me, the NYT seems to be the best about this, which is why I mainly read their articles. However, if I notice only one side is represented or I don’t understand the other side, I’ll often look up the issue and read an article that addresses the other side more. It’s important to have a balanced view of an issue so that you can make a clear judgement and take a stance.

If you get news from sources that don’t go through an editor first (like twitter), fact check! Even our own president tweets factually incorrect statements. While articles can sometimes misstate or provide false information, it is usually already fact checked or a correction is issued after publication. If it hasn’t been checked, don’t just blindly believe numbers that are thrown at you!

Without further ado, here are my favorite resources. I hope these help you the way they have helped me!

Quartz News App

The Quartz app

This app is awesome. Especially if you don’t have a lot of time to sift through news or read through articles. Personally, I used this in addition to other sources. Quartz gives you news updates in the format of texts. Simply open up the app and it’ll hit you with the latest headline. From there, you click one of two responses to either hear more about this headline or move on to the next one. The headlines are gathered from different sources and you can click directly on the message to be redirected to the article if you’re interested/ have some free time. It reports general political happenings, scientific findings, stock market updates, cryptocurrency updates, and various other pieces of news that may not be essential to your day, but can be quite interesting! The app even has a “Trump snooze” feature if you want a break from hearing about The Donald. This definitely sets them up to seem more partisan, although they are relying on various sources to deliver their news.

Pros: Quick. Free. Easy to use. News from different sources. Wide array of type of news. Can skip any uninteresting headlines.

Cons: An anti-Trump lean. Not always the most relevant news.

NPR UpFirst Podcast

NPR Up First Podcast

This is probably my most used resource for getting news. This podcast is short (10-15 minutes), FREE, and has new episodes every morning Monday-Friday. It definitely does not include all important news for that day but is a great way to get a gist of the news while getting ready in the morning or driving to school/work. The presenters do come off a little biased against Trump, but they bring on specialists that explain things so the listener can understand the overall scope of the situation. These specialists are generally stating facts and expressing opinions of various political officials, rather than saying the Democrats are wrong, or the President is wrong.

Pros: Free. Can do other things while listening. Short. Good, generally objective explanations for people not familiar with governmental operations and how they affect citizens.

Cons: Presenters may be biased. Does not include all newsworthy items.

NYT Morning Briefings

NYT Morning Briefings

Morning briefings are sent to your email in a newsletter format, and are a great way to to get a more complete look at the news in addition to a podcast. I usually scan this email in the mornings and read about any news items that weren’t mentioned in the NPR podcast. These emails are great because they summarize everything for you, but include hyperlinks to more in-depth articles if you’re interested. You can sign up for these even if you do not have a NYT subscription!

Pros: Free. More comprehensive. Links to more in-depth information

Cons: Only comes from one source (The New York Times).

NYT Daily Paper online

FREE NYT subscriptions

If you’re a student with time to read, and prefer your news in article form, I have good news! The New York Times offers FREE subscriptions to college students! You read that right. FREE. You can read the articles in the actual paper in a digital copy online. Scroll down in the sidebar of their app to access it, or click to open in the top right corner of their website on a computer. Reading the actual daily edition is going to be more informative than the articles posted online since most newspapers constantly create and overturn articles to keep their website changing.

Pros: FREE!

Cons: More time consuming.

Politicians on Twitter

Twitter

If you have a twitter already, following politicians is one way to stay up-to-date on big news. They usually tweet out announcements or commentary on events. I don’t find this to be the best way to get news, simply because there are so many other tweets to get through. It’s somewhat tedious to keep up in this way, but it can be supplemental information when you do come across it while scrolling through your feed. I wouldn’t rely on this as my only source!

Pros: All politicians are on twitter. Short messages. Often helpful threads explaining political terms/happenings.

Cons: A lot of non-news tweets to get through. Can bias what news you see based on who you follow. Doesn’t always give a full picture.

Were these helpful to you? Do you have any tips or tricks for staying updated with a busy schedule? Share them with me!

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