I realised that around 12 months ago when someone was talking about something that happened in the news my automatic reply was – ‘I’m too busy to read the news’ or ‘It’s too depressing’ – this is no way to live. Staying informed, having an opinion and being able to actively engage in discussions about what is going on outside our own little bubble might be one of the most important ways to spend our time. I thought I’d share the changes I’ve made over the last 12 months to make staying up to date easier – if you want to ‘get better’ and understanding global goings-ons then this might be for you.
Other than the cursory glance at the Daily Mail side-bar of doom I know there are lots of friends and colleagues who want to be better informed but don’t really trust mainstream media to report in a digestible, balanced and well researched way. Yes that is sad that journalistic integrity has fallen down the click-bait black hole but this is how I keep myself up to date.
First stop for me is the Philip DeFranco Show – don’t be put off by his ‘beautiful bastards’ intro – this is an award winning channel which covers political news (largely US focused) and ‘internet news’. I watch his show daily on my lunch break without fail. More research goes into each segment of his show than most of the major media outlets. His key message is that everyone should be voicing opinions based in fact and wider context rather than just taking what we read on Facebook at face value, with the controversy around ‘fake news’ this is really important. He provides hugely insightful and balanced reviews on current topics, then provides his personal opinion rather than masking opinion as fact as we more commonly see in the Media. It’s also great for keeping up to date on ‘trending’ topics online – which working in the digital space is really important for me.
For ‘Niche’ news my interest is primarily within the Fashion and Beauty space. Partly out of personal interest and partly professional. For this type of news I find generalist news sites wholly inadequate because they aren’t focusing on niche topics. For me my big three for trends, industry news and brands I look to Clique Media and Business of Fashion. The first are a group who own sites like WhoWhatWear and Byrdie both of which have great daily emails and mobile-first websites and the second BoF is more focused on the Fashion community, the key players and changes out of the limelight.
With my vow this year to watch less terrible TV read more, listen to more music and stay better informed I invested in an Echo Dot. For those of you who don’t know… I work for Amazon which means I get to see a lot of the gadgets so I couldn’t resist trying it out. I use it as my alarm clock, as a speaker and to play my audio books while I’m getting ready for work in the mornings. Between my alarm and my audio book I say ‘Alexa.. give me the news’, which for me is linked to the BBC but you can link to most of the big news outlets. I then get arun down of the days biggest stories and headlines. Not a bad investment for under £50!
BBC News App – Push notifications
For domestic and international news I am a huge advocate of the BBC News App. I don’t use the app for scrolling on my daily commute I use it primarily for the ‘push notifications. This means that when important political decisions are made I get a pop up on my phone while I’m at work. I can see the key information at a glance and means that I can go back to the story later in the day to get more information on it. If your commute is overground or by bus it’s a great app to scroll through because you can focus on a different region ever day.
Recently I’ve been really getting into audio books (obsessed with my Kindle Unlimited x Audible deal) and pod-casts for when I’m on the go, cooking or getting ready in the morning. If you’re getting more into ‘verbal’ communication I really recommend adding a news/political/business pod-cast into your rotation. There’s a good list I found on the Telegraph which is a good place to start including two of my personal favourites More or Less and Start Up. The reason I find this type of information particularly handy is that it give’s great conversation topics – most of the people I know work in completely different sectors so work-chat for them isn’t going be as relevant – it also means if you’re super busy it’s a way of ingesting information with minimal effort.