I’m never as informed about current events as I wish to be, but these days I’m trying harder. Super storms, elections, and international incidents are in full force with a constant stream of headlines. Reading news on websites feels so cluttered that I tend to gloss over it. But that’s no excuse. I can’t leave myself under a rock just because times have changed. Here are a few strategies I’m using to stay informed:
The Printed Newspaper
It’s my husband’s fault. He still orders the newspaper. I used to get mad at the newspaper because it cluttered my home. But these days I appreciate sitting with the paper in the afternoon, when the kids are doing homework. Sure, it’s a day old, but it’s better than not reading at all. Most importantly, I like the peripheral vision of a hard copy. It’s not customized to my specific preferences. It also includes new movies, local events, editorial, and the Baby Blues and Dilbert comics.
The Podcast App
Brian Wilson of NBC Nightly News does a brief summary of headlines as a video podcast every weeknight. I can pick up what’s happening nationally with his coverage. NPR also produces podcasts on a variety of societal interests. 60 Minutes (going strong since my childhood) also has excellent interviews and reporting on prominent topics. What’s your favorite news podcast – any recommendations?
A“quick news fix” is possible with the Pulse Newsreader, a matrix of feeds where you can scroll down and across on headline images. This app is customizable; any site or blog with an RSS feed will show up in the categories you select. Plenty of “top site” recommendations exist to pull from as well.
NPR on the Car Radio
News on the radio has trumped bad pop music in our car lately, to the dismay of my children. But with elections right around the corner, I wanted the extra coverage. If there is a story my kids might find interesting, I listen, and then turn off the radio to explain the concepts in my own words. Poor kids.
Evening News on TV
This is a tough one. There are so many murders and abductions reported during local news that it’s tough to watch with the kids around. I save this for special reports or weather, and keep the mute button handy. Any suggestions here? Maybe PBS Newshour is a better option than local coverage.
Custom Twitter Stream
On Hootsuite (a social media dashboard), you can add a stream that shows only certain feeds. For example, on my dashboard I have a stream that includes @cnnbrk @sfgate @techcrunch and @nprnews so I can read headlines at a glance whenever I’m tweeting on social media. After adding a stream, click “Preferences”, and then input which twitter handle you’d like to follow. Voila! Real time headlines in 140 characters or less.
What’s Your Preference?
Any other ideas or suggestions we can add to the list? I’d love to hear from parents on how they balance news consumption with kids around – given all of the gory details that deluge us daily!
Images (Screenshots from Podcast app and Pulse Newsreader)