Be Happy, Feel Beautiful
Ever feel like you’re stuck in the bubble that is your own life and finding it hard to catch up on world news? Or maybe recent events have your head spinning just trying to differentiate one war from the next? You’re not alone, and there are a few simple things you can do to become more informed about current events in both your local community and the world around you.
Narrow it down to what interests you
Focus on a few topics that are important to you. Do you like to stay updated on human rights issues in the Middle East or Africa? How about the politics surrounding the 2012 presidential race? Or maybe even the latest medical breakthroughs happening throughout the world? Whatever your interests, narrow the focus of your daily news search to something specific to start with and eventually, expand your topics however you feel necessary.
Once you’ve narrowed your focus, to say, the 2012 presidential election, the next step is to get some background information. Start with Wikipedia, even though some deny its accuracy and professors never allow it on works cited pages, it has the ability to get you up to speed on the basics of your topic. In the case of the presidential election, it’ll give you a list of the possible candidates for each political party and a bit of information on each.
Surf the Web
To get more in-depth, current information on topics, try sifting through popular news sites like bbc.com and cnn.com for national and international news. If your topics are local, like a new controversial policy passed by the school board of education or a new store opening, try looking for current news on local newspaper websites. Not sure of your local publications? Try finding one on newsvoyager.com. Just select your state, type in your local town or zip code and search through the results to find a local newspaper near you.
Refresh your radio
Take a little break from Lady Gaga and One Republic, and listen to NPR (National Public Radio). Whether your interests involve music, the arts, sports, health and science, politics, business, or just plain old news, NPR has a radio show suited to you. For general news, try listening to All Things Considered and Morning Edition on NPR. Shows can be heard on the radio, online at NPR.org or even on your phone with the NPR news app.
Check social media
If radio or TV isn’t your prime news source, try using Twitter. Twitter was responsible for breaking the news about the death of Osama Bin Laden, and has the ability to get you updated information of your interests. Follow CNN, The New York Times, or Breaking News for current general news updates. For other topics other than strictly news, search through the Twitter database for information that interests you.
Don’t just read; think on it
Even if you incessantly check Twitter updates, listen to NPR daily, read online news sites constantly, and watch the news every night, it may not be enough to become a true news connoisseur. After reading or hearing about a current event, think about what you’ve learned. If there’s a humanitarian crisis in Sudan, don’t just read the article about millions of refugees left homeless; think beyond the who, what, where and when of the situation, and start asking why and how did this happen? The sooner you question the occurrence of an event the more you will understand the situation, form your own predictions about what could happen to the situation, and maybe even find solutions to the problem.
Check out Commentary Shows
If you find it difficult to truly understand an issue, or you feel the need to take a stance on a topic, try watching commentary shows. If you want to identify with a certain political party, for example, try watching different types of political commentary. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, progressive or a moderate, watch or listen to different shows like, “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” Talk Radio with Rush Limbaugh, and “Real Time with Bill Maher,” watching commentary may make it easier to distinguish your own opinions after hearing others’. Don’t feel the need to agree or disagree, just listen and eventually your inner compass will lead you to your own opinions.
Discuss it with friends
Not a fan of commentary or just feeling the need to share your thoughts? Discuss it with friends, family, professors, or anyone you feel comfortable with. Some serious or even playful discussions with friends about current events could help you better understand current news and create an outlet to share your thoughts. Rather spread your opinions to a larger audience? Start a blog! There’s nothing greater than the power of your own voice.
Do you have any tips to add to the list? Sound off in the comments section below!