Keeping Up with the News

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If you’re anything like me, you have trouble keeping up with the Kardashians, let alone real news. A busy schedule, bombardment by a bevy of information sources, a baby, and a billion other things you’d rather be doing keep you from keeping up with the news.

It shouldn’t be so hard to keep up with the news, or should it? It’s just like any chore or activity that can be painful/a pain at first – like working out or cleaning the bathroom. Once you start doing it, and keep doing it on a schedule, it becomes routine and not as big of a pain to keep up with the news. It can even start to feel good!

I’m not here to point you toward particular news sources – that is all too political for this post. What you read behind the lines/closed doors is your business, and I’m staying out of it. I am here to point you toward particular methods to help you start keeping up with the news. And I’ll try them all with you!

I distinctly remember a high school current events assignment where I had to choose a news story in which I was interested and follow it for a week. I hated every single minute of it. I don’t have a knack for world geography, historical dates, and the names of world leaders, religions, and other cultural signifiers, even American actors. I had a heck of time even keeping up with the O.J. Simpson trial!

Over the years, I tried a lot of different approaches to help me keep up with the news. I wanted to be educated on what was going on in the world, my country, my city. I also wouldn’t have minded being able to chime in with colleagues about Hollywood drama, if I’m being honest. Some of my approaches worked in the short-term, some in the long-term, some not at all.

Here are some ideas on how to keep up with the news, specifically tailored to those of you who have dependents and/or full-time jobs. You are already strapped for time and mental bandwidth, but there is a little bit of room for keeping up with the news.

Idea #1: Pick a type of media.

Print: Do you like to hold a book in your hands?  Then subscribe to a newspaper delivery service. Depending on which one you choose, you can also enjoy crossword puzzles! Some magazines come bi-weekly and could be another print news source option.

Digital: Do you like to scroll? Then consider following your news sources of choice on social media, through a news app, or via an e-news subscription. There are also RSS feeds to which you can subscribe based on certain tags/topics that then cull news stories automatically to your inbox, news app, or podcasts. Just don’t let your boss catch you scrolling!

Audio: Do you prefer to listen rather than watch or read? News podcasts, local radio, and streamed radio are all options that can be accessed easily in your home, office, car, on radio, phone, computer, and tablet.

Video: It’s not as easy to zone out to the news as it is to your favorite romcom or binge show of choice, but watching the news might feel more relaxing than other options, especially since it’s not hard to miss news when the reels are repetitive. Local tv news, cable news, and streamed news sources seem to be constantly available at the flick of your remote.

woman looking at phone

Idea #2: Set a time of day. Pick a time of day and day/s of the week when you’ll listen to, watch, or read the news. I have started my day by asking Google Home to “play the news”.  It’s broadcast throughout my house, so I can do other things while listening. At other periods of my parenthood career, I have used the drive to daycare or preschool as my 3-day-per-week news consumption period. More recently, I’ve watched cable tv news at night before binging my favorite streamed show. Consider setting a calendar reminder to do the thing, and set a timer to alert you that your allotted 10/15/30 minutes are over.

Idea #3: Choose 3 or 4 sources. Make sure they offer varied perspectives so you are seeing all angles of the news. You can’t keep up with the Kardashians if a particular news source doesn’t feature them. You also might only get one side of the dramatic story if you stick to just one source. If you prefer that side of the story, then select a majority of your news sources based on that, but actively seek out the other side.  You get the point.

woman watching tv

All in all, give yourself some grace and allow your approaches to ebb and flow. Not all of us are news hounds who love to consume it 24/7/365. And that is okay. So long as you get what you are looking for as you keep up with the news – from sports to natural disasters, to pandemic statistics to panda births at zoos, to the reunion of Bennifer – then you are making it work.

How do you keep up with the news?