Read the Damn News

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Unless you’re my childhood best friend, you probably don’t read a newspaper every morning while you sip your coffee and that’s okay, neither do I. You’d think, since I’m a journalism major, I’d love reading the news. Truth is, I never enjoyed it because it was always so depressing (do you feel that way too?).

Once I started taking journalism classes, reading the news was a requirement (we’re tested on our knowledge of current events). You know what? I’m so glad it is, because I’ve seen how important it is to read the news (thanks, Val!).

When you read the news, you actually know stuff about the world around you. It makes you look smart, too. You have something to talk about in class, at coffee, on a date (or to rant about on social media).

I don’t think people need much reason to read the news, though, we generally recognize that it’s the socially responsible thing to do. The problem is that most people don’t know how or where to read the news. I’ve said it before, and I know you have too: “I don’t read the news because it’s biased and I don’t know who to trust.”

It’s not that hard, people. And most news is not #FakeNews. Let’s figure this out.

If I’ve learned anything in journalism school, I’ve learned that there are so many rules journalists have to follow when writing articles. This applies across news media, and if journalists don’t adhere to these standards, they can get sued or put in jail. It’s a real thing. Keep this in mind when you’re skeptical of news outlets: there’s a standard journalists must follow to maintain their credibility.

This in mind, legacy newspapers (the “old guys” of journalism) are often considered reliable sources because they’ve maintained these standards for a long time. On top of that, your best bet is to read a number of different newspapers to get the broadest, least-biased view of the world. Sounds like a lot of work, right?

It’s not. Calm down.

Most legacy newspapers have Instagram accounts, and you can get the news in a place you already spend your time (New York Times, The Dallas Morning News & The Washington Post). Twitter is great for this too, if that’s your thing. On top of that, you can get daily or weekly news summaries sent to your email from most newspapers. I subscribe to these, but there are tons of other options: CNN’s 5 Things, The Dallas Morning News and The NYT Morning Briefing.

You can also sign up for aggregate news sources like The Skimm. These sources gather news from across the web and send it to you in one email. The Skimm puts a sarcastic spin on their interpretation of events, which makes it fun to read. Please note that aggregate sources may not require the same journalistic standards as newspapers, so tread lightly and cross-reference (it’s easy, just subscribe to more than one source).

And if you still hate all of that (you’re hard to please, geez), try a podcast like this or that. These are great because they’re limited to 5 minutes or less. If I can pay attention for that long, you can too.

How do you get your news? Or, if you want to be really honest, what’s keeping you from reading the news?