Every morning I go through my emails, read the Skimm, get on Twitter and click on news links through various outlets on my timeline. I read stories I find interesting as well as stories I find maddening.  I read to learn different perspectives, and inform myself with many different sources with different bias and slants. I switch through various news channels while I work in my office. The best way to inform yourself is to know all avenues and points of an issue.  Here are seven ways I find helpful to stay informed:

1) Keep a balance.  Open your mind to other sources rather than just your preferred websites and TV channels.  Even if the outlet has a slant or bias you don’t necessarily agree with, pay attention to the spin in order to understand more. Don’t just watch nightly news and try to balance between opinion based and news reporting shows.  

2) Read a newspaper.  Yes, I’m aware it’s 2015 and maybe this is the old soul in me, but there is nothing better than spending some time reading the paper.  In college, I would grab my school’s newspaper on the way to class.  Reading a local or school paper is great for staying current on issues in your community.

3) Follow news outlets on social media.  I find this to be the easiest and most helpful way to keep yourself ‘in the know’ because an interesting headline might catch your eye in between deciding who Ashley was subtweeting about two hours ago.  It’s also perfect for being on the go, a life we all know.  

4) Download a news app.  This comes in handy when there is breaking news and you feel like you’re VIP because you’re one of the first of the general public to know.  Just me? Okay.  But seriously, download one and turn on the breaking news notifications so you don’t miss a beat! Most news outlets have apps including CNN, AP, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, and so on.  

5) Read books by experts and pundits on issues that interest you.  Who hasn’t written a book these days in the journalism world? Not many.  There are many books written by plenty of experts and pundits covering a range of issues including the Second Amendment, foreign policy, the economy, professional development, leadership, and politics’ roles on college campuses.  The options are endless.  These books are packed with statistics that they use to back up what they believe and it’s great in learning different perspectives.  

6) Talk about what’s going on in the world with others. Debate and discussion with others is a great way to test out your opinions and why you think the way you do. You can always learn something from a productive discussion and/or debate, even if the other person’s views are completely different from your own.  Just remember to keep it productive and it doesn’t resort to yelling, attacking, or name calling  I also go by the rule of thumb that if you can explain a news story to someone who has no idea and help them understand, you probably have a decent understanding of the story or subject.  Work to inform those around you and encourage them to get engaged.  

7) Don’t act like you know everything.  It’s actually impossible to keep up to date on EVERYTHING going on in this crazy world and that’s okay.  We’re human.  It’s okay to admit you don’t know much about a subject to others.  It’s always best to do your research and get the facts before opening your mouth on something you know nothing about.  

If you’re eager for some recommendations on news outlets we read, check out FFL’s favorite clicks HERE!

Amanda O