Get cultured: resources for staying savvy

stay up-to-date

These days, news doesn’t travel a mile a minute—it travels thousands of miles per second. Pretty tough to keep up with.

And while anybody who reads this blog is likely a smart, thoughtful and inquisitive person (ahem) who knows they should be staying up-to-date with what’s going on the world, I’m guessing there are a few of you who aren’t as in touch as you’d like to be. Hey, we aren’t all born news junkies.

And I’ll be perfectly honest—neither was I until I got into journalism school. I read a lot, but I was more interested in magazine journalism than hard news. So when I realized I needed to be making more of an effort to read the news, I wanted to find publications that broke it down in easy-to-understand chunks. The last thing anyone who’s trying to educate themselves wants is to feel like an idiot.

So here’s a list of 7 apps and websites that make the news easy & fun to digest:

theSkimm – A daily newsletter that sums up today’s most important news in the simplest of terms with a side of sass. If you’re intimidated or overwhelmed by world news, this is a great place to start, because you’ll get all the important updates with the basic background you’ll need on a story and you’ll actually enjoy reading it.

Circa News app (iOS/Android) – Short, to-the-point articles that read well on your phone. Beautifully designed and easy to navigate. The most unique feature in this free app is the ability to follow stories you want to keep up with. Tap the follow icon while you’re reading, and you’ll get push notifications for any future updates, which is great for developing stories.

Vox.com – This brand-spanking-new website is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Vox aims to make all those news stories you know you should be reading (but aren’t) more palatable. It uses what are called card stacks, which you can scroll through like a slideshow, to give you the background information you need. Important terms are also highlighted and clickable to launch the card stacks. Just see for yourself—it’s fun to explore.

PolicyMic – You’ve probably noticed I link to this one a lot in my Interweb Finds posts and on Twitter. That’s because it has become one of my top go-to sites not just for news, but for commentary as well. It’s also written by millennials for millennials—a perspective I can of course relate to. Some of the headlines remind me a bit too much of Upworthy’s hyperbolic headlines, but overall, I think it’s a great resource.

Yahoo News Digest app (iOS) – This is another brand-new app that collects the best news from around the web and delivers it to you twice daily. The articles are suited for small-screen reading and break up the text with pull-quotes, tweets, images and more. You’re also rewarded for reading through each of the stories with a little animation and a fun fact.

Pulse News app (iOS/Android) – This LinkedIn app lets you customize and personalize your feed by selecting from popular LinkedIn influencers like Mashable and National Geographic. It’s also a social news app you can use to comment on and share articles. Great app to try out if your LinkedIn profile is collecting cobwebs.

Daily Beast Cheat Sheet – The Daily Beast is a great news resource for lengthier news reading, but the Cheat Sheet is exactly what it sounds like—a guide to the day’s most important stories, stripped to the bare essentials. It features 10 news stories in the morning and 10 more at night. You can sign up for the Cheat Sheet news blast to be delivered to your inbox twice a day five days a week.

There are so many great resources out there—this is just a handful of them. Which sites and apps do you read to get your news?

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Comments

  1. I think the only place I visit based on this list is PolicyMic simply because some of my FB friends share links from there. Even then, I don’t really have a specific outlet that I follow religiously. There are times when I actually turn to satirical shows such as The Daily Show to get a starting idea of what’s going on before proceeding to further investigation. As for the rest of the items on this list, I’ll give them a look. 🙂

    • Cassie Paton says:

      The Daily Show is one of my very favorites and waaaay better than most TV news programs in my opinion, haha. I absolutely love Jon Stewart! (And Stephen Colbert, while we’re on the subject.)

  2. Cassie! Thank you!!! You have no idea how much I’ve needed resources like these! I’ve never really read the news, but when I lived at home at least I saw the headlines of the newspapers and my father always had the news on, so I always knew a bit of what was going on in the world. I’ve just downloaded the Circa app and subscribed to the newsletters, so hopefully I’ll be a bit more “in” on what’s happening in the world. It’s so important!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      So glad you found this helpful! It’s so easy to NOT keep up with the news, but it’s easier than EVER to keep up with the news.

  3. lovelovelove Vox. I tend to like a lot of what I end up reading on PolicyMic, but their use of viral headlines makes me wary of them. I hadn’t heard of theSkimm before, though! Thanks for the tip 🙂

    • Cassie Paton says:

      You are quite welcome! And yeah, I wish PolicyMic would quit it with the headlines, though they probably won’t—they get the clicks!

  4. I like NPR and CNN. I am a magazine junkie, but I also try to stay up on what’s going on in the world. I used to get The Daily Beast, but found it was getting super repetitive. For harder news, but still fun, I like Rolling Stone.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I love magazines, but ugh… I never read them (except for their online versions, of course) because it’s too much of a luxury to pay for. LOVE Rolling Stone, though. Would like to write for them some day. 😉

  5. this is amazing. Just signed up for the Daily Beast! I love it.

  6. Unfortunately I usually only check a few local newspapers and a handful of news websites for national/international news. I’ll be downloading theSkimm though, it sounds quick & to the point!

  7. Thank you for providing the answer to something i’ve been thinking about for a while now, but hadn’t bothered to suss out myself!

  8. I think it is so important to be educated on world events, but I’ve been such a hypocrite about this because I get daunted by the news (and the effort required to find unbiased quality sources). This is perfect; I love the set up of Vox and I signed up for some of the newsletters. Thank you for helping me be a better world citizen!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      The news IS daunting. World news and politics seem impossible to keep up with. I think as long as anyone makes an effort to keep up with the top stories in those realms, they’re doing their part. I really don’t torture myself with the nitty-gritty details of certain complex stories… but I do try to be aware of them.

  9. What a freakin’ fabulously informative post, Cassie – you know me (and many others, it seems!) far too well; I am dreadful when it comes to ‘keeping up’ with news etc. just because I tend to dislike the way stories are presented and – as mentioned above – can become a little overwhelmed by it all. I’m looking forward to scrolling through the sites listed and picking out which to follow (alongside PolicyMic, which is already at the top of my daily read list!).

    Thank you!

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I’m so, so happy this sparked something in you and everyone else here! Hopefully these’ll help make the news seem a little less daunting. 🙂

  10. This is fantastic, Cassie! Never heard of any of them before. Signed up to TheSkimm and The Beast Cheat Sheet! XD

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