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?