At first, I felt slightly insecure about writing this post. How could you possibly NOT stay on top of current affairs and the news? All it takes is checking a news site. Right? This was back at the times when I was a student. Once I started a full-time role, I’ve realised that busy days can distract you from getting news. But in the job that is about working around the news cycle, you have to be aware of what’s happening around the world. Here are my tips on being informed and always on the top of the news agenda.
#1 Wake up to Radio 4
The flagship Today programme on Radio 4 is the most important (and my personal favourite) current affairs programme in the UK. It sets the news agenda for the whole day. Whenever someone in the media industry mentions “the radio” they are most likely to mean Today.
Get a proper radio set and instead of a dull ringtone in your phone, make Nick Robinson, Sarah Montague and John Humphrys wake you up at 6AM (or anytime before 9AM). You won’t miss any important news. It’s convenient and the beauty of radio as a medium is that you can be getting on with brushing teeth and eating breakfast while getting your morning dose of news agenda. Great way to start your day!
#2 Read a newspaper
Even though you might say that print is dead (it isn’t!), newspapers still remain a very influential medium. Anyone who wants to be considered as well-informed, should read papers. You don’t need to read every single article, but it’s always worth skimming through the headlines and then leaving the most important bits of the news for later, in-depth read.
If you don’t have access to papers on a daily basis (school library, newspapers delivered to your company), buying a paper at least once a week will be hugely beneficial. Friday or weekend editions should give you a good gist onto what you should be aware of. Try keeping your news intake varied. If you usually stick with the Guardian, try buying Financial Times. Don’t forget about the online editions of the outlets! These will be often a limited version of print, but will regardless allow you to get your head around current affairs.
#3 Take advantage of social media
We live in the information age. We should take advantage of it. Apart from the previously mentioned online editions of the papers, following leading news outlets on the social channels can give more idea on the information flow. Another important tip, especially for public relations professionals pros, is following journalists. As a PR pro, this will let you sound out anything that is on their pipeline.
Using Twitter lists will also give you an edge. Using lists in very efficient, as you have everything in one place and you don’t need to spend hours to get an essence of the latest events. Here’s my piece on taking a full advantage of this feature.
#4 Set up notifications
As much as I’m not a fan of distracting notifications, especially during working hours, notifications with breaking news are slightly different. I downloaded different news apps including onto my phone just to receive these notifications. Even with your phone on the silent mode, you can still see the breaking news stories on your home screen once you check on it.
Again, remember to have a healthy news diet — notifications that you’ll get from Sky News will differ from these from Al Jazeera.
#5 Extra tips
- Sign up to newsletters: get the most important information straight into your inbox (remember about good management of your emails);
- Use apps: Flipboard or Feedly will come in handy during your commute;
- Read magazines: Quartz, The Economist, TIME — all of these will give you an in-depth analyses of current issues around the world. Reading widely gives you better understanding of the world around you.
If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!