When my frustrated U.S. Government classmates asked my teacher why he quizzed us on current events, he responded with a very simple, but powerful, question: “Would you want your kids to know who the mayor of Los Angeles is?” Everyone fell silent, bowing their heads in defeat and shame. For a public high schooler in Beverly Hills, the answer should have been obvious: Eric Garcetti. Yet, a whopping number of students failed to identify him, and failed to answer other similar questions.
For those who think it takes too much time and effort to keep up with the news, there are several online websites and smartphone apps out there that make it easy. Here are some of my favorite tools for staying on top of current events:
theSkimm: theSkimm is a daily email subscription service that sends a breakdown of top stories, with humorous commentary for added entertainment. Usually just a few scrolls long, theSkimm provides the perfect first dose of news.
Push Notifications: Several top news providers – think Associated Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the British Broadcasting Company – send their app downloaders one-sentence notifications when big breaking news hits. These notifications usually expand into in-depth articles as the stories develop.
The Economist Espresso: For subscribers of the Economist magazine, this app provides a bite of the day’s pressing global issues, along with market updates for those concerned.
Google News: Google News compiles top news stories on one page. Users can filter by news source, location, and topic. The Google Chrome App Store also offers a free browser extension that reveals the day’s headlines when clicked.
Yahoo News Digest: This app from Yahoo sends out 7-10 news summaries twice a day, providing an “intelligent synopsis of what’s important.” Additionally, a calendar within the app tracks reading progress.
NPR Hourly Newscast: At the top of every hour, NPR broadcasts a five-minute news update. Listen on the radio, website or app.
Have another way of receiving news? Share below in the comments!