"I really should pay more attention to the news."
How many times have you said something to that effect? I say it once every few months, after which I make a promise to myself to do better. That promise usually goes the way of New Year’s Resolutions--followed for a few weeks, then brushed aside in favor of a mindless scroll through Instagram in the morning.
Sure, if you cultivate your Twitter feed with current events in mind, it can be a great source--not only giving you links to reputable media outlets, but allowing you to read discussion threads involving big-thinkers and regular people alike. But if you're like me, most of your feed is memes and animal videos, with just a few Wall Street Journal articles sprinkled throughout in what's probably about a 10:1 ratio.
College should be about preparing yourself for real adult life. Use your time before you're launched into the professional realm to cultivate habits that will make you stand out when you leave the comfort of college. While most students aren't starting conversations with things like, "Did you hear about Amazon's acquisition last Friday?" your future boss (or a professional at a recruiting event) might. I don't know about you, but I don't want to miss an opportunity for a good conversation because I didn't bother to skim the headlines.
So, to take away any excuse you or I have to NOT look beyond our social media feeds, I have gathered a list of easy-to-access (and free) news sources. You can build most of these right into your existing digital habits, so that the next time there's an awkward pause at a recruiting social, you can be the one to save the conversation.
First off, there are no unbiased media sources these days. Make sure you're looking to multiple sources to challenge yourself and combat the echo chamber effect.
As an Auburn student, free access to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal awaits you.
- Click here to create a New York Times account. You'll be able to access the newspaper via the web, OR download the app on your smartphone (set up push notifications to get the headlines as they come).
- The Wall Street Journal can be accessed through a database called ProQuest that the AU Libraries have a subscription to. While not as intuitive or user-friendly as the WSJ's own website, it gets the job done if you don't want to shell out for a subscription (or if your parents don't have one you can borrow). This archive has all WSJ publications since 1984. Click here to access.
Try setting your web browser's homepage to a search engine's news page. If you have a Google account, Google News allows you to customize based on your interests. Do you have an interest in working on Healthcare clients during your internship? Add healthcare news to your list of interests--if you keep up with hot topics in the industry, it will give you a leg up during your internship and future career.
Download apps on your phone (Politico, BBC, CNN, Fox, NYT, etc.). Turn on push notifications to ease yourself into it: read notifications as they come, and look deeper into headlines that catch your attention. Before you know it, you might be scrolling Politico instead of Facebook while you wait for class to start.
Get the headlines sent directly to your inbox. Sign up for some email newsletters. Get the gist of what happened in the world yesterday with a general news blast (e.g. The Skimm), or find a publication geared towards your interests, and subscribe to their newsletter (e.g. WIRED for technology and science).
While there's no need for you to be able to engage in an hour-long conversation about the intricacies of international relations, you should have a vague notion of what's happening outside the confines of campus.
Don't get discouraged by the bottomless pit of information out there--find a few sources that work for you, and stick to them. Maybe we'll never say, "I should pay more attention to the news," again.