How to Keep Up with Current Events

We’ve all been there: you’re out to lunch with your friends/at a happy hour for work/on a first date/insert social situation here and someone asks you what you’re thinking about the Greek debt crisis/the insane number of GOP candidates/Ben and Jennifer’s divorce/insert current event here.

Sheer. Panic.  

Wait…there’s a crisis in Greece? What even qualifies as a crisis these days? Are we talking a lost IOU or a full on nuclear meltdown…? Also can someone please tell me how am I even expected to keep up with the 2016 election when I can’t even keep up with my laundry, I mean seriously. Give me a break. And OMG WHEN DID BEN AND JENNIFER CALL IT QUITS?? I need wine.

I’ve always been totally fascinated by current events, going so far as studying politics in college, living in DC for a year, researching public opinion at a think tank, working in financial regulation…I’m a bit of a news junkie. And I get asked the same question over and over and over:

How can I keep up with current events when I don't have any time?

I've tried it all over the years and narrowed down my processes to an art form. Here are my steps to staying in the know in all their glory: the holy grail of how to stay up to date with the news (when you barely have time to find yourself dinner).



1. Get the News Delivered to Your Inbox

Save yourself one snooze every morning an read one of these newsletters instead. They do the hard work - gathering the most important news from yesterday's headlines and summarizing it so you can catch up on what's important (fast!)

Fave All-Around: The Skimm (news, guide, and pop culture, all in one sassy place)

Runners Up: Quartz Daily Brief (best for business and tech news), Politico Playbook (best if you want a look inside The Beltway), National Journal Edge (best for legislative pipeline), TIME Brief (best for world news)

2. Let the Internet Do the Hard Work

Don't worry about checking more than one news site to make sure you get the headlines when the top news stories break - instead, check one of these cheat sheets throughout the day to find out what matters now.

Fave All-Around: The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet (disclaimer: this site is skewed way, way left, but it's updated in real time and gives you the top ten news stories at the minute you check)

Runners Up: WSJ What's News (best for domestic and business headlines), Google News (best for trending headlines), BBC Trends (best for international headlines), Breaking News (best for one sentence summaries of breaking stories)

3. Download an App for That

Getting your news packaged to you in a quick, readable format? There's an app for that! These apps work on your phone and tablet to take stories from a million different sources and deliver it to you in a beautiful and easily understood way.

Fave All-Around: Flipboard (news and media "magazine" of headlines)

Runners Up: Bloglovin (best for RSS feeds), Zite (best for personalized recommendations), Pocket (best for reading and saving articles for later)

4. Get Notified in Real Time

These sources can send automatic breaking news alerts to your phone and inbox, allowing you to keep on top of big stories the minute they break - without needing to find a TV or read extensive coverage.

Fave All-Around: AP (great app, great Twitter feed, and great picture coverage)

Runners Up: CNN (best for quickly updated news coverage), Politico Breaking News (best for US legislation), Breaking News (best for global coverage), New York Times (best for geopolitical coverage).