With 2020 being a whirlwind of a year, we've all probably felt overwhelmed by the vast amount of information circulating in our devices and world in general. It can be difficult and confusing to know where to read, what to look for, and how to get started when it comes to current events. As a response, I've compiled a short list of advice that can help you get started or push you along your journey to education and awareness.
1. Choose a news outlet
Most people are aware of big outlets like FOX and CNN, but there are a host of other ones that provide reliable information. NPR, BBC, the New York Post, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Politico are a few good examples of sources that tend to be less biased than major, multimillion dollar groups like FOX and CNN.
2. Keep up with social media
While apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can be filled to the brim with false, misleading information, it's a good way to get notified of current events and allows you to do your own research. It's also a very common and user-friendly method for younger generations.
3. Fact check what you read
Big headlines on major sources tend to be glaring and attention grabbing, but that doesn't mean it's accurate. Make sure that when you read viral information, you're cross-checking your information with a number of trusted sources. Don't just believe the first thing you read.
4. Turn on notifications
A lot of news apps as well as social media allow for updates via notification so you always stay up to date.
5. Listen to podcasts
There are a number of organizations, many of which are also news outlets, that publish 15-30 minute podcasts summarizing the events of a given day. This is a quick and easy way to gather information you might need without being inundated by notifications and social media.
6. Pay attention to local news
While national and even international news is important and interesting, local news is equally so. The issues occurring in your community often affect you more directly than federal business, so remember to be informed about that as well.
7. Follow your elected officials on social media
Sadly, the average American doesn't know their own state and local officials. Most people wouldn't take the steps to read their information pages, making social media a perfect way to stay updated without going an extra mile.
This is the most crucial element of staying informed and engaged. Presidential and even congressional elections receive a plethora of news coverage, but as a mentioned before, state and local elections are also vital. The President is not all powerful, so by being educated about your Senate, House, Governor's, State, and local elections can make a true impact on your daily life as a citizen.