The media has changed drastically beyond recognition in the time I’ve been alive. If you had said in the mid-90s that newspapers would be on their way out in just twenty years then you would be given some questionable looks for sure. The internet has brought a wealth of new opportunities for people to get and distribute news. The 24-hour news cycle is not just a fad, but a modern baseline for most worthy news organisations. And now there are more news outlets than ever before from which to find out about the world. It’s a great time for (/getting into) the media.
With so many places in which to find news now, though, there is almost a danger of an overload. Some sources are far less credible than others, while some are far too slow at keeping up with the very latest breaking news. Being truly up-to-date in the world is a tough task now, so here are a few ways in which I find out the very latest on what is going on in the world.
Their traditional medium may be on the wane, but newspapers still have a great deal of power when it comes to setting the news agenda. All major UK newspapers have a web presence where you can find out almost as much as you can by buying the physical copies themselves. News online is far more digestible, as you don’t have to sift through pages of needless celebrity gossip to get to the matters that interest you. However, newspapers aren’t necessarily the fastest or the most unbiased way of getting news. There has also been a recent move by some websites to monetise their efforts by hiding their articles behind “paywalls”, such as with The Sun, The Daily Telegraph and (formerly) The New York Times, limiting the traditionally free online news service. How successful this will be in the face of many alternatives is unsure. My personal favourite newspaper site to visit is probably The Guardian, which offers many interesting pieces along with a strong editorial and comment culture online. Generally, if you like the newspaper you will find the content on the newspaper’s websites to your interest as well.
Undoubtedly the best UK source of news is the good old BBC. Their news service offers all the main stories of the day presented in a (relatively) unbiased way and will keep you well versed in current affairs. Their ‘Magazine’ features, off-beat articles somewhat connected to the news, are somewhat hit-and-miss at times, but provide an interesting companion to the news at times. It’s updated relatively frequently and has become perhaps the go-to for traditional, legitimate news online.
The Huffington Post is perhaps the biggest online-only internet dedicated news service. It boasts separate sites for a growing number of countries, offering a wide selection of relevant stories that are a good mix of pop culture and more serious news. I normally take a look through both the UK and US versions of the site, to find out about what’s going on across the pond. Each version also boasts many great bloggers, normally celebrities or politicians looking for a mouthpiece. Admittedly, HuffPost is a left-leaning news source, but I think it’s a good alternative to the more old-fashioned institutions.
Perhaps the best social networking site (in my opinion at least), Twitter is essential to modern news-tracking. Twitter is a way of seeing the latest information as soon as it happens. By following the right accounts, Twitter can become an instantly responsive news ticker that is customised to your preferences and interests. You don’t even have to post any tweets to get the benefits from the site.
Personally, I use Twitter constantly. It’s always in the background and I refresh it habitually for the latest information. I follow friends, as well as news sources and those involved in my interests (such as football teams, musicians, comedians etc.). I’d thoroughly recommend following BBC’s Breaking News account for the latest big stories as well as Sky News for a more regular stream of news.
I’ve already extolled the virtues of reddit in a previous blog post, and I can’t recommend it enough. Much like Twitter, you can customise reddit in a way in which only news will appear on your feed – along with the signature comment system which makes the site what it is. What reddit does so well is offer the original source, where you can visit for the raw information if that’s what you want – as well as the comment and related sources that the site’s users offer up for every post. You can learn so much about developing stories, such as background and related events, by using this site’s crowd-sourced information.
The internet is an amazing tool for news, and by using a few of the above you can be as well-informed as you can possibly be, without having to touch a paper, turn on the radio or watch the telly at all.