Dear Lifehacker, I like to keep up on current events, but I simply don't have the time to read every news story every day. Do you have any suggestions for keeping up on the news when I don't have a lot of time? Sincerely, Just the News
It's true. Keeping up to date on current events is basically a full-time job. RSS readers are great for people who have the time to go through them, but they're not that good for just getting a summary of world news. Fortunately, there are a few great options for keeping up on the news without spending a lot of time.
Find a Daily Summary You Like
If you're a fan of watching or listening to the news, most news outlets have an hourly summary they run throughout the day that includes all of the most important news jammed into a five-minute slot. This is a great way to easily catch up on everything you miss.
You have a few different choices for news outlets depending on the type of news you prefer. Here are a few bulletin services that offer always up-to-date news summaries:
- NPR's Hourly Newscast runs through the world news in about five minutes.
- BBC's hourly bulletin runs through the daily headlines from around the world.
- ABC's News Pop features daily video with news updates and ABC News Radio does the same.
- Fox's 5 Minute Newscast runs through the headlines each day.
Of course, the above picks aren't the only options, but they do offer simple, always-updating news summaries. Mac users might want to check out Hourly News, an app that stuffs the above hourly newscasts into your menubar. Most news services also have podcasts you can subscribe to and integrate into your daily playlists.
Use Wikipedia's Current Events Portal
While Wikipedia isn't exactly the most accurate source of news information, it is a surprisingly good way to quickly get a synopsis of what's going on in the world.
You have two different ways to do this. As we've mentioned before, Wikipedia's Current Events page is an incredibly simple way to drop in and see what's going on in the news. If you need to just get caught up on what you missed while you were on holidays, type the month and year into Wikipedia's search, and you'll get a synopsis of all the important news that happened that month.
Use a Service that Sums Up the News for You
If you're looking for just a quick and easy to read summary of the news in digestible little bits, your smartphone can help you out quite a bit.
We likeCirca as a service that condenses all the important news from a lot of different sources and then summarises the main points for you. Circa does a good job of giving you an unbiased overall view of what's happening in the world in a short amount of time. The popular digest-style apps, such as Flipboard, are also good for this as well, although they will cater to you specifically, so you might miss some of the broader news out there.
If an app isn't your thing, Skim That does the same thing by just sending you a daily email with news summaries.
Curate Your Social Media Feeds
Two very simple places where you probably already get the news can be made a little better. Both Twitter and Facebook are great sources for popular news articles, but they need a little work to make them usable.
Twitter's great as a replacement to RSS feeds if you use lists. Tested's Will Smith uses Twitter lists as a means to get curated news, and it works really well. Just add a handful of news outlets to a list, and periodically check in on that list to see what's going on. Facebook doesn't have quite the same filtering ability as Twitter lists. However, when you like a news outlet, you're usually shown the biggest, best and most important news stories of the day.
Information overload is usually bad enough as it is, but it's possible to keep up on the news without overwhelming yourself.
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