5 Tips to Simplify News Intake and Stay Informed

information overloadIn keeping with my second law for cool conservatives, this little tutorial gives you a few tips on how to stay informed without spending copious amounts of time trying to read every little blog post, Twitter feed and news site. How can you be a conscientious conservative who stays informed and actually knows what they’re talking about? Try using these five simple tips to stay informed with the minimum amount of time.
1.  Scan Headlines
Choose one international new source and choose one domestic news source, preferably one in your home state. When you go to find out what’s happening in the world all you need to do is basically scan the headlines of each of these new sources. 

Typically, I scan the BBC for my international news and then I’ll scan an American paper, which is usually the Wall Street Journal or a local paper in my region.

After about 10 minutes, I have a pretty good snapshot in terms of what’s going on in the world.  If there’s something big and newsworthy I’ll stop and read an article, but rarely read more than 2.

2.  Use News Aggregators
Whoever came up with the idea of aggregators is a genius because there is no other web tool that allows you to see a broad variety of viewpoints, news and stories.  Popular ones in the conservative world are going to be Real Clear Politics and the Drudge Report. 

Of the two I like Real Clear the best because it actually gives you analysis and not just the news. It also gives you analysis of the news from different points on the political spectrum so you can be that much more informed and also helps you achieve another layer of conservative coolness by being able to listen to and understand opposing viewpoints.
3.  Sign Up For Feedly NOW!
With the death of Google Reader at the beginning of the summer there’s a lot of discussion on where RSS would go and if it was done for good.  However, a variety of services like Feedly and Flipboard are stepping in to fill the gap. I really like using Feedly because its similar enough to Google Reader (looks way better) that I’m not lost; and it also allows me to categorize and organize everything in a very cohesive and simple way that’s easy to follow.

Just set up something like Feedly or Flipboard, then begin subscribing to sites and blogs.  Don’t overdo it!  I’d recommend the following

2 or 3 news sites (mine are the BBC, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal).

1 news aggregator (Real Clear Politics)

2 or 3 political blogs (totally optional, but follow this one!)

Your leaders (blogs, hashtags, YouTube channels can all be subscribed to on Feedly).
4.  Set a Time Limit
It’s really easy to get a bad case of information overload when it comes to the news.  To avoid this, set a time limit for yourself. For me, that comes down to about 15 to 30 minutes every morning to go through the things I just gave. I might look at different articles throughout the day as I see them pop up on Twitter, but for the most part I only look at the news in focused way for a few minutes at the start of my day.
5.  Talk to Others
The easiest way to actually stay informed and actually sound cool is to talk to people. Ask questions.   Don’t just tell people what you’re reading, but ask them for their thoughts. Ask them how they understand what’s going on in the world. 

I’m suggesting quality over quantity here so you don’t have to ask every person standing in line at Starbucks, but you could choose a couple of your more well-informed friends and engage them in conversation. I actually get some of my best insights into the news by actually talking about it with people I know. They may not all be experts, but it helps me understand how the news is affecting the common man and that’s often missed in the world of entertainment-based mainstream media.
Killer Tip!
Stop watching television news. They are often too short to really give you an idea of the complexity and diversity of the many issues in our world.


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