I admit that I don’t usually watch the evening news. I don’t possess a desire to remain ignorant of world affairs. Nor is my stomach too weak for the sometimes graphic images displayed in living color. (Though I do occasionally grow frustrated at what seems to be an excessive replaying of such visuals.) My issue, instead, is one of time. My morning’s start early and nearly every minute is packed from 7AM to 9PM, leaving little time for viewing television in between.
Ignoring the news isn’t really an option, so I began a search for acceptable alternatives to the nightly newscast. There are, of course, iPod apps for nearly every major and, often, many minor news stations. Activating the “push” feature ensures that should anything really big take place, I receive an immediate one-line notification. Sadly, I have to be staring at the screen of my iPod at the time the notification is processed if I’m to notice that newsworthy events are in progress. And on the occasion that these notifications do slide into my visual range, they are often too short to provide any truly substantive (or oft times, accurate) information. I was looking for effectiveness, not merely efficiency… and the apps clearly wouldn’t do.
It was clear that I needed a non-visual solution and that’s exactly what I found. Many major U.S. and World news sources were offering regular podcasts which could be set to automatically download to my device. I experimented with several of these, finally narrowing my options down to three which provide particularly informative fare:
BBC World News is at the top of my list. At less than half an hour in length, this newsfeed does an excellent job of hitting the high points of global news. It often covers the major happenings which are missed by U.S. evening newscasts including events in the EU and Africa and includes on-the-scene interviews with those on the ground as news unfolds.
C-Span Radio – Washington Today comes in at a close second. I love this podcast because of its fair and balanced reporting. The broadcast centers on actual clips from House and Senate proceedings and interviews with the nation’s policy makers rather than the analysis of “talking heads”. At a few minutes over an hour, it’s a great way to keep on top of what’s going on in the nation’s capital.
WSJ This Morning, produced by The Wall Street Journal, is a nice “all around” recap of national news with a focus on political and economic analysis, entertainment, and an occasional “feel good” story or two. Another short broadcast, it’s a great way to round out one’s news gathering efforts.
Each morning, I roll out of bed, plug in these podcasts, and set about my day. It’s a great way to maintain my busy lifestyle while keeping track of the news that matters.