Social critics have worried for years that the newest generation of adults is less interested in the daily news than those who grew up in the pre-digital age. Well, if you’re anything like me, you probably grew up hating 6 a.m and 6 p.m. Those were the times of the day when your parents would take away the television remote, turn off the cartoons and turn on the morning or evening news.
Boring, right? As a kid, it seemed like pure agony. For some of us, this feeling developed into a way of thinking that we carried with us into our teen years and young adulthood. In our minds, watching the news was a grown-up, tedious thing to do. However, what most of us don’t recognize until we graduate to “the real world” is that knowing what’s going on in the world around us is not only important in and of itself but also vital to our careers.
That said, you may think that you’re able to meet your daily quota of news thanks to social media platforms and the online content that you can’t help but be exposed to. But the news you obtain through social media isn’t objective in one important sense. It’s only the news that’s been curated to appeal to you. You’re absorbing the news that interests you most — the news you want to hear.
As a result, you may know who Justin Bieber is dating and what new Taylor Swift video just dropped. You may even have a general idea of what’s going on in the political world. But are you aware of the policy discussions influencing our laws? Do you know about the local issues affecting everything from your daily commute to the cost of living in your neighborhood? Being informed means more than scrolling through the day’s big headlines as they pop up in between the status updates and selfies filling your social feed. The news is about deeper engagement.
As a young person still relatively new to digital marketing, I’ve learned that local, state, national and international events all have an impact on my industry. Had I drafted this post a few weeks ago, it could be irrelevant by the time it’s published. Worse, something might have occurred that could turn an attempt at humor or a flip remark into objectionable content.
In short, my clients depend on me to know “what’s happening” in a broad sense. That includes the culture that is responding to and always being shaped by newsworthy events. I also have to know how to tailor the content I produce to appeal to each client’s target market. For example: What if a big celebrity suddenly hit the rails and said or did something very offensive, causing major outrage? What if you had quoted this person in a client’s social post or marketing materials? What could that do to the client’s brand if it went public? The damage to their reputation could be severe, and that could cost you that client’s business.
Now, you may be thinking, “OK, so I don’t REALLY know everything that’s going on in the world around me. But where do I even start?” To avoid spending hours jumping from site to site reading state, local and national news, you need something that can bring together all three. Choosing the best syndication tools is just as vital as evaluating news agencies and sources. Here are the news apps I recommend for getting on-track to becoming a news-savvy millennial.
Feedly allows you to organize, read and share what matters to you. Feedly can aggregate content from blogs, newspapers, magazines, social media and breaking news outlets, letting you organize that content based on the sources that are most relevant to you. Feedly also has a function that allows you to flag certain keywords. If content containing this keyword is published or distributed, the app will alert you right away.
The Apple News app is probably already installed on your phone. But did you know you can personalize the news it delivers to you? The app allows you to follow specific topics — even ones related to your career or industry — and channels. I like to follow all the major national news channels as well as a couple of local channels.
Google News is a news aggregator that pulls sources from all around the world, allowing you to find sites and publications most relevant to you. The app also provides a daily briefing summarizing the most important stories of the day. Google News also lets you save certain stories for later viewing. There’s even a full coverage option so you can bypass Google’s algorithms if you want.
Skimm is an app designed specifically for female millennials. It pairs contextualized news notifications with podcasts, curated articles, book recommendations and a calendar sync option that allows you to create events based on the information it delivers. You can also subscribe to The Daily Skimm email newsletter. It arrives in each morning — kind of like a newspaper!
If you want to complement all this news coverage with lighter, snackable and more lifestyle- and trend-oriented content, check out BuzzFeed or the BuzzFeed News app. Neither is ideal for staying on top of local and state news, but both are fun to follow and usually offer some pretty surprising insights.
Now, download one (or all) of these apps to get a head start on staying in-the-know!