February 13, 2019
Following and responding to the news is an important part of our jobs as public relations professionals, our lives as community members and even our democracy, which relies on its voters to make informed decisions. For these reasons and many more, the importance of reading informative, accurate and trusted news sources cannot be underscored.
While many public relations professionals realize the importance of following the news, many still struggle with how to incorporate this practice into their daily routine.
Below are some quick, easy and seamless ways to get your daily news fix.
While I’m making breakfast and a cup of tea in the morning, I’ll ask my smart speaker (I have an Alexa Echo) to play the news. My smart speaker provides a quick rundown of the main stories for the day in less than a minute. Currently, I have it programmed to play BBC for a global perspective.
Don’t have a smart speaker? No problem, a number of publications provide quick and daily briefs. CNN has a “five things you need to know today” section, NYT has a morning brief (and an evening and weekend one), theSkimm provides a fun daily newsletter, and most major media outlets have ways for their readers to read up on the daily events. The important thing is to find one you like and stick to it.
Once I’m out the door, whether I’m taking public transportation or driving to work, I’ll flip on my local news station. If I’m driving to work, I tune into WBUR, NPR’s local news station in Boston. And if I’m taking public transportation, I have the NPR One app downloaded on my phone. There are 900 NPR member stations in the United States, so chances are there’s one in your area too. However, any local news station should do the trick.
While radio stations are great, more often than not, a topic will pique my interest and I’ll want to learn more about it once I get in the office. Typically, I’ll remember the issue and do some research on Google.
But if nothing stood out to me, I’ll open TweetDeck, which is a free social media dashboard application for Twitter that organizes content by customizable columns. TweetDeck allows me to follow targeted publications, specific journalists, my client, conversations related to my client’s space and even my client’s competitors. This bird’s eye view helps me be more proactive about coming up with ideas and in-the-know about what’s happening with my clients and their respective spaces. For an idea of how I organize my TweetDeck, I have columns organized by national news, local news, technology and clients’ industry verticals.
Generally, most of my media consumption occurs in the morning. I may check in on my TweetDeck during lunch, look over my shoulder to see what news the office TV is playing and see if any news notifications came up on my phone, but knowing when to tune out and focus on work is just, if not much more important, than always trying to be in-the-know.
After the day is over, I no longer make media consumption a priority. On my evening commute I chat with my friends and family on the phone (hands-free!), listen to a podcast or jam to music. When I’m home, I sit at the dinner table with my husband without the TV, our phones or laptops. And, before bed, I open my Kindle to read, not switch on the evening news.
Reading and responding to the news is important and is absolutely crucial for those in the communications field, but it’s also important to realize that there’s a difference between media consumption and being consumed by it. While you should make time to tune in, be intentional about tuning out too.
What’s happening in the world is important, but what’s more important is what we do with that knowledge and how we react to it. That latter half requires living and engaging with life outside of our screens.