What I'm Listening To
“Democratic citizens in particular fulfill their civic role well when they are engaged, well-informed, and open to ideas and perspectives different from their own.”
–Christopher A. Callaway, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Saint Joseph’s College
Staying informed on current events is an important part of our civic duty. Whether it’s local, national or global news, understanding the happenings in the world around us helps us improve our community with more informed, rational action.
I’ve noticed several key challenges for citizens to stay informed but I’ll highlight three. For one, we are inundated with so many news updates throughout the day, on tv, social, radio, conversation, etc. I often hear feedback that people are just sick of consuming the depressing news so they avoid it. Secondly, those who are struggling to make ends meet but want to stay informed don’t have a budget to unlock established media content behind paywalls or cable news subscriptions. Lastly, social media has skewed our idea of “news.” People interpret the headlines, put their own spin on it and share it online as news, often leaving out key informative facts that change the context. Followers then catch the headlines and don’t look into the matter any further, thus spreading misinformation like wildfire. This entire subject requires a deeper examination and an entirely separate post so I’ll save that for later.
We as individuals need to look deep into our own media literacy and figure out how to best stay informed without getting overwhelmed. Additionally, we need to open ourselves to voices and perspectives different than our own. Mainstream media is slowly diversifying but it’s not happening quick enough. It is also apparent that we as a society are becoming more biased and polarized by the moment, only following content that makes us feel better and secure.
What I say to this is to challenge yourself in finding news outlets with a different perspective. You don’t have to agree with everything, but open your mind and spend some time researching topics that stand out to you. Also, take time to be critical and understand the difference between fact and opinion.
Sometimes I alternate listening to daily podcast briefings from NPR, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, etc. but I really enjoy podcasts with relatable voices discussing important current topics that hit closer to home. Plus, having some levity and jokes between disastrous headlines also helps lighten the load.
Below are 5 of my top favorite podcasts I listen to daily to stay in the know. If you have any other suggestions, please drop a comment below. Happy listening!
1. Code Switch
CODE SWITCH provides the fearless conversations about race that you’ve been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.
2. The Daily
This is what the news should sound like. The biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.
3. Pod Save The People
Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson explores news, culture, social justice, and politics with analysis from Sam Sinyangwe, Kaya Henderson, and De’Ara Balenger. Then he sits down for deep conversations with experts, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders. New episodes every Tuesday.
4. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition
The Daily Show is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning program that looks at the day’s top headlines through a sharp, reality-based lens. Listen to highlights and extended interviews in the “Ears Edition” of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. From Comedy Central’s Podcast Network.
5. Silence is Not an Option
America is in crisis right now. A lot of people want to help, but have no idea where to start. Don Lemon digs deep into the reality of being Black and brown in America, and explores what you can do to help find a path forward. He’ll have tough conversations with activists, artists, and thinkers about our nation’s deep racial divide. As we look for meaningful and lasting solutions, there is a lot to learn and unlearn.
These conversations are going to be challenging—even uncomfortable—but they’re important. Because this time, we get to rebuild America together.
Hosted by Don Lemon.