I used to consume my news in an orderly and thorough way: from a combination of the local paper and The New York Times. To be clear, I mean an actual paper - like I would walk to the street, pick it up, carry it inside, sit down with my coffee and breakfast, and read it.
With the exception of the occasional weekend or holiday, it has been at least four years since I have sat down to eat breakfast much less read a paper. The result is an inconsistent flow of news leaving me oversaturated in some areas - if you have any lingering questions from the eclipse this fall, don't hesitate to ask - and glaringly ignorant in other areas - Iran Nuclear deal? Today's solution: podcasts.
Yes, I do know what a podcast is. Even I listened to the first season of Serial. What I didn't know, however, was just how many podcasts there are out there. For today's lesson, I was solely focused on daily podcasts and I wanted to keep my total listening time to 45 minutes or less. (The vision here is that I can land on a few podcasts that I can faithfully listen to on a daily basis while commuting, cleaning the house, making dinner, etc.) My first takeaway - there is a daily podcast on pretty much anything you can imagine and a few things you would never have imagined. I had no idea that there was a need for year-round, daily fantasy football content. Nor was I aware of the market for daily horse tips. Safe to say I have become a little more relevant just by engaging in the process of sorting through, reading reviews, and listening to a wide range of podcasts. I now know who Rob Bell is, what an Oculus Go is, and that Winter is Coming.
All of that said, I landed on two for my daily listens. First, and somewhat of a no brainer, The Daily. You are probably already listening to this, but if you aren't, find 20 minutes to add it to your daily (no pun intended) routine. After just a few days of listening, I am fully committed to it not because it gives me the headlines that I need each day (there are LOTS of podcasts that do this and do it well), but because about 80% of the podcast each day is focused on one featured story that is explored in depth. It is engaging, human, and relevant. Not only do I enjoy listening to it, but after 20 minutes or less I walk away with the headlines for the day and one topic that really sticks with me. For example, yesterday's segment on Gina Haspel has left me reflecting both on my response to torture and on my tendency to be black and white about issues in a person's - particularly people in a public light - past. A news podcast that can get listeners to not only hear the news but to think about what it means and to engage with controversial issues with an ear for reason, reality, and human empathy is a beautiful thing. It is my first commitment in this journey.
Second is Ted Talks Daily. I like these because they are less than 15 minutes, cover a VAST array of topics, and are engaging. While familiar with the concept of Ted Talks, I have admittedly listened to very few. I feel a little overwhelmed with where to start and the time commitment. Daily Ted Talks takes care of both of these and leaves me with a daily clip of a topic that I would otherwise know nothing about. For example, today's episode, Confessions of a Depressed Comic, provides a first-hand look at depression and raises importance issues about our current stigmas surround mental health, all in 12 minutes. Yesterday's episode, A Playful Solution to the Housing Crisis, is 11 minutes of Sarah Murray discussing the software that she created to design and build homes, highlighting the stark reality of our world-wide housing crisis, and advocating for restoring control and dignity to those that do not have housing. It is innovative, solution oriented, and frankly shocking (think: 3D printing to build homes)! Ted Talks is a go for commitment number two.
There are many more great podcasts that I came across that I look forward to working into the routine - planning to return to this genre early and often. In the meantime, however, glad to have a daily news routine that doesn't involve a stone tablet, scroll, or papyrus.
Future Conversationalist is my quest to stay (somewhat) relevant as a thirty-something, working, mom of two. Focused on arts, entertainment, and general trends, Future Conversationalist seeks to be informative and entertaining. I hope you enjoy the topics - and please send ideas or tips for future articles. I am very reader driven and educated, so the more feedback the better. Thanks for reading and being a part of this community.