Good news websites for people buried under a rock?
August 8, 2011 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Help me be more informed and less of a stupid ignoramus!

It occurs to me that I'm horrible when it comes to current events. How can I become more versed in the world at large? I don't have cable. Let's be frank - there's no way I'm gonna buy a newspaper every day. So the internet it is!

So what are some good websites that I can bookmark and, say, read for ten minutes before work each morning? Stuff that is like, news for dummies. Meaning, they explain things like the debt crisis to me like I'm an idiot and not the otherwise intelligent 30 something year old I usually am. Simple, concise, and timely news is what I seek!

I know I can just peruse the new york times or cnn or something but... hopefully there's something less dry and all over the place?
posted by silverstatue to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Browsing through the top articles in Google News might be a good place to start.
posted by youngergirl44 at 11:45 AM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

What about subscribing to a newspaper? It comes to your door! A good newspaper will also keep you up to date on local happenings. It's more fun to read than an internet site and you can take it with you on the subway/bus/whatever.
posted by beau jackson at 11:46 AM on August 8, 2011

I watch Rachel Maddow - her show is put up on the site at about 10pm every evening. It's a little longer and more in-depth than news headlines, but is a pretty decent overview of the big political issues.

(Warning, obvious liberal bias.)
posted by restless_nomad at 11:47 AM on August 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I like to listen to National Public Radio while I have my coffee/breakfast in the morning. I get a reasonable overview of relevant news stories that I can always learn more about on the web. I subscribe to Minnesota PR's RSS feed in Google Reader, and though I don't always keep up on reading it, it's a nice way to quickly see what's up in the state/nation/world.
posted by radioaction at 11:51 AM on August 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

Just for fun I googled 'current events primer' and 'news primer' and didn't really find anything. I think there is definitely a need for such a thing. I am envisioning a website with the top 100 current events summarized and timelined with offsite links for more info. They could be categorized similar to google news (politics, sports, etc) but instead of specific stories (ie Today Congress did XYZ about the budget crisis) it would just be a 4 paragraph blurb about the generalities of what the budget crisis is, defining the debt ceiling, bond rating, etc.

The problem with news websites is that they are too current. Meaning, you can't get an overview summary of the issue or current event at hand and instead you get the day's update of the issue.
posted by ian1977 at 11:54 AM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I googled 'summary current events' and came up with wikipedia's Portal: Current events
posted by ian1977 at 11:56 AM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

The New York Times is actually what you're describing, even though I know you mention it in your post. Read the headlines and the first few paragraphs of a given article. NYT articles are generally written so as to be comprehensible to a precocious 12-year-old who has not been following the issues.
posted by John Cohen at 11:58 AM on August 8, 2011

is this too obvious?

ok seriously: seconding just peak on the right and you will see plain text links to "top stories". this is what i use when i've been out of the loop for an hour/day/week.
posted by chasles at 12:00 PM on August 8, 2011

Newspapers: I like the classics: for the paywall),, Yahoo news is not bad, and One thing newspapers tend to do is assume you have the context, though you may not. For that, I prefer
Newsmagazines:, I friended the Economist on the Facebook, and get snippets of news at a nice pace.
National Public Radio is not concise, but it provides me with US and national news, plus a lot of interesting stuff, and I am now addicted.
posted by theora55 at 12:07 PM on August 8, 2011

As others have mentioned in previous threads, The Week is great for this kind of thing.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 12:08 PM on August 8, 2011 [2 favorites] covers a lot of current-events ground with good sources, also has some interesting stuff about things that aren't the biggest, highest-profile topics.
posted by ambient2 at 12:09 PM on August 8, 2011

2nding The Week

To be most productive with current news, I'd strongly recommend using RSS aggregation of a variety of sites (I use Google Reader) rather than bookmarking.
posted by Consult The Oracle at 12:16 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Definitely don't have time for a radio show or a newspaper in the morning. I need something I can quickly scan while doing fifty zillion other things at my super hectic job.

I'll check out some of the other examples tonight. Thanks everyone! Keep 'em coming!
posted by silverstatue at 12:35 PM on August 8, 2011 might be a nice aggregator for you.
posted by michaelh at 12:43 PM on August 8, 2011

If you don't have time for radio, NPRs website provides great news coverage.
I would also put another vote in for google news, less in depth but a plethora of news all in one place.
Wanted to add BBC or CBC, as the international perspective and coverage is top notch.
posted by handbanana at 12:48 PM on August 8, 2011

Seconding NPR, their news on the hour is five minutes long. Also NYTimes. I have to say 10 minutes in the morning isn't going to make you an informed citizen. Better than nothing, though.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 12:54 PM on August 8, 2011

I find The Atlantic Wire to be a decent summary of stuff going on, and not dry at all. The also have some regular summary posts, where they pick the five best articles for a given day, and a "Trimming the Times" where they suggest interesting/important stories on the New York Times site, so you can save your precious free viewings.
posted by chengjih at 1:01 PM on August 8, 2011

I just use metafilter. It's more interesting anyway.
posted by ubermasterson at 6:16 PM on August 8, 2011

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