By Christine Todd, Account Coordinator
It can almost go without saying that having a basic understanding of current events, especially if you work in communications, is so important for everyday work and life. I’m talking to you, college students. If you are in college or a recent college graduate, it’s good to start these habits before you enter the professional world.
With so many sources across all mediums, it’s easier now than ever to stay updated on local, national and world news. I’ve outlined some baby steps you can take:
• Subscribe to a daily email newsletter to get the day’s headlines, such as The Skimm. It will make you feel like a news rock star before you walk out the door in the morning.
• Listen to podcasts while exercising or during your commute.
• Watch local broadcast TV while getting ready in the morning.
• Make a national news channel your browser homepage so you’re almost forced to read the updating headlines every time you hop onto your browser.
• Download a news compilation app on your phone. Circa News and Newsify are some of my favorites. These allow you to pick and choose the RSS feeds from your favorite news sources and put them all in one convenient app.
Doing just some of these everyday will make you stand out at networking events or informational interviews. I can just imagine some of these scenarios occurring if you show off your news junkie skills.
“What’s that you say? You know about that obscure bill passed through the Indiana Senate last week? I’d like to hear your opinion on it over a cup of coffee, and maybe we can see if my company has an opening in our government relations department.”
“Hey, you seem pretty knowledgeable about what tech products are popular in Southeast Asia right now. Can you send me links to those articles you were talking about? Here’s my business card, and please feel free to contact me for career advice.”
Well, it may not play out as wonderful as these hypothetical situations, but knowing your stuff can help you get a leg up in the recent graduate pool.
If you work in an agency, you’re expected to know a little about everything, and you’re definitely required to be an expert on your local news outlets. It can make the difference in scoring more media coverage for a client if you are able to make your releases and pitches newsworthy. It also helps if you are able to speak intelligently about why an article you read last night would really help with a client’s communications strategy. Back up your rationale with reputable and multiple news sources and you could come across a winning plan.
You can even help avoid terribly timed social media situations like this.
So yes, it can be very easy to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world around you. Beyond fulfilling your civic duty as an educated human, being a news junkie can help you professionally and also personally because let’s face it, it’ll probably help your stats at Wednesday night trivia.
Start reading, listening and watching. Keep an open mind and don’t limit yourself to just one news source.