Up-to-date in 5 seconds flat

In the wise words of the Sweet Lemon motto, “The sexiest trait you can have is a fruitful mind.” However, in today’s world of constant media updates, this is a lot easier said than done. Not to mention you have a job, classes, responsibilities, the gym, friends and 100 things on your mind. One could spend all day in front of a television or computer just to be “up to speed.” As the situation in Syria changes every day, new people are appointed to positions constantly and everyone is winning awards—there is no way to follow all of today’s news. As I am studying abroad I am currently without any American news outlets and finding myself days behind, when technically I am 6 hours ahead. Using Syrian events as a catalyst, I have found a number of ways to stay informed.


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1. Get a news app! With Push notifications

Regardless of party affiliations, every major news outlet has a mobile app that sends headlines, breaking news updates and exclusive stories to your phone. In WiFi areas I can read updates and quick summary articles. Abroad, this lets me stay a little more connected and sound significantly more informed.

2. New York Times Daily Headlines

Did you know that you do not have to be a daily, monthly or weekly subscriber to be sent a list of headlines from every section of the New York Times? Head to their website, and enter your email address. Every morning, around 4 am, you will be sent a quick list of headlines. If you do not subscribe to NYT you do have a 10 articles-a-month limit, but in the meantime, you can get an idea of public opinion or the current status of foreign affairs.

3. Politico“Breaking News” Emails

No time to look at your phone all day? The Washington DC-based newspaper can send you breaking news headlines from The Hill and the White House lawn. Politico sends breaking news alerts to your email and a daily run down of top stories. You can register here. These are free, and provide a short explanation of the event or announcement in the body of the email. Not to mention, they have a free app too!

4. Commuting? Grab “The Express”

Whatever your local version of “The Express” or the free headlines newspaper handed to you on the subway, train or tram- flip through and get educated on the breaking stories of today and what is to come. Often these newspapers are more gossip or celebrity based but many of these publications use a friendly, approachable tone to explaining world events.


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5. You’ll be on Twitter anyway…

Make sure you’re following news outlines on Twitter! Every major news outlet from MSNBC to The Associated Press to your local Patch has a twitter feed with breaking news. Chances are, this will be the fastest updated social media source-even before a TV show or app can cover it. Not to mention if you follow anchors, politicians or organizations you are passionate about-watch to see how they weigh in.

A final tip, do not feel embarrassed if you don’t know an event or person referenced. This is why Wikipedia exists. Google the information either on the spot or as you’re reading these headlines. Soon you will know more about North Korea than baby North West. Your fruitful mind will thank you.

Any other ways you Lemon Ladies keep up with the world around us?

By Margaret Mulkerrin
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  • Reply September 14, 2013

    Katrina Manning

    Great article. How often do you check Twitter? Do you have open on your phone all day?

    • Reply September 16, 2013

      Margaret Mulkerrin

      Thanks Katrina!

      I would say whenever I have wifi, may 5 plus times a day. I skim through for breaking news, Sweet Lemon updates or other people I am particularly interested in.

  • Reply September 14, 2013

    I love these ideas! I also recommend reading nownexxt or the skimm!

  • Reply September 15, 2013

    Ali Vitali

    If you’re really into the politics beat, I highly recommend Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook. While I’m rolling around between snooze buttons, I read it while I’m waking up and I’m set for the day. Morning Money also rocks if you’re trying to get up on your econ/finance news (I am!)

    A word about The Skimm: while their light tone is often good for quick hits on news updates, when it comes to deep dives or serious stories their tone is often inappropriate and their jokes are, well, off. I have a specific instance in mind from when military sexual assault was big in the news cycle and a certain aside line about commander role play that was pretty offensive and badly dealt with on their part. I’ve shied away from there ever since — especially with SO many other better options.

    • Reply September 16, 2013

      Margaret Mulkerrin

      Thanks Ali!

      That snooze button roll is a feeling I know well. I can’t watch tv shows abroad but I do love finding specific commentators to follow, read their updates, etc.

      Also: I never knew that/had heard of The Skimm. Not knowing the fine line between funny and inappropriate can get many in trouble. Thanks for the word of warning!