tl:dr? Just Read the stuff in bold.
As a young woman in the media field who is trying to be the best she can be intellectually, it is important that I’m up to date on the latest news. If I don’t know what happened in the previous night’s Republican Debate or the latest economic scandal, I look like a fool both in class and in front of my peers. Of course, it’s not just journalism majors who experience this problem. Just about all of my friends follow news networks on Twitter or follow Buzzfeed News so they can participate in any and all conversations. But here’s the thing: Half the time we have NO IDEA what we’re talking about. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. You’re talking to an acquaintance after class and they bring up some new law that is being heavily debated and they want your opinion…and you have to make up an opinion really quick on the spot and you’re not sure if it made sense because you haven’t heard about this new law at all. Then you resolve to google it later and then hide your head under a pillow because you’re supposed to be a well read adult but you can’t find the time.
This has happened to me more than once.
Then, I started hearing about theSkimm, an online news source that gets delivered right to your email every morning and fills you in on everything that people are going to be talking about that day. Teachers and students kept recommending it to me, so I figured I should give it a chance. I subscribed to the news letter, and I liked it, but what I really wanted to know was: Does theSkimm intellectually prepare me for the day just as well as the more *~adult*~ news sources or other options? So I did a quick study of the front pages of several other sites to see how different news sources stack up and determine which one will do the best job making me look like a smartypants.
CNN website: The CNN website tries really hard to come off as if they have news before anyone else does (using bright fonts and colors and the words “BREAKING NEWS”), but in reality, they are about as timely as other news sources like The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. CNN mainly focuses on politics as well as hard news like shootings and rape cases. Some of their pieces are written with a liberal edge which is noticeable due to word choice, for example, they refer to two people who made secret recordings of Planned Parenthood workers as “accusers”. In contrast, The New York Times referred to the same people as “anti-abortion activists”, which is a far more conservative choice. Verdict: This is a good news source for hard news but be prepared to read through a slightly liberal lens. If you skim this source in the morning you might find yourself bumping heads with a conservative friend in the afternoon.
The New York Times website: This site was slightly more conservative than CNN, as previously mentioned. They focus on Republican candidates like Ted Cruz rather the democratic race. They also cover some of the less “hard hitting” news. They post content about the environment and economy on the front page of the site whereas other news sources are mainly focusing on politics alone these days. You can also expect to see some Op-Ed material offered right up front as well. Verdict: If you and your friend circle lean a little conservative, you will have an easier time finding conversation topics on this site than most of the others. This is also a good site for you if you want a mix of hard news and lighter fare.
The Washington Post website: This website gets breaking stories just as fast as the others and leans slightly liberal like CNN. Here, they call the makers of the illegal Planned Parenthood videos “creators of covert Planned Parenthood videos”. The Post covers political news stories that the other sites are likely to ignore. For Example, they have a top story about David Petraeus, a general who recently got into trouble with the law. They do, however, still cover the Democratic race and focus mainly on Clinton and Sanders (just forget the other candidate amiright?). Verdict: Skimming this source in the morning will give you a similar effect that a skim of CNN would, but you might end up with a couple extra stories in your back pocket that other people will be less knowledgeable about. Now who looks smart?
The Huffington Post website: A popular choice for my feminist girlfriends, Huff Post is VERY liberal. They call the Planned Parenthood perps, “Anti-Planned Parenthood Snoops”. They also feature blogs from cool famous people like Lena Dunham and update their news often. Verdict: Are you a liberal feminist? Read this site in the morning and know what your liberal feminist friends will be talking about today. Also be able to read the stories easily, because the writing style is relaxed and not too overbearing. If you are not a liberal feminist, you will disagree with half of this site and it is not for you at all.
theSkimm website: While I think you can feel Arianna Huffington’s feminine flair when reading Huff Post, theSkimm is 100% marketed to 20 something women from top to bottom. It’s peppered with quotes from Shonda Rhimes, references to The Bachelor, and Beyonce is everywhere. They titled an article about Winter Storm Jonas with a cute lil quote from Disney’s Frozen regardless of the fact that almost 30 people died. But, they do a nice job filling in stereotypical, feminine, young adult women on things they assume we don’t care about — like who’s going to the Superbowl. Verdict: I admit, I am a stereotypical, feminine, young adult woman, and I find theSkimm kind of entertaining. And the convenience of it is great. However, it does not stack up at all as a real news source. If I went into an interview and was asked a serious question about politics, theSkimm would not help me AT ALL. This source can be read for fun, but if you need serious info quick, you’re better off reading the top five news stories on one of the first three sites depending on your political leanings and other needs. Or read Huff Post if you want a middle ground between theSkimm and the others.