I like to know things. Ever since I was little, I have been a sponge for information in any form, soaking up facts and dates and snippets of knowledge. It made me the most obnoxious Jeopardy! viewer in my family, and quite an eager member of my high school's quiz bowl team. Now that I'm older, I've learned that this ability to memorize and absorb, and this passion for learning inspires me. I want to be smart and this desire to live every day inspired has become a daily routine that I call "The Daily Catch-Up." (It used to be the "Morning Catch-Up" but it basically lasts the entire day now…)
I wake up in the morning to about 15 emails in my inbox and they keep flooding in as the morning progresses. Given the fields I want to enter (politics, public policy, branding, women's empowerment, etc.), I need to make sure I am on top of what's going on in the world so I've subscribed to a bunch of email campaigns and news websites to get content delivered straight to my inbox. Most of them come in before I leave for work in the morning so I try to get through them all during my commute, and more arrive throughout the day so I check my email quite a bit. My top-favorite emails from specific news sites are The Week 's (an excellent news magazine) "10 Things You Need to Know Today" and Time 's basic headlines emails. Those give you the bylines and links to full articles so I can explore more on my own. I also get more specific content from Politico (a politics-centered website) and Foreign Policy Magazine. From Poltico, I get briefings of general political headlines and congressional affairs, and then I get what's called "The Huddle" which gives you longer blurbs about the headlines you received in the briefings emails, so it's like shorter versions of articles! I get "The Situation Report" from Foreign Policy which is a little long for my taste but I like the writer, Gordon Lubold, and how he tells you who in U.S foreign policy is where on that day, and gives longer descriptions of major foreign news. Since I'm interested in the Middle East and Central Asia, I get specific Middle Eastern and Asian affairs briefings, as well.
And now, onto my favorite emails! If you're looking to get the facts explained to you in an easy-to-understand format, look no further than these four campaigns:
TheSkimm comes at 6am and is for anyone who doesn't want to sound ignorant at a cocktail party, as I like to say. The two women who write it are former news producers and they have a flair for sass! They "skim" the major news stories, break it down for you, give you some background on the issue, and voila! You are officially armed with everything you need to know for the day. This is the first thing I read in the morning and it gives me an excellent foundation for my other "Catch-Up" emails. I've loved theSkimm so much that I became a "skimm'bassador" for them to spread the Skimm…and the sass. Click here to subscribe!
PolicyMic's "Mic Check" is another favorite of mine and it gives you not only the major headlines, but it categorizes them into "The Agenda" (the major news stories), "Matters of Debate" (op-ed and ongoing issues), and "Marvels" (interesting extras). This gives you both information, but it lets you explore more, depending on your interest.
Quartz is your quick "give me the facts" email. This is a quick read that lays out the headlines in bold with a sentence or two about them, and then "soft news" headlines for those of you with a little more time to explore. What I really like about this one is that Quartz draws from a wide variety of news sources, such as Le Monde, The National Interest, and more off-the-beaten-path blogs and websites so you get a very well-rounded curation.
Need 2 Know is for the categories-driven (*cough* type A! *cough*) among us which I greatly appreciate. There's a one phrase category such as "Iraq", "Business", "Weekend Box Office", and a quick blurb underneath and a link to the full article from its original news source. Whoever writes it also includes his/her two cents in a one-liner and, let's face it, who doesn't love a little sass?
What's great about all of these email campaigns is that they don't take that long to read at all and you start making connections between past and present news stories and references in the media, and you start to feel like you have a slightly better grip at what's going on in the world. You can start with the "skimmed" emails and then expand it depending on your interest, and, soon enough, you'll have an inbox flooded with current events when you wake up in the morning!
The more you know, the more interested you become, and the more inspired you are.
Inspired to be,