(This is Part One of a two-part article, focusing on some of the tools I use to stay informed. Part Two will feature specific news sources that are important to me.)
It is safe to assume that most of us have routines that we follow on a daily basis, and particularly some that we enjoy as we start the day. For me, getting a sense as to what is happening around me, near and far, has always been important. During my tenure at Vallarta Lifestyles, it became a job description. Nowadays, it continues to be essential, as it allows me, among other things, to engage in lively conversations with my friends and associates when I’m out and about.
I was asked recently about the news sources I follow. To that effect, I’d like to offer a glimpse of my daily routine, which involves perusing headlines from over 60 news sources, in a variety of topics.
But First, RSS
If you’re wondering who has time to visit 60 websites while drinking their morning coffee, I can quickly answer, I don’t. That said, RSS, or rich site summary, makes it easy. It is a format that delivers regularly changing web content. Most websites, including some that are not even aware of it, publish an RSS feed.
Learn more about RSS by reading this article.
You Also Need an RSS Reader
If you visit a website that has an RSS icon, you may be tempted to click on it. If you do, the results may disappoint you. You see, in order to take advantage of RSS you need an application dedicated to reading RSS feeds. There are several out there, and the one I use is an online application called Feedly. Using Feedly or any other RSS application, you “subscribe” to the RSS feeds of the websites you want to keep track of. Whenever a website publishes a new article, the title will appear on your RSS reader, allowing you to select—by their title—which articles might be of interest to you.
Learn more about Feedly by visiting their website.
Yahoo, Google and other websites also allow you to program news alerts on topics that are important to you. If you visit Google Alerts, for example, you can enter words or short phrases that you are interested in. Whenever Google publishes a news item that contains your keywords, you will receive an email message with links to the corresponding articles. For example, my Google news alerts include the words/phrases “vallarta,” “puerto vallarta,” “mexico,” “gay vallarta” and so forth. Because of what I do for work, I also have news alerts for “Facebook,” “Instagram,” “Nikon” among others.
It’s been a long time since YouTube became much more than just a platform to share funny videos. Just as you can program news alerts on Yahoo or Google, YouTube allows you to subscribe to specific channels, such that you are notified whenever any of the channels you are interested in has released a new video.
I will get into specifics of channels I subscribe to (over 250 last I checked!) in Part Two of this article but will volunteer some wisdom. When it comes to the news, I take advantage of the fact that many TV networks repurpose their daily newscasts on YouTube. To that effect, I find that subscribing to the PBS News Hour YouTube channel is essential. Just about every evening, I sit down in front of the TV to catch what I consider a well-balanced newscast. And it’s free to watch!
What are my favorite RSS feeds and YouTube news sources in English and Spanish? I’ll save that for next week. In the meantime, feel free to share your preferred news sources in the comments section, below!
(Part Two of this article is now available online.)