A Three-Step Process to Knowing the News
Elections can make it pretty easy to stay informed. But now that the ballots are counted and the excitement of a newly sworn-in government gives way to the necessary tedium of lawmaking, some extra effort is needed.
Fortunately for you, I’ve spent more hours than I’d like to admit thinking about this. And from this I’ve created a three-step process that can be adapted to however much time you have to spare.
Each “step” involves a greater degree of commitment on your part. Step 1 provides you with a general overview of what’s going on in the world. Step 2 allows you to delve deeper into specific issues from a variety of perspectives. And Step 3 is for those who are really committed to being in the know.
So many things happen on a daily basis that are relevant to our future legal careers and lives as citizens that it can be hard to know where to even start to understand them. Recognizing this, a number of news organizations publish morning, and in some cases, evening summaries of the most important news.
The ones I read are below and all are free (in some cases, just for students):
iPolitics: This is an online, Ottawa-based publication that covers Canadian news is a fairly balanced manner. Their Morning Brief is usually my first read in the morning, allowing me to know what’s going on federally, provincially, and municipally. They also publish an Evening Brief that summarizes each day’s events in a quickly digestible format. Subscriptions are free for students and each brief only takes 5-10 minutes to read.
Mic: What goes on in the US almost always has an impact on Canada. For an overview of American news, my favourite source is MicCheck Daily. Mic is a New York City-based online publication geared mostly towards Gen Y readers. Most of its articles are written by left-leaning authors. It’s also a good place to stay on top of pop culture.
Quartz: The Quartz Daily Brief—sent each morning—is my go-to way to know what’s going on in the global economy. Quartz is backed by some fairly significant corporate interests and I’d recommend keeping that in mind while you read its work. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty helpful source of information; kind of like a The Economist lite.
Lexology: Lexology compiles articles from large law firms and prominent lawyers and is sent out in easy-to-read daily newsletters. When you subscribe, you can customize your own daily newsletter by jurisdiction and areas of interests, allowing you to easily stay on top of the law in whichever area(s) and province(s) you’re planning on working in.
When I’m curious about how certain events are playing out or if breaking news is happening, I usually turn to Twitter. Here are two Twitter lists I’ve created that help me stay informed about both general news and the law:
Daily News: This list includes 11 news sources from a range of political perspectives. I’ve included both Canadian and international outlets, and I’ve deliberately excluded news outlets that produce content with—what I perceive to be—a significantly left- or right-leaning perspective (e.g. The Tyee, The Rebel).
Legal News: In this list I’ve put together the Canadian law school newspapers with active Twitter accounts and a number of other Canadian legal news sources.
Feel free to follow either of these and to tweet suggestions for additions to @imgmoore.
For those who are really committed to being in the know, I recommend taking advantage of your status as a student and getting a free membership at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library. This will give you free access to Zinio, an online bookshelf of over 5,500 magazines that can be read on your laptop, tablet, or phone.
I like using my subscription to read The Economist. Although Zinio doesn’t provide access to new issues until a few days after they come out, most of the content isn’t time-sensitive anyway. You can also use Zinio to read magazines like Elle, Esquire, and Trout & Salmon.
As I said at the beginning, these three “steps” can be adapted to however much time you have to spare. For many, Step 1—a commitment of about 15 minutes a day—is probably enough.
Ian Moore is Publisher for Juris Diction. He is in 3L.