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The Best News Sources for Staffers to Read

Be sure to read the day's news before your boss does. Hill Navigator discusses. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Are you reading this while at your desk? On your smartphone on the Metro? Maybe you get Hill Navigator delivered directly to your inbox. But how do you know if you’re reading the best news sources to do your job effectively? Hill Navigator discusses.

Q. Every morning I start checking my phone for news alerts and daily clips. When I get into the office I'm still sorting through news clips from my boss's committees, our office press team, and trade groups, on top of the various Beltway news outlets. I know Roll Call is the best source for all news, but I sometimes question how much news I really need to do my legislative job. As I prepare for a new Congress and a new year, what are some tips to get my media consumption under control?
A. You’re asking a journalist if there is a limit to the media consumption? Never, media consumption is limitless! (Especially print, print media forever! But I digress )  

You’re wise to start thinking about your news sources. Your inbox only has so much space, and you don’t want to spend your entire morning combing through news clips. So here are several ways to target your media consumption so you’re keeping up with your boss, doing your job and staying on top of the ever-changing news landscape.  

1) Read what your boss is reading. Some members of Congress still receive hard copies of The Washington Post and expect staffers to know the front page stories; others get their headlines from their inbox but rarely click through to the stories. Find out which news outlets your boss relies on, what stories he or she reads and how, and mimic those habits. The surefire news articles your boss is definitely reading? Those that mention him by name. Read all of them. Set up a Google alert and check through the daily clips to see if there are any you missed.  

2) Set alerts from multiple outlets. Roll Call and other news agencies put out breaking news alerts with information deemed crucial or interesting to a wider audience. Sign up for those. Members of Congress rely on their staffs to keep abreast of major news, from international peace accords to celebrity breakups.  

3) Get smart policy news. Everyone can be an “expert” with a Twitter account nowadays, but if your job includes following policy news, get it from several sources you and your boss trust. News organizations like CQ offer custom news alerts that send immediate email notifications on action pertaining to a specific bill, issue area, committee hearing or member of Congress. (If you're a CQ subscriber, sign up for alerts here .) 4) Read something you like . Even the most dedicated staffer is well-served reading a news outlet he or she enjoys. Include in your daily roundup something that you’ll be excited to open. Maybe that’s Roll Call’s At the Races , or Politico’s Huddle , or Washington Post’s The Fix or even Hill Navigator (and thank you for reading!).  

5) Be wise about social media. News breaks on Twitter constantly, another clever Buzzfeed list shows up in your Facebook feed, or a story may be HUGE on Reddit. These are all good avenues to follow but keep in mind that social media is one aspect of media consumption, and it tends to have a self-selection bias of your friends and social circle. Before you assume major news is trending based on the hashtag activism you’re seeing on Twitter, get another perspective. Preferably from a news outlet.  

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