News quizzes are difficult. I wasn’t really aware of this until a few years ago when I began giving weekly current events quizzes in my introductory public relations course. Some students did quite well on the quizzes and even said they looked forward to them; other students struggled.
I teach in a mass communications program, and my students want to be media practitioners. I naively assumed they understood the importance of being informed.
You know what happens when you assume, don’t you? I do now.
But, I get it. They’re busy and they have a million other things to do besides watch the evening news or read the newspaper. Heck, I’m busy too. My physical newspaper doesn’t always get read either.
To help solve this problem, I developed this list of eight apps students can use to stay informed about current events.
1. USA TODAY
I’m not a huge fan of USA Today as a publication, but their app is well organized and a wonderful way to get a quick, easy buffet of the biggest news happenings. Allowing the app to send you alerts also will give you a list of the biggest stories for you to easily review.
NewsOK is the app for our state newspaper, The Oklahoman. Obviously, this would need to be altered slightly, depending on your university’s location, but it’s critical for students to remain up-to-date on local news in their region, state and city. Again, allowing the app to send you alerts will give you a list of the biggest stories for you to easily review.
In the same way that students should be informed about local happenings, they also should be informed about hyperlocal (campus) happenings. MediaOCU is our campus student media website. I almost always ask at least one quiz question from campus news.
4. AP MOBILE
The Associated Press breaks news in real time and only reports on the most important issues. I recommend that students not only look at the AP Mobile app, but also allow it to send breaking news alerts to their phones, which, again, they can review easily in list form before a news quiz.
Although I look at CNN, I find that most of the content there already has been covered by USA Today or AP. I could just as easily skip this one, since I read the others first. But it is a legitimate news source and a place for additional information.
6. HUFFINGTON POST
Huff Po has become a more legitimate news source. While I wouldn’t rely on it exclusively, I usually take a look at Huff Po just to see their take on things I’ve read elsewhere. Some of the unusual stories provide interesting classroom discussion fodder.
7. THE SKIMM
The Skimm is one of my go-to resources. All you do is log on and enter your email address, then you receive a daily digest of news in your email inbox. It’s awesome! The information is presented in an interesting, sometimes snarky way, making it fun and easy to read.
BONUS: PR DAILY
Since the students taking my news quizzes are in a public relations course, it’s important for them to keep up with PR news. I recommend that my PR students read Ragan’s PR Daily, which is a wonderful source for all PR happenings.
There you have it, the seven easy ways that students can stay informed. Hopefully just being reminded of the list will prepare students for news quizzes and help them be more informed citizens.