9 Podcasts to help you understand everything happening in the news – big4all.org gas 101


In recent years, a number of podcasts have cropped up to help us keep track of what’s happening in the world. Some are daily briefs outlining the big stories we need to know; others offer smart analyses about the important news of the week. No matter what, if you want to understand *gestures broadly at everything happening in the news,* there IS a podcast for you.

Published at roughly 6 a.m ET Monday through Friday, the New York Times‘ daily podcast breaks down the biggest news of the day. Each episode features journalists and experts from the Times, explaining what you need to know about the story, how it was reported, and more. It’s made all the better by host Michael Barbaro, who is equal parts calming narrator, thoughtful interviewer, and empathetic listener.

Sometimes the best way to keep up with current events is by talking to your news-wonky friends. And that’s where Call Your Girlfriend comes in. Created in 2014 as a way for friends Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman to stay in touch, it bills itself as “a podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.” But more than anything, it’s discussion about current events delivered as if you were sitting at the bar chatting with your friends. “We’re highbrow and lowbrow, fiercely opinionated, and not afraid to real-talk each other about everything from menstrual cycles and body shaming to the Cheeto in Chief and workplace drama with devastating wit,” the hosts explain. (Cheeto in Chief is what they call Donald Trump, btw.) In addition, the show is incredibly feminist, highlighting the voices of women who shape the news.

Still Processing is another podcast from the New York Times that’ll help you keep up with what’s happening in the world. Tech writer Jenna Wortham and culture writer Wesley Morris are the hosts; they talk about everything from how technology drives anxiety to what shows like Roseanne and movies like A Quiet Place tell us about race in America. Not only do Wortham and Morris break down what’s happening in the world and in pop culture, but they connect it to history and other social conversations, and they do it with charm and wit to boot.

Slate’s Political Gabfest is a roundtable discussion that covers news and politics. The show is hosted by Atlas Obscura‘s David Plotz, New York Times Magazine‘s Emily Bazelon, and CBS This Morning ‘s John Dickerson. They each have a different political perspective, which results in robust and well-rounded conversations. Bonus, each episode ends with “cocktail chatter” — you know, those interesting nuggets of information you bring up at a party — so in addition to staying informed about politics, you’ll also hear interesting factoids and trivia about anything and everything, too.

Regardless of everything else happening in the world, keeping up with what President Donald Trump is up to daily is a task of its own. That’s where the Trumpcast comes in. Produced by Slate and hosted by Jacob Weisberg, Virginia Heffernan, and Jamelle Bouie, it’s a “quasi-daily” podcast about what’s happening with the current administration and president. Top political authors and reporters all pop by to help listeners make sense of it all.

Reveal is a news podcast that brings investigative journalism about the things happening in the world directly to your ears. Created in partnership with The Center for Investigative Journalism and PRX, it bills itself as a show that “takes you deep inside stories that impact your world, revealing injustice and holding the powerful accountable.” Episode topics range from hate speech to worker safety and diversity in Silicon Valley. If you want a comprehensive deep-dive into big global stories, Reveal is for you.

For politics deconstructed by the people who know it best, look no further than Pod Save America. The show is hosted by four former Obama staffers, which means that in addition to breaking down the news, they also provide incredible insight into why each story matters, and how each news item fits within the larger framework of Washington. On top of that, the show is just fun. The discussions are passionate and the hosts are charismatic, which means you’ll be as entertained as you are informed.

Counter Stories is a podcast about race and social justice, especially about how those topics intersect with the news. Episodes range from conversations about whether the arrest of two black men at Starbucks was an isolated event to how racism affects your health. The news doesn’t happen in isolation, and Counter Stories is a good podcast if you want to hear about the real people the news is affecting and how.

Sometimes it’s helpful to step back and look not just at the news but also at how we talk about the news. That’s where WNYC’s On the Media comes in. The show is hosted by journalists Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone, and each week, they discuss how the media covered the big news stories. It’s part of effectively staying informed. On The Media promises to be “a weekly investigation of how the media shapes our worldview.”