7 News Podcasts That Help Us Make Sense of the World

And actually enjoy doing it.

By Anne Campbell
camille styles phone office

I tend to approach podcasts similar to my daily vitamins; I lean on them to nourish the parts of me that need tending to the most at any given time. For my immune health, it’s Vitamin C. Need a memory jolt? Zinc is the key. Antioxidant check? Beta-carotene, baby. The same goes for my methodology in the case of podcasts. If I want to feel uplifted, I turn to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, for motivational career inspiration I switch on Second Life, and for a double dose of Vitamin G, it’s gotta be Gwyneth + GOOP.

When it comes to staying up to speed and getting my news fix, I’ve found that an iced chai paired with The Daily is the most efficient way for me to stay informed. The true beauty of news podcasts is that they can be consumed wherever you are and at your own pace. While on dog walks, managing kitchen clean-ups — and let’s be honest — for the drives around the neighborhood to escape the antsy quarantined-at-home kids, I can just hit play and let the info flow.

Pausing when needed and circling back when I need to concentrate more, the concept perfectly suits that daily start-and-stop lifestyle that we’ve all come to recognize as, not our new normal, but as our always normal.

Check out seven of our editors’ fave news podcasts below, and let us know your favorite listens in the comments.

The Argument

Since I’m off Instagram for the month of July, I’ve embraced this time to streamline my news consumption and break my habits of checking my phone all day to “see what’s happening.” So, right when I wake up in the morning, I read through my New York Times morning briefing that’s landed in my inbox, and in 10 minutes I feel like I get a well-rounded overview of what’s happening in the nation and in the world.

I love to use podcasts to do a deeper dive into any topics that are really weighing on me or piquing my interest – or that are so complex I need to learn the background to fully understand them. Lately, The Argument (the NY Times Opinion show) has been a great source for me to understand both sides of important arguments around topics like racist monuments, protest marches, and the upcoming election. – Camille


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

Not your typical news podcast, but JVN from Netflix’s Queer Eye has a weekly podcast that is often focused on timely topics and features incredible experts that help break down complex issues in our news cycle in a way that is entertaining, but informative. His signature humor makes me laugh out loud, and his curiosity on the topics that are discussed with his experts really makes you do a double take and ask your own questions. A few of my favorite recent episodes discuss voter suppression with former Rep. Stacey Abrams, how to stay healthy during the pandemic with former Senior Policy Advisor Dr. Saralyn Mark, and understanding the gender pay gap with CEO of Ellevest, Sallie Krawcheck. – Suruchi


What a Day

I love how What a Day gives me all the news I need for the day in a quick and entertaining fifteen minute episode. What’s more, it’s witty, and the dialogue between the two hosts, comedian Akilah Hughes and reporter Gideon Resnick always gives me a good chuckle. – Anne


NPR’s Up First 

Rachel Martin, David Greene, and Steve Inskeep are the charming hosts of NPR’s Up First Podcast. With their episodes being only between 10 to 15 minutes it’s easy to listen to them while  I’m getting ready for the day. Up First shares timely news stories about anything and everything — from politics to pop culture.  – Kat


Today, Explained

Hosted by Sean Rameswaram, each daily episode is less than 30 minutes and covers an important headline from the news. Rameswaram is really conversational and dissects each topic in a way that is approachable and easy to understand. I always leave each episode having taken away at least one new thing that makes me feel like I truly understand the issues being discussed. A few of the episodes I’ve liked cover the recent international student visa headlines, how Black Lives Matter is creating change, and experts from the WHO discussing the pandemic and what we need to know. – Suruchi


The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition

Trevor takes highlights from the show and turns it into a bite-size ~20 min podcast with his comedic flare. I typically like an inspirational and longer interview series for my daily walk or cooking, so this one is perfect for a short snippet into the weekly news. – Kelly


Skimm This

Skimm This” is a weekly podcast that breaks down the most important stories from the past week and adds context and clarity to answer the real questions on your mind. It’s witty, informative, and feels like your super smart political science obsessed older sister is giving you the 411 on everything you need to know so you can feel like an informed and educated citizen. I listen to it on my walk to get coffee every Friday morning (when a new episode is released) — all the episodes are less than 30 minutes which I love too! – Kat