5 Current Affairs Podcasts To Keep You Up To Date With World Affairs & Make You Feel Like A Genius
Podcasting has become absolutely huge in the last couple of years, overtaking other platforms to become the way to get your voice heard. There are an incredibly vast array of different podcasts available; think of any topic, no matter how niche, and there'll be a podcast on it. With this in mind, current affairs podcasts have really come into their own in 2018, becoming an easier-to-digest, on-the-go option for news buffs who don't have time to pick up a paper or even scroll through an app.
My obsession with podcasts (like many) started with true crime. From Serial to Dr. Death, Someone Knows Something to In The Dark, documentary-style murders really suit the platform and have helped to build it into what it is today. I'm not just a one trick pony however; I love podcasts to do with mental health (Jen Gotch Is Ok Sometimes; Mentally Yours), beauty (Fat Mascara; Breaking Beauty) and anything funny (3 Girls, One Keith; My Favourite Murder).
But recently, the podcasts that have really been interesting me are those that make me feel smarter. Current affairs are not something I am constantly up to date with, but listening to a daily podcast with the need-to-know top lines helps me to feel like I've got my sh*t together a little more. There's nothing more satisfying than being able to drop in some smart-sounding facts into daily conversations and feeling like you can impress with your political, newsy knowledge.
I've always been more interested in what goes on across the pond in the U.S. but I'm trying to get on board with happenings over here too, and think my top five current affairs podcasts below represent this.
The Daily is hosted by the always chipper-sounding New York Times staffer Michael Barbaro. The podcast is released (as its name suggests) every weekday and explores a different emerging news story or wider issue every day. It's usually a discussion of the previous day's biggest political story, but sometimes takes on a cultural issue and invites guests on to offer comment. Some of my favourite episodes this year included 30 April, which shared an informative yet deeply emotional story about the North/South Korea divide, and 2 April, where Barbaro discusses prison reform with Jared Kushner taking centre stage.
'Best Of Today'
Quickly jumping across the Atlantic to reach our very own shores, BBC Radio 4's current affairs podcast is basically the Brit version of The Daily. Every day, you'll hear the most important top line stories of the moment, along with political discussion and cultural analysis from around the world. And the best bit? Each episode comes in a super short snippet of around five minutes, so you'll be all caught up on everything by the time you reach work in the morning.
'The Cut On Tuesdays'
The Cut has become a go-to platform for young women with a keen interest in politics, culture and style, so it was only natural that they launch their own podcast. The Cut On Tuesdays is still relatively new, but takes on a timely cultural topic of discussion each week in a unique and interesting manner. So far, they have debated the "Sh*tty Men Media List" and related it to a similar act of defiance by women at Brown University in 1990, and right-wing extremism with a first person narrative.
Combining my keen interest in American political and cultural issues with my need to be more informed on happenings in my own country, Mid-Atlantic discusses news and current affairs that are affecting both the U.S. and the UK. Recent topics have included "Trump's Beef With McCain and Racism In British Politics" and "Kavanaugh's Me Too Moment And The Calls For A Second Referendum On Brexit." A nice way to bridge the gap between us and our American cousins, and feel clever both sides of the pond.
'Stuff You Should Know'
Not strictly a current affairs podcast, Stuff You Should Know introduces you to subjects and stories you have always wanted to learn more about. So yes, it'll make you feel just as smart as daily news podcasts. The hosts, Josh and Chuck, cover everything from key moments in history to how things like marathons and police line-ups work. This one will make you an absolute fact machine and you'll be the most sought-after pub quiz team member every time.