6 Innovative Publications That Electrify the News (And Make You Smarter Too)

Here you are, chatting with some big-whig intellectual, professor, coworker or even just a relatively well-informed human being. He or she brings up a recent, pertinent news event. You saw a headline about that somewhere on the Internet and it looked interesting, but you had better things to do.

You’re not an idiot, you swear! In fact, just last semester you took Intro to Modern Politics. If only you had read The New York Times every day in its entirety like your professor suggested, you would know what the heck is going on in the world.

The New York Times is undeniably one of the most awe-inspiringly comprehensive news publications out there, and is conveniently delivered just inside the doorway of Boston College’s dormitories and libraries, but the extensive nature of its writing and the content it covers makes it a daunting read for people who peruse the news a bit more recreationally.

Luckily, news outlets come in hundreds if not thousands of flavors, and if you’re willing to give several a try, you're bound to discover at least one that satisfies your information appetite.

And to make the search just that much easier, below you’ll find a select buffet of cutting-edge news sources that make keeping up with the news significantly more engaging, and you might even say, fun.

The Week

Photo courtesy of The Week / Facebook

Photo courtesy of The Week / Facebook

This fundamental concept of this--you guessed it--weekly news magazine is that it condenses a week’s worth of news into one slim publication containing writings that range from tiny news bits to full-length features.

The most unique element of The Week is that each piece of news or topic of debate is approached from several different political viewpoints. The Week’s editors achieve this by citing the opinions of other publications with both conservative and liberal biases alongside their own reporting of the news story.

A print subscription is $59.50 for 50 issues (essentially, a year’s worth), although The Week can also be accessed online. Have no fear of the high price tag because you can cancel your subscription at any point and be fully refunded for the issues you haven’t yet received.


More so than almost any other publication, VICE has mastered the art of integrating video and written reporting on the web. The VICE News website offers “Short Form Docs,” and “Feature Docs,” as well as traditional written stories, all on scandalous topics that appeal to thrill seekers and newsy nerds alike.

Photo courtesy of VICE News / Facebook

Photo courtesy of VICE News / Facebook

Similar to the reporters on shows like CBS’s 60 Minutes and PBS’s Frontline, VICE News’ audacious reporters and camera crew take viewers behind the front lines of seemingly impassible, deadly situations and most recently, inside the prison escape tunnel of famed drug lord, El Chapo.

The TV series VICE is aired on HBO, but much of the news content can most easily be accessed at http://news.vice.com.

TIME Magazine

For most of us, TIME is the forgotten magazine of the newsstand: the headlines always look intriguing and important, but the siren call of US Weekly consistently pulls us in a less… serious direction.

Photo courtesy of TIME / Facebook

Photo courtesy of TIME / Facebook

But, now that you’re an older and wiser college student, never has there been a better time to finally splurge on an issue of TIME and discover your love for expansive news writing.

While TIME does make mention of singular news events, its strength lies primarily in its longer, intriguing feature pieces. Reading it may not catch you up on “all the news that’s fit to print,” but it will hugely further your understanding of a few essential issues.

A year print subscription (52 issues) costs just $30, making TIME both informative and gentle on your bank account.

World News subReddit

The power of the World News subReddit is its ability to compile articles and news bits from a huge breadth of sources--anything from The Guardian to The Local: Switzerland’s news in English.

Scrolling through the feed provides an insightful look into what has the world abuzz, and because it draws from international media, Reddit’s World News page is less America-centric than most of our news organizations naturally tend to be.

Many of the stories on Reddit are not simply reported about other places, but rather are told from the perspective of people actually immersed in the locations and cultures being written about.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Photo courtesy of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver / Facebook

Photo courtesy of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver / Facebook

It may not be as serious as other publications, but Last Week Tonight by no means strays from the factuality of the news.

John Oliver and his staff of writers and researchers expertly use statistics, newsreels, and published reports to illustrate the absurdity of well-chosen social and political issues.

Somehow, Oliver manages to turn seemingly snooze-inducing topics such as “Stadiums” and “Food Waste” into 20-minute segments of comedic gold that leave his audience laughing hysterically through their tears at what has come of the world.

Last Week Tonight can be most easily streamed via HBO Go or on its official Youtube channel.

The Atlantic

Photo courtesy of The Atlantic / Facebook

Photo courtesy of The Atlantic / Facebook

Writers for The Atlantic have the distinct pleasure of analyzing events through alternative, exploratory angles after-the-fact, and they do so with almost poetic writing and exceptional skill.

The magazine’s Education section is especially unique in its in-depth coverage of topics such as college tuition, college scholarships for inmates and “The Coddling of the American Mind.”

The Atlantic is primarily published as a print magazine (a 10-issue subscription costs $24.50), but all the articles in its print issue are shortly afterwards available online, beautifully formatted on the recently revamped website.