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Prepare for that news quiz!

January 17, 2013

Students in my News Writing Across the Media course take a weekly news quiz. The best way to prepare is to read, watch and listen to the news every day. But there are  shortcuts. Here are some good ones:


  • Choose a cable channel and watch (or put the app on your phone). Check in regularly throughout the day. Options include CNN, MSNBC and Fox. With cable news, beware opinion masquerading as fact.
  • The network news shows still do a pretty good job of compressing the day’s news into 30 minutes or so. National news is on at 6:30 p.m. on ABC and NBC, and it’s on at 7 p.m. on CBS.
  • For fun with your news, you could do a lot worse than The Daily Show, airing Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central.


  • Listen to the news at the top of the hour on Vermont Public Radio (107.9 FM or During drive times–mornings between 6 and 9 or evenings between 4 and 6–you can hear extended discussions of the news, both local and national.
  • Download and listen to the podcast for “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” a weekly news quiz featuring journalists and comedians. You can listen to the show live on Saturday and download the podcast not long after.


  • The Burlington Free Press and Seven Days  cover the local scene. Both are available in the library for free, for pay on racks and for semi-free online. One of Seven Days’ best features is The Daily 7, which emails you seven of the most interesting stories of the day, from multiple news sources.
  • For UVM-related news, read the award-winning Vermont Cynic.


  • Most of the sources listed above have Twitter and Facebook accounts that you can follow for updates. If you’re not on Twitter, it’s easy to get started, and there are many apps, such as Hootsuite, that allow you to follow multiple Twitter and Facebook streams simultaneously.
  • For an update to national news with a New York focus, try the The New York Times News Quiz.
  • For a weekly update—with graphics!—try the Slate News Quiz.
  • Put your home page to or some other news site. On Google News, you can set up a daily email alert for any term you want, such as “UVM” or “University of Vermont.” Every day, you’ll receive a slew of stories from all over the web about those topics.

Of course, there are many more great news sites out there. If you come across one that you think would really help your classmates prepare for these quizzes, please let me know.

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