Staying in the loop – innovative ways to keep up with the world

It took a global pandemic to solidify my love for podcasts, but truly, I am now hooked. After watching BBC News notifications greet me every morning with more distressing news, I have finally grown too tired and too anxious of waiting for those horizontal squares of information.

I am ready to embark on a journey of disassociation from the world… Unfortunately this is a statement that falls a little flat as I am far too nosey and curious for such a phrase. However, I have since turned to podcasts, with some of my favourite journalists and authors, to change my attitude towards receiving news on current affairs, in hopes of carefully engaging with topics instead of rolling over in the morning and pretending they do not exist.

My favourite podcasts earned their title during a particularly rough patch in lockdown. They have since become my main source of information whilst providing adding lightness and humour to my day.

My absolute favourite podcast, which I have recommended to all of my friends and family is The High Low with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes. It is so popular and widely-known but I would be ignoring a large portion of my personality if I didn’t mention them!

They discuss current affairs and popular culture of the last week in a way that is funny, refreshing and incredibly engaging. Recent episodes have discussed a range of topics, from worldly issues, such as the impact of the pandemic on society, body politics and choice feminism, to more trivial topics including discussions on Emily in Paris and an exploration of words dying out with millenials (apparently 17% of under 30s aren’t familiar with the word disco…).

The episodes will take you on a journey that invites new thought and opinion, as well as make you laugh. They also suggest new recommendations for books, TV, films and articles which provide a different way of engaging with current affairs that aren’t mainstream news websites.

Another favourite I found during lockdown is the Financial Times Culture podcast with Lilah Raptopoulos and Griselda Murray Brown called The Culture Call. This is a trans-atlantic podcast which immediately gives the show such a dynamic edge, with Raptopoulos based in New York and Murray Brown based in London.

This international separation invites such interesting discussion and debate, with each of the co-hosts taking inspiration from their different sides of the world. They invite different guests onto the
show to discuss the impact of current events, media and culture.

In one of my favourite episodes, they are joined by The New Yorker Cartoonist, Liana Finck, who spoke about revelling in her inherent introverted personality during the pandemic and the comfort she found in this. The episodes are insightful, comforting, and invite a type of international discussion that is centered around current cultural news – a different take on staying up-to-date with the world.

Receiving, reading and digesting information from my phone has become so tedious, especially spending the majority of time online with classes and tutorials; I have found my screen time clocking up to terrifying new heights.

There is a certain bliss that arrives from being able to plug in my headphones and listen to a podcast, being able to stay in touch with the world but at the same time keeping a comfortable distance away from news outlets and social media threads. Podcasts really are the new form of self-care.

Image Credit: ProSymbolsUS via