How to keep up with the coronavirus news

The COVID-19 outbreak might be the story of the century, and there’s no shortage of news about it.

For you, that can be a good or bad thing. If the never-ending torrent of info about the coronavirus is bumming you out, this post isn’t for you. Power down the computer or smartphone, cut off the virus-news firehose, and go do something that relaxes you.

But if your appetite for COVID-19 news is insatiable, you’ve come to the right place.

I can’t get enough of the stuff. Every waking moment, I have an overwhelming need to know the latest developments.

I get my coronavirus news in a number of ways:

Newspapers

The newspaper industry has had financial troubles for some time. However your local or national paper is still one of the best ways to educate yourself about the virus, and to stay abreast of the news.

Nationally, the New York Times and the Washington Post are my go-to sources. In the Twin Cities, I am continually checking the Pioneer Press (duh, since I work there) and the Star Tribune.

These newspapers are providing free access to much of their coronavirus content but otherwise have paywalls. It is always a good idea to support quality journalism — now more than ever.

News apps

A news app on your smartphone or tablet will give you instant access to hundreds of information sources that are all continually updating their coronavirus coverage.

The Apple News app is currently my go-to. That is largely because it has set up a dedicated page with carefully curated COVID-19 info that enlightens but doesn’t overwhelm.

If you want more coronavirus news, follow the app’s corresponding “channel” and brace for the info-flood.

The app is available on iPhone, iPad and Macintosh — sorry, Android and Windows users.

Other news apps for mobile devices (Apple and Android) include Google News, Microsoft News and Flipboard. If you’re on a Windows PC or a Mac, Google News and Flipboard are available in desktop-web form. Microsoft News has a Windows 10 app but no Mac app or desktop-web access, but the MSN.com site offers much of the same content.

Each of these services let you configure an area (called a “saved search” on Google News, an “interest” on Microsoft News and a “magazine” on Flipboard) to get all of your coronavirus content in one place.

If you want to keep up with content from a favorite news outlet, Apple News, Google News and Flipboard all make this easy.

News-aggregation sites

A number of websites aggregate news headlines related to particular subject areas. Such frequently updated sites are great for keeping up with the latest developments in information categories you might be passionate about.

My go-tos are Memeorandum (political news), Techmeme (tech news), Mediagazer (media-industry news) and WeSmirch (celebrity news and gossip). These work nicely on mobile devices as well as in desktop-web browsers.

The coronavirus outbreak is such a big story that all of these sites are crammed with news about it. So, if you want your COVID-19 news conveniently filtered through the lenses of certain subject areas, pick the aggregation sites that are right for you and check them obsessively.

Podcasts

Doing chores while cooped up in the house presents a good opportunity to take in a podcast or two. I’ve been working my way through recent episodes of the New York Times’ The Daily, which are all coronavirus-related.

If you haven’t listened to podcasts, download an app for that purpose. Google and Apple have their own apps (and Apple has a version of its app for Mac as well as for iPhone and iPad). Pocket Casts is superb, free, and available for Apple and Android devices. Overcast for iPhone and iPad is my preferred podcast app.

Within the app, you can search for podcasts. Enter the word “coronavirus” and you’ll get a lot of options. Stick with reputable ones. These include CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, BBC World Service’s Coronavirus Global Update, and The Coronavirus Podcast from BBC News.

In addition to The Daily, Vox’s Today Explained and the Washington Post’s Post Reports are good general-news podcasts that will be largely coronavirus-related in the days to come.

‘Rely on quality informational resources’

Adam Engst, one of my editors at TidBITS, has just posted an article with “thoughts and recommendations surrounding COVID-19.”

Among other things, he cautions readers to be careful about where they get their COVID-19 information.

He suggests bookmarking the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I would add the National Institutes of Health.

In Minnesota, you’ll also want to bookmark the Minnesota Department of Health’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page.

Adam points to other sites with oft-updated info, including Johns Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases, Our World in Data Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Research and Statistics, and The Internet Book of Critical Care: COVID-19.

I’d add the comprehensive Ars Technica’s guide to the coronavirus, which updates at 3 p.m. every day.

Adam also offers detailed advice on evaluating anything virus-related you read that is not directly from a health organization. Check it out.

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