As a political scientist, I have a variety of experience in the world of politics. I have had experience in the following:
- been Treasurer of the Quinnipiac University Democrats for five semesters;
- participated in numerous political campaigns at local, state and federal levels;
- covered Connecticut politics for you;
- studied issues happening in several countries;
- interned at the Connecticut General Assembly for state Representative Russell Morin (D – Wethersfield);
- and interned at the U.S. House of Representatives for U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D, CT – 3rd District)
among other things. My experience – both as part of a team and on my own – gives me a better idea as to how following events, politics, policies and issues of any kind works. Each of my positions worked the same way. This article will give you a brief description of the entire process.
The first step is to know what you are following. If you are following international events, you should frequently visit websites and read newspapers where international events are reported. You never know when and where relevant news might come up.
That being said, even though the Hartford Courant, for example, has a Nation/World section, it is usually not the best source for any events, policies and issues of international nature. The Courant, regardless of how famous it is in Connecticut, remains nothing more than a Connecticut-based (state and local) newspaper that primarily covers everything related to Connecticut, so unless you follow something connected to that state, you should almost never think of getting information from there. The likelihood that you obtain important news on international affairs from the Hartford Courant is lower than that of a more international-centered news organization.
On the flip side, the Washington Post will not be a good source of information on what is happening in Connecticut. In fact, there will be days when the Washington Post will report nothing on Connecticut if news there are not as interesting to the public as elsewhere.
Nothing surprising here. The key in following events, politics, policies and issues of any kind is to compile a list of the websites or print media that you would have to follow in order to keep track of what is happening regarding your subject of interest.
The media are not just a means of getting information. They have managed to filter what is interesting to the public from what is not by publishing it. Not everything that goes through them gets published, and not everything that gets published is put in a noticeable place. Therefore, the media have a certain control over the agenda similar to what political leaders such as the head of the state and/or their cabinet have.
The list of websites is the websites that you will visit on a daily basis to look for news and compile that information in a database where it will be conveniently available for you. For a long time – as a high school student and as an undergraduate student – I had been doing a similar activity – following BBC News which I liked for its concise and full information it had been providing me with, and still is, except that now I am following more websites more often. Back then I would copy an entire article in a Microsoft Word file, I would then copy the link to the news underneath the article, and at the end I would save it in a proper folder (for example, USA). The final result is that the article will be conveniently located for me, instead of looking for it again through Google or other ways.
This substantially helped me in writing my papers as an undergraduate. Thus not only was I already competent on the history of a certain issue that I was writing about, it also made it easier for me to both cite sources (as in the media) and find sources of any significance (journals, secondary data, and so on).
This activity has its own word – systematization. Every sustainable organization, in its effort to be more competitive and more efficient, has its own systematization, and its employees would follow the process like it is the law of the land, so to speak.
Without competitiveness and efficiency, an organization will sooner or later collapse because of its inability to keep up with its competitors. Moreover, being inefficient means either wasting resources that you could be using for something valuable, or not spending enough resources to maximize profits. And that’s never good for an organization.