Studying Current Events

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bctlfralp123
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Studying Current Events

Post by bctlfralp123 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:51 am

Hey y’all, I want to improve on Current Events but studying it is like reading somebody’s inside jokes and not understanding the backstory. Any way to fix that, and just get a better grip on what’s going on?
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by TheScientists » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:59 am

bctlfralp123 wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:51 am
Hey y’all, I want to improve on Current Events but studying it is like reading somebody’s inside jokes and not understanding the backstory. Any way to fix that, and just get a better grip on what’s going on?
I personally recommend Wikipedia as the best way to know CE if you want an expansive look. LastWeekTonight (by John Oliver) and Patriot Act (by Hasan Minhaj) are some very informative shows for CE content. Both shows have a lot of clips on YouTube that are free to watch.
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by CPiGuy » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:13 am

literally read the news every day, follow some journalists on Twitter or whatever, it'll get you points

I'm not being dismissive, this is legit the simplest way to do it imo.

if there's something in the news you don't understand, Google it, too. That might help with the not understanding the backstory.
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by no ice » Sat Nov 30, 2019 8:53 am

A great way to passively absorb current events and build up your foundation to better understand their contexts is to listen to podcasts! Code Switch, Up First, and Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! from NPR are good places to start. You can listen to them in bed, during commutes, at the gym, at breakfast, etc. They're fun and digestible and require very little exertion on your part. I wouldn't even bother looking up any terms you don't understand (unless it's especially interesting), since it will almost certainly be mentioned again and the context will make it clear. You can also incorporate them into your wakeup routine if you use Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri by setting them to automatically play the news after your alarm sounds.

Once you're feeling more confident about your ability to critically evaluate current events, some of my recommendations for more in-depth analysis of the news include Intercepted and Deconstructed from The Intercept, A Different Lens from the Hampton Institute, and Economic Update with Richard D. Wolff.

I know you're learning current events with the goal of getting better at quizbowl, but another incentive could be a much improved understanding of the world around you as you start to connect the dots. It's a fun and enriching experience that goes well beyond quizbowl. Good luck with your studying!
Last edited by no ice on Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by CPiGuy » Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:04 am

no ice wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 8:53 am
I know you're learning current events with the goal of getting better at quizbowl, but another incentive could be a much improved understanding of the world around you as you start to connect the dots. Good luck with your studying!
IMO, current events is one of the quizbowl categories where having extensive real knowledge will translate to extensive quizbowl points with near 100% certainty. (Pure math is another.)
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by ganman0305 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:51 pm

Hey Cade,

Like with any other category, the best way to lock down your subject is via immersion. This sounds daunting, but realistically in the case of Current Events, it just means keeping up to date on the news.

How is this accomplished then? For quiz bowl (and in general; being up to date is very important), I would recommend subscribing to a few daily email newsletters. I personally like Politico's daily email which gives a brief update of all the events in the U.S. For global events, the BBC does a very good morning email, and I personally like Al Jazeera if you're really looking for a worldwide perspective.

On top of this, podcasts are incredibly helpful. The New York Times' The Daily goes in depth on one subject each episode, so it helps for getting early buzzes. A podcast like NPR's is good for knowing a lot of events too.

With this being said, I do not like Current Events questions which daddle on information which is not important in a broader sense. For instance, I do not like questions about "which person said this thing during the Mueller report" or "what did Trump say in this tweet." Don't get discouraged by these when studying; I think current events as a whole is moving towards more contextually valuable content (Penn Bowl and HFT this were two good examples I've seen already, but there's other sets out there too).
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by A Very Long Math Tossup » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:43 pm

Not sure how true this still is, but when I was in high school, regularly reading The Economist would get you a ton of early buzzes on CE.
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by Progcon » Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:07 pm

ganman0305 wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:51 pm
Hey Cade,

Like with any other category, the best way to lock down your subject is via immersion. This sounds daunting, but realistically in the case of Current Events, it just means keeping up to date on the news.

How is this accomplished then? For quiz bowl (and in general; being up to date is very important), I would recommend subscribing to a few daily email newsletters. I personally like Politico's daily email which gives a brief update of all the events in the U.S. For global events, the BBC does a very good morning email, and I personally like Al Jazeera if you're really looking for a worldwide perspective.

On top of this, podcasts are incredibly helpful. The New York Times' The Daily goes in depth on one subject each episode, so it helps for getting early buzzes. A podcast like NPR's is good for knowing a lot of events too.

With this being said, I do not like Current Events questions which daddle on information which is not important in a broader sense. For instance, I do not like questions about "which person said this thing during the Mueller report" or "what did Trump say in this tweet." Don't get discouraged by these when studying; I think current events as a whole is moving towards more contextually valuable content (Penn Bowl and HFT this were two good examples I've seen already, but there's other sets out there too).
Unfortunately, the modal location of a current events question in quizbowl is an NAQT IS set. These regularly feature incessant and crappy questions on TrumpBowl and political scandal minutiae. If you want to get good at that nonsense, have fun memorizing lists of senators, governors and important house reps. Especially pay attention to which senators and political figures are in the news for bribery, saying stupid stuff or appear a lot on CNN or Fox News or MSNBC. Modern World questions tend to reward a whole different type of knowledge but this approach to writing is certainly not ubiquitous among CE writers.

Like empirically, current events is a highly diverse category. The way I would write a collegiate Modern World or CE question differs from how Conor Thompson would do so which differs from how NAQT does it. We all get our news from different sources and with different per-conceived biases or filters for what we think is important. When I was in high school, my teammate got multiple good buzzes from memorizing senators and governors and while I hope the way NAQT current events for high school is moving away from this super US-centric, scandal-focused way of writing, I fear that type of knowledge is still heavily rewarded in high school. In college, doing what the above people say is highly helpful but current events rarely come up. It appears on the same order of magnitude as like computer science.
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Re: Studying Current Events

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:53 pm

Without a doubt, the single best way to get points in "Current Events" is to do some deep dives into political histories of most countries. This is something that Wikipedia can do yes, but you are going to have to ask yourself if that's the way you learn things. I am a partisan of working class struggle, and find stories about this struggle quite compelling. This meant that growing up, I studied working class political movements across the world. The Library was helpful, so was Democracy Now, Vijay Prashad's works, documentaries (many countries have national film boards with many documentaries available for free online), talking to people at the weird commie summer camp my family went to, etc. I also would develop a habit of cross checking information across several sources (since I grew up reading the Washington Post, which takes a fairly derogatory view towards working class movements worldwide). This meant stories stuck in my mind, so fast forward a few years, I can 30 bonuses on Albertan history, because I found it fascinating that so many poor farmers found a gobbedly gook anti-semetic monetary theory called Social Credit so fascinating. Anyways, find the stories that you find compelling, and seek them out world wide. You will get points.

It also helps to know the names of major political parties in most countries!
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