Know what you’re talking about

Read, listen and watch as much as you can about the issues that matter to you.

  • Don’t rely on just one or two sources
  • Don’t rely on any source without question!
  • Even if you passionately believe in something, find out why others might passionately believe in the opposite. Not only will this make you better-informed, it will help you to persuade people who disagree with you – vital if you are going to get anywhere. See our page on campaigning.

Possible sources of information include:

Newspapers (Online or actual physical newspapers)

Newspapers generally have a political bias; normally this is fairly obvious.

Your natural sympathies may be with one particular paper, but take the time to read others (many are free to read online, or in libraries).

Read online comments and work out whether and why you agree or disagree.

Television and radio

Broadcasting rules mean TV and radio news coverage is supposed to be impartial, but it is often quite limited and predictable – especially TV news.

If you don’t particularly enjoy watching politicians shouting at each other, try listening to more in-depth programmes on the radio. The World at One on Radio 4 normally gives calm and balanced news coverage. It is available via the website if you’re out at school or college when it’s on.

Political websites and blogs

As you well know, the internet offers both excellent information and complete rubbish.

Many political websites are rubbish, but try or the BBC politics section; both are impartial, up-to-date and try to inform, rather than just stirring up or confirming prejudices. Buzzfeed’s political coverage is sharp, accurate and interesting.

The libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords both produce impartial, factual briefing on current issues. You can find them here.

Social media

Your friends on Facebook or the people you follow on Twitter may link to political news stories and sites.

This can be very helpful in increasing your awareness, but don’t take everything you read as necessarily right – even from friends or celebrities you like.

People are generally linked on social media with people they like/admire/agree with; so get a very limited view of world news this way. This is becoming a worrying issue.

Whatever you do, make sure you don’t only get your news or views from social media, and, always, always remain questioning!

You might also be interested in our other pages on Changing the World:

Change the world