Political blogs that are painless

I’ve always gravitated toward political blogs that are explanatory and make what’s going on in the political world accessible and easy to understand. That world is important to me, but I’ll admit it can be a bit daunting to follow sometimes.

Here are three blogs that can give anyone a glimpse into politics and policy, both foreign and domestic:

  1. The Political Notebook
    For a blog that discusses foreign affairs, I look to The Political Notebook, a Tumblr blog by Torie DeGhett, a journalist and freelance magazine writer. She blogs about politics, foreign affairs, national security and war. One of the strengths of the blog is its consistency in a weekly post called “This Week in War,” which is a round-up of happenings of war, military and security affairs. It exposes readers to a mix of news on conflicts from different parts of the world, with links to news sources. While the posts are long compilations, the summaries are concise, giving insight into the conflicts without having to weed through dozens of articles oneself.  Since the blog is hosted on Tumblr, an online community is built through reblogging, likes and comments. DeGhett builds upon that by recommending blogs that relate to her own.
  2. Wonkblog
    Wonkblog features a number of different journalists at The Washington Post who all have a niche in some area of domestic politics whether it’s the economy, energy, healthcare or transportation. It’s biggest strength is that these posts are written by reporters, people who know how to gather facts and back up what they write with attributions and links to original sources. It adds to the sense that these posts are coming from authoritative writers. I originally started following it because a friend had a crush on Ezra Klein, a self-described lover of charts, who left The Washington Post last year to start Vox.com, but those charts still have a home in some Wonkblog posts. In terms of building a community, having different people contribute to the blog brings the followers of those individuals, like Klein, to the blog where they can comment and share posts through Twitter and Facebook.
  3.  The Upshot
    At first I thought of the The Upshot as The New York Times’ response to Wonkblog, but it’s grown into it’s own blogging niche with data-driven and interactive posts, which are where its strength lies. A look at some of The Upshot’s most popular posts show clickable maps, fancy-looking timelines and colorful predictor models. I see these posts as not only eye-pleasing, but super explanatory on complex issues in politics that I might need some help grasping. Posts that can be shared with attached graphs are important to its community building because they break up all-text posts on social media feeds and the eye is drawn to them. I consider myself a visual learner, so if I ever share a post from this blog, it has some sort of image because my eyes stop on the accompanied image. I learn about politics because I want to know how policy relates to me and The Upshot often connects how politics and particular policies influence everyday life.

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