This episode's vocabulary
- Abreast (adj.) - used to say that two or more people are next to each other and moving in the same direction.
- Current (adj.) - of the present time.
- State-run (adj.) - controlled by the government.
- Unbiased (adj.) - able to judge fairly because you are not influenced by your own opinions.
- Essence (noun) - the basic or most important idea or quality of something.
- Columnist (noun) - someone who writes a regular article for a newspaper or magazine.
- Medium (noun) - a method of communication or entertainment, for example television, radio, or the internet.
Questions and Answers
M: So Rory, tell me, do you often read the news online?
R: Well, I certainly try to stay abreast of current events, and it doesn't get more current than the internet. I think I check it every day apart from Sundays, which is kind of my day off from the news.
M: Is it convenient to read online news?
R: Well, I'd certainly say so, wouldn't you? It's easier to stay up to date with current events and it's cheaper than buying a newspaper. It's probably more environmentally friendly too.
M: Where do you usually read the news from?
R: There's a state-run news service, which has a site for stories from my country in our region of the world in particular, it's usually fairly unbiased, though that's changed in recent times. I also like looking at the recent event page on Wikipedia. That tends to be fairly neutral and sort of captures the essence of big events.
M: What was the last article that you read about?
R: I think it was something about the education system in Scotland and how people were questioning its effectiveness. It wasn't very long or insightful, though. So I didn't give it much thought. That's why I'm a bit low on the details now.
M: Do you still read newspapers?
R: Only one of them for one particular columnist that I really like. He and I see eye to eye on many things, and I quite like his writing style as well. Apart from that, I find newspapers to be a bit of a waste of paper and ink and time really. It's, well, they're a dying medium. And given the way many journalists have behaved in the past, at least in my country, I kind of look forward to seeing the end of them. There are better ways to get up to and, well, stay up to speed on things.
M: And do you think you'll be reading more news online in the future?
R: Definitely. I think once this column just stops writing, I'll pretty much switch over entirely to reading things on the internet.
M: What kind of news is popular in your country?
R: Well, I'm not an expert. But if I had to guess I would say sporting news because everybody has a favorite sports team. And lots of people are into football or rugby.
M: Thank you very for your answers!
R: No probs. I hope none of them were news to you!
M: Yeah, so IELTS people love these topics about news. So they can ask you topics in general about news, or news online, reading news online. So just like online news, and also newspapers versus online news. So yeah, all this jazz. And Rory has used our favorite expression. I try to stay abreast of current events.
R: Like stay abreast of current events - stay up to date with things that are happening in the world. If you imagine like abreast is like to your site, then the news is next to you. So you have the most recent news. That is my explanation. Deal with it.
M: What else can I use it with? Like to stay abreast of news? To stay abreast of, I don't know, my friends?
R: No, to stay abreast of current events to stay abreast of, to stay abreast of what's happening? What's going down? What's on?
M: Yeah. Yeah. I tried to stay abreast of what's on in my town or in my country. Yeah. And then we get the news from the internet. So the internet and on the internet. I read the news online or on the internet. Okay? And then we use this current events or current news. Current. Can I say actual news?
R: No, even though I think the word actual in Russian does mean current or something happening now. And probably in some other languages too.
M: So should I say current events or current news or what? Urgent news? Hot news?
R: The news.
M: The News. Yeah. Also you can say like, it's easier to stay up to date with the news. When you read it online. Yeah, it. The news is it okay? News is on the internet. So I read it online. Careful. What did you mean by the state-run news? The state-run news?
R: Oh, I think just about every country has this. So the state-run news company or news service. It just means that it it's owned by the state. So in the United Kingdom, that's the BBC. And in Russia, I think Russia today is owned at least in part by the state.
M: Yeah. And also you can say, I read news about my region. So your region or my city, my place and then we can also comment on unbiased. So the news being biased or unbiased.
R: Unbiased means neutral, and biased means not neutral. It favors a certain point of view.
M: Yeah. So usually, if you read the news by the state, it can be biased. From independent sources, it's unbiased. But again, it's up to you what to believe. So, yeah. Also, you can say like, I also like looking at the recent invents, page on and then you can mention the website. On Wikipedia? Really? So Wikipedia does some news pages?
R: Well, it's not intended as a news page. It's sort of an aggregate of different news pages. But it's just like, here's the stuff that's happening, or like, here's the big event, and then different details about it. Oh, wow, that's interesting. But sometimes, it's funny because of course, like, Wikipedia, is open to being edited by anybody. So sometimes you get like, people just write really crazy things there. It doesn't happen very often. But when it does happen, it's quite funny.
M: Okay, cool. And do you use any apps to read the news? Or it's like Wikipedia? So you just like...
R: No, I don't. Lot's of people have like apps on their phone that inform them what's happening.
M: And do you read the BBC, Rory?
R: Sometimes, I guess. But we're like, I mean, there are 3 million different kinds of BBC News. Because there's one for Scotland. There's one for Wales. There's one for the United Kingdom. I imagine there's probably one for Irish.
M: Yeah, do you watch the Scottish BBC?
M: Okay. You do, okay. And you can say that this news tends to be fairly neutral. It captures the essence of big events. Of the essence, like the most important parts of big events. And make sure you remember the last piece of news that you heard or read somewhere. What was it about?
R: You could be me, and you could be low on details, or short on details. Because you didn't really read what you were reading, you didn't really remember it because it was the most boring thing you've ever read in your entire life.
M: Scottish education system. Mm-hmm. And then you can say, well, I didn't give it much thought. So I didn't think much about it. I didn't give it much thought.
R: Is that an idiomatic expression?
M: Yes. That's why I'm a bit low on the details. Yeah. To be low on the details.
R: Or short on the details, because you just can't give too much detail because it was boring.
M: I'm a bit short on the details. Yeah. You might have your favorite columnist. Like Sex in the City. So what's your face?
R: Carrie Bradshaw.
M: There we go.
R: Yeah, but Carrie Bradshaw. wrote for a mag... Oh, wait, no, she did write for a newspaper in the TV show, didn't she?
M: Yeah, columnist.
R: I don't remember which newspaper but she wrote for one.
M: Yeah. So you might have your favorite columnist in the newspaper. And or you might not, again, newspaper could be online. So okay, I read this online magazine. But also if you read an online magazine, you can say okay, I don't like newspapers, but I read magazines online. And Rory said that this columnist he likes and he, Rory, see eye to eye on many things.
R: But that's just way of saying we share ideas or share viewpoints.
M: For example, Rory, and I see eye to eye on many IELTS things. We don't see eye to eye on the Batman question.
R: No. We do not discuss the Batman question. We do not discuss the status of Batman the detective.
M: Yeah, because we get into a heated argument. And yeah...
R: No. Maria is wrong on the internet, and we cannot permit people to be wrong on the internet.
M: Rory, are you sure you want to get into this now? Yeah. Then I find newspapers to be a waste of paper and ink. So they use ink. This special thing, thing...
R: Thing. This special liquid.
M: Liquid, yeah, liquid. There you go. Yeah. So it's a waste of paper. That's why I read everything online. And then Rory said that newspapers are a dying medium. So what's medium?
R: Medium is just something that you can pay information on. So in this case, it's paper-based.
M: Yeah. So a dying medium. Why not media? So newspapers is a media.
R: You could. I suppose the difference between, I think medium is like the physical thing that you use. And media is just the word to describe how information is shared. Usually news.
M: Yeah, so newspapers are a dying medium.
R: But you could say it's a dying form of media and that would be the same.
M: Yeah. So, dear listener, usually we say mass media is. Okay? For example, the media is not against this environmental campaign. Right? So the media is... Actually, you can say "are". The media are not against.
R: Oh, God.
M: Yeah. Yeah. So it's is or are, people. Okay? It's like the government. Yeah? The government agrees or the government agree. The government agrees is like one body.
R: Yeah. So it depends on how you feel about the government. Oh, it's almost like it matters what we think.
M: Okay. Doesn't make any sense.
R: Yes, we're talking about the perspective.
M: So mass media is or are. Okay? Yep.
R: You decide. But if you're not sure, you can just put is. Just relax about it. When in doubt, put is.
R: No, don't relax, make a decision about how you see the world. However, hopefully, some of that vocabulary was news to you. And it wasn't old and boring. And if you want to stay abreast of things that are happening with us, you can subscribe to us or follow us on Instagram and Telegram.
M: Yes. And also, feel free to listen to our other episodes about news. Just go to your podcast app, scroll back and forth and find our episodes about news. Thank you very much! Love and kisses and hugs! Bye!
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