In the era of Trump and Brexit, it can be pretty tough to keep up what’s going on with the world. Turn your back for five minutes and someone is bound to have done something daft – and the news moves so quickly that it can be hard work when you come to a story late.
Amid it all, where do you turn to try to make sense of this mess? Somewhat foolishly, I turn to Twitter. Yes, I know, that’s where some very strange people hang out but amid the unfunny parodies, trolls, mansplainers, illiterate knuckle dragging racists and inane celebrities there are some shining lights, honestly.
The following is a list of people I respect and find enlightening in these strange times. I’m not saying I agree with everything they all say – but they’re all people who inform, explain and entertain – and the people I turn to if I’m running behind on a big story.
Ian Dunt (@iandunt)
The author of the incredibly good ‘Brexit: What The Hell Happens Now?’, Ian Dunt is also the editor of Politics.co.uk and a goldmine of information when it comes to our ongoing attempt to exit from the European Union. Forensic, forthright and funny, he’s also one of the hosts of the excellent Remainiacs podcast.
Michael Deacon (@michaelpdeacon)
I have an awful lot of respect for parliamentary sketchwriters. I’ve always admired the skill that goes into writing a witty account of the often-mundane business of the Commons having a fan of the late Simon Hoggart. Michael Deacon of the Telegraph is perhaps the best of the current bunch, regularly producing cutting satire that shows how it’s possible to find entertainment amid our mess of a political system. From ascerbic tweets to fantastically crafted columns, he’s a constant source of great content. John Crace at the Guardian has also managed to fill the sizeable shoes of Simon Hoggart with aplomb and, like Michael Deacon, writes the sort of copy I wish I was good enough to produce.
Stephen Bush (@stephenkbush)
Stephen Bush’s never-ending stream of smart insight – particularly, although not exclusively, on the left of British politics – makes him an ‘essential follow’. His fantastic morning email offers a great roundup of the day’s political headlines while his weekly podcast, with the also-excellent Helen Lewis, is an entertaining listen.
Matt Chorley (@Matt Chorley)
Speaking of journalists who offer a great morning email and a weekly podcast, Matt Chorley of The Times also stands out from the crowd. His puns make me chuckle and his coverage is entertaining, insightful and fair – three rare qualities that should be cherished and celebrated.
Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith)
The Mirror’s Mikey Smith disproves the myths that tabloid papers don’t ‘do politics’ properly. His tweets make me laugh and his coverage offers a top quality Red Top take on the news of the day.
Tim Shipman (@shippersunbound)
I’m keen to get hold of Tim Shipman’s All Out War, which appears to be the definitive account of the ins and outs of the EU Referendum campaign. His coverage for The Sunday Times is packed with superb exclusives (I subscribe to the app and devour them from there), making him the go-to journalist to understand the mood of the Conservative Party and its attitude towards its tarnished leader.
Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak)
I’ve recently decided that ‘people who actively dislike Laura Kuenssberg’ and ‘people I don’t like’ are, essentially, the same group. The fact that she upsets the blinkered minority at both ends of the political spectrum (and some sexist dinosaurs) is probably enough on its own to show you that she’s doing a great job. I’d love to know where she gets her energy from and am continually impressed by her consistently superb coverage for the BBC.
Guido Fawkes (@guidofawkes)
Like to know the latest political gossip while it’s fresh? The Guido Fawkes site is the place to be. These days it’s the work of a well-connected team and their collective output will keep your timeline full of tasty morsels.
Laura McInerney (@miss_mcinerney)
Laura McInerney is editor of Schools Week and has provided a number of cracking education scoops that have raised the bar when it comes to the coverage of this sector. Her work is a shining example of how to hold a Government to account and the column she wrote about journalism in the aftermath of Grenfell was a fantastic read.
These aren’t the only people who I respect and enjoy following on Twitter, but these are all journalists that offer something a little bit different and deliver a level of quality that sets them far apart from some of the utter nonsense peddled by parts of the national press.
If good journalism really is the first draft of history, then a selection of coverage from those listed above should provide you with a pretty decent account to make some sort of sense of the mess we seem to be in. I’d certainly be lost without them.