Michael Cristiano from FluentU News here, reporting that when trying to learn Italian, the selection is overwhelming.
Our sources have told us that you could try an Italian course and use the structure of it to guide you to Italian mastery. You could try in-home immersion and create a little bit of la dolce vita (the sweet life) in your own bedroom. You could also try your hand at some Italian magazines or other Italian reading materials.
But here’s the scoop:
You can also master Italian through the news.
Sources confirm that it’s an effective, engaging way to practice reading, listening and much more.
Get your news presenter voice ready!
Why Use the News to Learn Italian?
While it’s often believed that you need an elevated level of Italian to be able to listen to and watch Italian media, in fact, Italian news agencies are a fantastic way to learn Italian for any level.
Why? you ask. Well, by using a range of news outlets, you can target many different language skills:
- You can read print articles to boost your reading comprehension and pick up new vocabulary and grammar constructions.
- You can watch video and listen to audio clips to hear the Italian language the way natives speak it, perfecting your own accent in turn.
- You can participate in the discussion through comment sections on media websites and social media pages so you can practice your writing skills.
How to Incorporate the News into Your Learning
The best way to incorporate Italian news into your language learning regimen is to take notes on new vocabulary as well as new grammatical constructions or ones that need review. By taking notes, you can return to them later, review them and use them in your own Italian.
But on top of note taking, you can also use a three-step learning method when watching or reading a news report:
Step One: Observe
When learning Italian from the news, it’s okay to start slow! You should first completely read through the news article or listen to/watch the entire news segment. For this step, don’t worry about words you don’t know yet. Try to get the gist of what it’s about through the words you already know and context clues.
Step Two: Dissect
After reading through, listening to or watching the news segment completely, now you can break down each sentence, one by one. This is the step where you dissect the selection: you should look up all words and grammar constructions you don’t know and write them down. This could mean having a separate notebook for words you learn or printing off a copy of the article and annotating accordingly.
Step Three: Check and Expand Your Understanding
Now that you’ve dissected and understood everything that has been said in the news segment, it’s time to restart the report and follow along with your notebook, paying close attention to the words you had to look up in step two. This will not only help you experience the report again at a native pace but also ensure any unfamiliar words or concepts stick in your brain.
Bonus: Do Some Prep Work
If you try using one of the resources below and you find that you’re still having trouble understanding, you can work your way up to news by watching short, guided clips for Italian learners on FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons, as you can see here:
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles.
Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you’ve watched a video, you can use FluentU’s quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’ve learned to recommend videos and ask you questions based on what you already know.
Plus, it’ll tell you exactly when it’s time for review. Now that’s a 100% personalized experience!
The best part? You can try FluentU for free with a 15-day trial.
Start using Fluent on the website, or better yet, download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
Master Italian with the Media: The 6 Best News Outlets for Language Learners!
Now that we know how to use news to improve our Italian, let’s figure out where to access Italian news!
Aimed at beginner learners, this news resource is just what the name indicates: news in slow, easy-to-follow Italian.
News in Slow Italian is an awesome resource for those looking to break into the Italian news realm, because you can listen to recaps of major news stories in Italian that’s authentic, but not too difficult to understand if you’re not fluent.
The report will review all the major headlines of the day or week, which is perfect to help you get the gist of what the story is about, especially if you’re already familiar with the subject matter. This means that you will be able to quickly move on to step two of our Italian news learning routine and start picking up those helpful new words!
With free News in Slow Italian accounts, there are limits to how much of the report you can listen to, but with a subscription, you get access to the full reports. Best of all, each news report has a corresponding transcript for members (meaning step two is even easier to do!).
Rai, or radiotelevisione italiana (Radiotelevision Italy) is Italy’s public broadcasting company, and it’s perfect for learners from the pre-intermediate to advanced levels. However, since Rai is aimed at native Italian speakers, be aware that some stories are more advanced depending on the subject matter.
While Rai is primarily a TV and radio news agency, you can also find written articles on the website. The reports cover topics such as politics, science, lifestyle and world news, meaning they can range from being very basic in terms of Italian skills needed for comprehension to very specialized vocabulary needed.
I definitely recommend starting with their lifestyle, culture or travel reports; those should be easier for pre-intermediate learners to understand.
Primarily a TV station, La7 (The7) offers a wide range of news reports and TV shows. Since this news agency is aimed at native Italian speakers, I suggest that this resource be used by learners who are at the intermediate or advanced level.
With La7, you can watch full Italian news reports as they’re shown in Italy, as well as access print articles for Italy’s and the world’s biggest news stories. You can read and watch news reports about world news, politics, the environment, culture and sports.
Further, the live streaming feature allows you to watch programming on La7 as it’s happening. Doing so may make it a little hard to follow the three-step study regimen, but it’s a great way to encounter Italian “in the wild” and test your understanding of spontaneous Italian.
The newspaper la Repubblica (The Republic) is perhaps one of the best known Italian news outlets in Italy. It’s on par with newspapers like The New York Times in the U.S. or Le Monde (The World) in France. Just like its contemporaries, la Repubblica focuses on “big news” subjects: politics, economy and world issues.
Because of this, I recommend this newspaper for higher level intermediate and advanced learners. Some of the political and economic language can be pretty technical. Despite that, if growing your political and economic vocabulary is a focus of yours, la Repubblica is a perfect resource!
There are also articles on sports, celebrities and lifestyle that tend to be at a lower language level.
On the la Repubblica website, you can often find related video reports and written articles. This is perfect for helping upper intermediate learners refine their Italian because it allows them to read along with the video that they’re watching. While the written articles aren’t transcripts, per se, they offer a great way to cross-reference what you’re listening to or watching.
On the same level as la Repubblica, Corriere della Sera (Evening Courier) is a newspaper aimed at educated Italian natives. That means that this news agency is perfect for intermediate and advanced learners.
Corriere della Sera covers everything your daily Italian newspaper should: big news stories that include politics, the economy and issues with a particular focus on Italy and the European Union. It also covers Italian and European fashion as well as lifestyle.
In addition to the main, international edition of the newspaper, the news agency also has edizioni locali (local editions) that specialize in regional news. You can find one for cities all over Italy. Further, you can check out Corriere TV, which hosts the news agency’s video library. Some of the videos correspond to written reports, so use those reports to cross-reference what you’re watching.
This resource is best suited for the more business-minded Italian learner. Il Sole 24 Ore (The Sun, 24 hours) has a specific focus on economy and business in Italy and around the world.
Because of this, the newspaper is better suited for upper intermediate learners and those who want to learn Italian for business purposes. In fact, the lingo you learn here will be very useful for Italian business in real life!
While videos aren’t very common at this outlet, the articles are well written and rich with technical language to get you speaking and understanding advanced Italian like a pro. Also, a nice addition to the articles is the infographics! The infographics give a concise explanation of the subject matter and allow you to cross-reference what you’ve read in order to have optimal understanding.
So, what are you waiting for? Throw on your reporter hat and get the scoop!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.