The latest request I came across, in general, is: How to prepare Current Affairs?
Specific questions go like:
=Which newspaper to read?
=How to read the newspaper?
=What news are important?
I guess you can read any newspaper of your choice but for Civil Services and other competitive examinations ‘The Hindu’ has proved most useful. I also prefer suggesting ‘Indian Express’. You can go through both of them or any one of them, depending on your interest.
If you use internet regularly, I will advise to visit PIB’s website daily.
Be careful because newspaper contains useful and not so useful (from Civil Services perspective) news and matters. You have to be selective and choosy. Some topics are for deep reading, some for an eagle’s view, some can be finished with title only while some can safely be avoided.
Newspaper gives you a larger perspective with relevant and background information of the topic, therefore it can excite or provoke another reading also. Do reference reading when you feel having necessity and time.
Making notes from newspaper is essential? I feel NO. But you can point out brief details if you are habitual or making notes.
Magazines for Civil Services: I would suggest to concentrate on newspaper only because once you are already giving one or one and a half hour daily for current affairs, there should be no need to go through any magazine. If you wish go through some Newsmagazines like Outlook, Frontline or India Today, selecting some articles. I do not suggest any magazine published for Civil Services because they mostly carry news from the same sources as I have already suggested. But I am not strongly denying their utility as a compiled source of current affairs for Civil Services and other competitive exams.
What news are important?
Obviously you are not supposed to read whole newspaper of 20 pages. Start with front page, go through all headlines only. Turn pages and read only headlines of all news items. Once you complete reading titles or headlines, start reading details with specific question in your mind. Try to analyse, you will understand that the news which have been covered in more detail would make their space on Editorial page also. It means they are more important. The same news will be followed with updates in next two three days newspapers also. Don’t just read news, follow them. Following the happening around you, in world, country and states will develop your interest and understanding. You will be able to make your opinion and will find yourself well informed.
Study of newspaper will help not only in Prelim but in Main – GS, Essay, Optionals – and interview also.