I used the two other settings (Smart Speed, Voice Boost) to keep the pace of the episodes peppy. Of course, when I get in the car and an episode picks up over the interior speakers, have an Australian host speak at a quick speed can startle some folks.
In addition to podcasts, I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters. Recently, the emails started to drag me down - I knew they were important but I realized there were more urgent items that were being pushed down the inbox.
As a big fan of Instapaper, I decided to forward any important/non-urgent emails to my Instapaper account to read later. I've only had this in place for a week and it's been super helpful. There are a few hiccups (I can't always get to specific email links) but nothing that outweighs the benefits. I've also started using the Apple News app a lot more. It's helpful to get a quick rundown of top news stories.
The last place where I get news from is YouTube. I recently started a channel (click here!) and am finding a ton of great educational and insightful videos.
You'll notice none of these sources are live - Ie, how do I follow happens where there's breaking news? I still turn to Twitter. I don't use it as often as I once did, but it's still a great source for live/near-live news.
I've been trying to do a better job about reading more into recent/relevant/important topics to get a more full understanding of the related issues (on both sides). The above has been incredibly helpful in keeping me updated on news.