Political magazines are a good place to get background information, as they are intended for a wide audience and don't necessary assume that their readers have lots of background knowledge. Unlike peer-reviewed research journals, however, political magazines present topics more passionately and partisanly, often with an explicit conservative or liberal bias, so it is even more important to read them with a critical eye.
Popular press resources such as newspapers and magazines are expert but non-scholarly sources that report basic facts and offer opinions. One benefit of these sources is that they are printed shortly after an event, but they do not reach the level of analysis necessary for scholarly work. These resources will provide background information or context. They will also assist in identifying key themes, participants, and events.