The Internet is arguably the best news morgue on the planet right now. And apart from that great collection of old articles, thousands of new ones are added every day. There are so many articles on the Web now that the need of the hour is finding the good ones.
Thankfully, that job is made easier by several resources that are able to intelligently gather those posts that are worth your time, whether it’s using smart digital algorithms or smart human brains.
The Old Favourites
There are a bunch of websites which have been curating the best articles on the Web for some time now. They’re still doing a great job and should be on your list, but since we have written about them before, we won’t go into much detail about them. Here’s a brief summary:
- Longform: One of two sites dedicated purely to in-depth articles that span over 2,000 words and are free to read. All hand-picked by the staff.
- Longreads: Articles over 1,500 words only, each accompanied with a word count and how long it is likely to take you to read it. You can also follow the Twitter hashtag #longreads to find user submissions.
- The Browser: A personal favourite, The Browser has expanded its scope to include videos and other data, but its collection of articles remains strongest. Plus, each article is accompanied with a short precis written by one of the staff so you know what you are getting into.
The power of user-submission on the Internet is best exhibited through social network Reddit. And to find great reads, you don’t need to look any further than the r/indepthstories sub-Reddit. All of the articles submitted in this section are pieces where the authors have gone into great detail and usually done the due diligence necessary — no fluff pieces here. Because of the truly global nature of Reddit, this is among the few sources on the web where you find articles from all across the world, which makes it a much more diverse collection than hand-curated picks.
Formerly known as “Give Me Something To Read”, The Feature is a hand-curated list of top reads from Richard Dunlop-Walters, the editor of Instapaper, arguably the best read-it-later app for iPad. It’s a simple list with just a headline and a quoted section of the article, clicking which takes you to the piece. It’s been around for a few years now, so the archives have some wonderful articles which you should go through if you haven’t read them already. One of the perks of following this one is that Dunlop-Walters only adds 2-4 articles a day, so your reading list doesn’t get bloated if you follow this site!
Lots of people use the Readability app to strip web pages of unnecessary elements and just read the main article or save it for later. Readability has used this data to make a “Top Reads” section which shows you which links people are using the app on — chances are, when so many people use it on the same link, it’s a link worth reading! You can only sort the list by the last hour, day or week, so this isn’t a site where you go trawling through the archives. But with the “last hour” feature, it’s a great way to keep on top of what people are reading right now.
Pocket is the ultimate digital bookmarking service with millions of users, so just like Readability, they leverage what their readers are checking out to curate the things you should be clicking on. Two things are different here though. First, PocketHits is only available as a Twitter account to follow. Second, it’s not restricted to articles alone, so you might find videos and photo albums on it too. Still, it’s mostly about articles and you will find some good reads here. If you need to look through the archive, your only hope is the annual Pocket Hits Awards page.
Before there was an Internet, the best articles usually made it to magazines. So Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine, asked readers to submit their favourite articles over the last 50 years and came up with an incredible collection of must-read pieces. The top 25 articles were put into one list, and the rest were divided by decade and complied into lists:
How Do You Read Articles?
Now that we have solved the problem of finding the best articles, it’s quite possible that you will start adding too many of them to your Pocket or any other bookmark service. I have a huge list of articles in Pocket that I still haven’t got through. So what’s your trick to go through your read-it-later list and ensure you consume them all?
Image Credit: Johan Larsson