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News has evolved, and how you read it needs to evolve too. It’s not about going to one site any more. It’s also not about reading through social networks.
Reading the news today isn’t as simple as it used to be. There is an information overload that you need to counter. Plenty of sites have their own biases that you have to manoeuvre. And lots of smaller news outlets have the most interesting articles.
So change how you read news: take small bites, track a single subject, or read the most trending articles. These sites and apps will give you an interesting way to consume news.
1. Tenreads (Web, Android, iOS): For Those Who Read News, Not Follow It
Ten Reads has a simple approach that is perfect for anyone overwhelmed by the constant barrage of news we face today. It presents only 10 news articles at any time, and adds context.
You can currently view world news or India-centric news. Tenreads tracks what people are reading and sharing, to surface the 10 things you should be reading. It also finds 10 reads for a few sections: business, entertainment, science, sports, and technology.
Tenreads also adds context to each news item with a three-line summary before you read the piece, and a timeline of all events leading up to the current news. This way, you don’t have to be following the news to stay updated of every small event.
2. Above The Fold (Web): Top News From Top Publications
Political bias is a real problem with news today. If you expose yourself to only one type of news outlets, your thoughts can be influenced by their opinions.
Above The Fold gathers and presents the top five news articles as they appear on the front page of the top 20 news outlets. This includes The Washington Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera, QZ, Breitbart, and several others. You are free to turn off some outlets if you want.
The site also has a “bias filter,” letting you view publications that are far left, left, neutral, right, or far right. Like Google News and its alternatives, Above The Fold is an aggregator that shows the best of everyone. And even exposing yourself to that is enough to broaden how you see the news.
3. The Perspective (Web): The Two Sides to Every Story
The Perspective is a good way to find out if you are wrong in how you think. Its premise is that there are two sides to every story. And the site’s editors hunt out those two sides, presented in different media outlets.
For example, take the recent news of the first time that a woman was cast as Doctor Who. The Perspective found two articles about it. The one in The Guardian talked about how this is progress, while The Sunday Herald said it doesn’t make sense and alienates fans. The base argument of both articles is presented next to each other, and you can read the full articles at their respective sites.
Largely, The Perspective tackles Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Living, and Business/Technology. The last category, The Big Ones, debates larger issues that don’t fit any of these sections.
Go on, challenge yourself.
4. Gong (Web): A News-Sharing Social Network
If you’re a news junkie, Gong is going to immediately appeal to you. It’s a social network that wants you to share news articles you find, vote what you like or dislike, and discover news through other sharers. There is nothing earth-shattering about that, but the system works.
Here’s the best part about Gong. Each news article includes just the headline, the publication’s name, and a picture. Click it and it expands to show you the first few paragraphs, and even an embedded video if it’s available. You can continue reading news without ever leaving the page. It’s a fantastic way to skim the daily news when you’re busy.
You don’t need to be a Gong member to enjoy its services. The social network does not require you to register to use it. Feel free to be a passive consumer and not an active contributor.
5. Top.st (Web, Android, iOS, Windows): Trending News in Real Time
If all you want is the latest trending news, presented in a neat format, then look no further than Top.st. It’s all about the news here, nothing else.
Top.st selects interesting news from 30 countries and ranks them in real-time based on how the link is shared on social networks. The chart updates rapidly, so you might need to click the “pause” button once in a while to catch up.
The app also has five time periods (current, hour, day, week, month) to provide snapshots of what was trending at the time.
Of course, with this mechanism, you aren’t accounting for biases, preferred outlets, or any other filters. For that, your best bet is to create a custom news feed with RSS.
Do You Trust News From Social Networks?
The media currently faces severe constraints with free speech. It can come from bosses with vested conflicting interests or powerful business and political forces. It’s a time when you want news that is guaranteed free from censorship.
It’s why a lot of people today get their news from social networks. Unfortunately, these networks allow for even less scrutiny about their interests or biases.
Do you trust the news you see on social networks? Do you wait for a news organization to confirm or refute it?
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