News is changing rapidly, and you need to change how you read it. To fight information overload as well as biased articles, here are some useful new apps for a smarter way to read the news.
These apps are essentially news aggregators or news validators, which means they don’t produce the news themselves. Instead, they take news from established media publications, like the top censorship-free news sites or even those with obvious biases to certain sides.
1. TLDR World News: Two-Line News That Stays on the Same Page
Overloaded and overwhelmed with news? TLDR World News summarizes all the news in the world in three sentences.
There are no photos on this site. It takes news from different sources like the BBC, Think Progress, Bloomberg, and other reputable publications. You will see a large headline about the news. Click or tap it to expand it (without going to a new page) and see a two-sentence summary of what it’s all about. You can follow it back to the original link after that if you want more information.
The nicest part about TLDR World News is that reading the summary doesn’t take you to a new page. The constant back-and-forth of other apps is a painful experience. Summaries should be quick, and this is one of the best ways to skim the daily news.
2. FastNews: Auto-Picks the Best Article and Summarizes It
There are two problems with news today that FastNews seeks to tackle. The first is to find the best article about any given topic, considering every organization out there has articles on the same subject. The second is to summarize the article and cut out all the fluff.
With a combination of different technologies, FastNews takes any subject and finds the article with the most amount of discussion taking place about it on Reddit. Click it and you’ll find a summary of key points about the article that gives you the gist of what’s happening. From there, you can either click to read the full article or jump into the Reddit discussion.
It’s the best of both worlds. You get the news article you should be reading, and you can do it faster than skimming through the article.
3. Civik Owl (Chrome): Find Political Bias, Article Quality, and Alternative Views
Civik Owl is trying to battle the problem of political bias in news media with a handy Chrome extension. When you visit any article, Civik Owl processes it to find out whether the website is politically left or right, and how far it leans.
Depending on that, Civik Owl will also recommend alternative perspectives on the same news topic from sites with the opposite political leanings, as well as a centrist view. The idea is to give you all sides of a story rather than the one you’re stuck in.
What’s really interesting is that Civik Owl judges every article for its journalistic quality. This judgment depends upon factors like the number of sources and citations in the article, as well as how many times the article was linked to by others. Finally, you can figure out whether you’re reading a well-researched piece or simple propaganda.
Download: Civik Owl for Chrome (Free)
4. Populast (Web): Which News Posts Are Popular on Social Media?
It’s fine if you get your daily dose of news via social media. But be warned, this might be putting blinkers on the perspectives and news outlets you expose yourself to. A better way would be to read the news posts going viral on social networks, via Populast.
It’s a pretty cool idea. Populast tracks the social accounts of several media organizations, and surfaces those posts which are getting wildly shared and liked. Everything is embedded in the page, so you can play videos or expand images without ever leaving Populast. Of course, to read the full article, you’ll need to click the link and browse to the main site.
Note: I found that the list of sites tracked by Populast is largely unbiased or leans towards the left, but you might want to double-check that before making this a way to read the news.
5. Reality Brief (Web): News Based on Wikipedia Updates
Wikipedia’s news portal Wikitribune is still in its pilot phase and refining itself, but while you wait for it to get ready, here’s a novel site. Reality Brief uses data changes from Wikimedia to create a daily news briefing that is simply about facts.
In the list of events for the day, Reality Brief tracks terrorist attacks, natural disasters, political assassinations and coups, new political leaders, as well as major political, war, or conflict updates from any country.
The snapshot of things happening around the world is actually shocking and will jolt you out of whatever filtered news you are regularly reading. Unfortunately, there isn’t a newsletter yet to get this full list delivered to your inbox.
The Most Trusted News Sites
A big problem with the news today is that you don’t know who to trust. Everyone seems to have their own agenda. That’s why we made this quick list of the most trusted news sites that you can bookmark for your daily news fix.