Keeping up with the news used to be pretty simple. One could just pick up his or her preferred newspaper on the way to work, or tune into a scheduled broadcast on the radio or TV.
That’s all changed.
The Internet has transformed the way in which news is created and distributed. Keeping up with the colossal melting pot of professional news outlets, blogs and citizen journalists can be a huge headache. Where do you check first? How do you keep up when you only have a smartphone on hand?
A swathe of free newsreader apps are available for iOS and Android platforms, but only a small selection are worth your time and attention.
Here’s a run down of the best, free news apps for the millennial generation:
- Google News & Weather
It isn’t Google Reader, but Google News & Weather offers a wide variation of news stories from multiple publishers. Alongside the headlines and local weather, users can browse “Suggested for you,” an area for news stories catered to your most recent searches. Users are also able to highlight an individual topic, such as technology, for all of the current news.
- AP Mobile
The Associated Press claims to be “where the news gets its news,” and there’s no better place to stay up to date on the latest breaking, local and national news. You can customize what kind of stories are in your feed and the app constantly refreshes so you don’t miss any new developments.
An innovative, text message-styled news app that really calls to the Millennial generation. While users only receive a few stories in each session with the app, there are options to delve deeper into the story or move on to another.
SmartNews brings you trending stories and categorizes them based on the subject. It’s clutter-free, easy to browse through, and good at digging up fresh content that you’ll actually want to read. Partners include NBC News, Medium, USA Today, TIME, Bleacher Report, Quartz, VICE, Reuters, AP, Perez Hilton and more.
There are plenty of options for Reddit, but we recommend Alien Blue for iOS and Reddit Relay for Android. Users submit posts to relevant subreddits and users upvote popular content and comment on it.
Flipboard strives to repackage the best content on the web as mobile-centric digital magazines. Better yet, it gives you granular control over what news sources are included in each faux-publication. Essentially, you can use the app to create your dream magazine.
What you won’t find in Feedly is a list of article suggestions and recommendations. Finding appropriate content is ultimately your responsibility; that’s fine for RSS enthusiasts, but a little overwhelming for newcomers. When you first launch the app, don’t be surprised if you’re greeted by a blank page.
However, once you’ve created a critical mass of feeds though, the app is incredibly powerful. It’s incredibly quick to refresh and supports multiple layout types, so you specify exactly how much text or imagery is shown on-screen.
BuzzFeed took the world by storm with its viral listicles and other fun content. The app consolidates everything in one place, while allowing to customize the types of articles you see to suit your tastes. You can also browse the menu to view quizzes, what’s trending, or news if you want to further hone your search. BuzzFeed also has a hard news app.
This iOS app tailors Digg’s minimalistic interface for the smaller screen, allocating just the right amount of space to headlines, photos and news sources. Articles can be viewed as a Web page or reformatted to fit in with Digg’s clean, uniform aesthetic.
There isn’t much in the way of filtering or categories (aside from a generic search bar) but Digg’s knockout punch is the inclusion of an RSS reader, similar to Feedly. A single tap brings in a side bar with all of your custom feeds and lists, where you can also add news sources and save articles for reading at a later date.
- Yahoo News Digest
Yahoo News Digest sends you two curated digests of 7-10 articles each day: once in the morning and once in the evening. The articles pull from multiple sources, including essential factual nuggets called “atoms” that give you all you need to know in a beautiful format. It’s arguably the best-looking news app out there.
- BYU Universe
The official BYU Universe app is in the works, so stay tuned. Soon you’ll be able to take content from Brigham Young University’s award-winning student newspaper The Daily Universe with you. Readers can rapidly find news from BYU, its surrounding communities and sports news of BYU teams.