For better or worse, there’s no shortage of news outlets nowadays. They add up to a giant, full-blast fire hose of current events gushing forth in real time. It’s a fool’s errand to try to consume it all. But there are some great tools at your disposal for consuming it how you want, when you want, and from the sources you trust most.
1. Get the gist
If you’re just looking to get caught up as quickly as possible, the free Nwsty (Android, Apple) app is a must have. Built for skimmers, it leverages artificial intelligence to surface up to 10 newsworthy nuggets each weekday and builds delightfully digestible summaries for each. You’ll be more informed than most, but you won’t spend your entire morning to get there.
2. Pennies for paywalls
If you find yourself bumping into for-pay news content online but you don’t want to commit to a zillion different outlets just to read premium articles once in a while, then give Inkl (Android, Apple) a try. The company has deals with more than 100 publishers and uses a team of human editors to curate ad-free content for the app. Articles can be read à la carte for 10 cents a pop, or there’s an unlimited plan for $9.99 a month for true news junkies.
3. Hands-free headlines
If you’re looking to get caught up while on the go, former TV news reporter Erica Mandy’s The NewsWorthy (Web/Podcast) is 10 minutes of well-spent listening. Mandy rounds up the day’s top stories, sprinkles in just enough context to paint a coherent picture without getting too deep into the weeds, and delivers it promptly at 4 a.m. each weekday morning. The tone is fair, effortless, friendly, and trustworthy. You can play the most recent episode directly from the website, via popular podcasting platforms, or by having it sent sent to your email.
4. Nearby news
To become better informed about what’s happening in your general vicinity, take a look at News Break (Android, Apple), which uses your phone’s location to dig up local stories. The free app can be personalized with your interests and pulls from more than 10,000 sources, including small publishers that cover neighborhood news as well as handpicked national headlines to round things out.
5. Rediscover RSS
For those of us old-timers out there, the glory days of RSS may be gone, but they haven’t been forgotten. And a fair number of sites still publish feeds that can be pumped into RSS readers, like the excellent, free Winds (Web/Desktop) app. Aside from pulling in your favorite feeds, Winds doubles as a podcast player and uses machine learning algorithms to suggest additional content and sources you might find interesting. Winds can be used on the web or as a downloadable app for Windows, Mac, and Linux and gets upgrades from members of the open-source community.