Get your news from your phone? App-solutely!

So we know that people aren’t getting their news in the same way they had years ago. Newspapers are out and apps are in. But what apps are the best and why are they so popular? This post is going to attempt to explain why…

The App

If you have a smart phone, you will probably have a number of apps. With iPhones a popular choice amongst millions of mobile-phone owners, the App Store is a wondrous place full of apps for all occasions.

According to BBC WebWise:

“App is short for application — this can be any type of computer program.
“Applications have been around for as long as computers, but the term ‘app’ is associated with the software that runs on a smartphone or tablet device.” 
— BBC WebWise

Now some people might still read the paper (technically). Traditional news publications such as The Metro, The Guardian and The Daily Mail (amongst many others) now offer an app which enables users to catch up with current affairs on the go. In a rush to catch a train? Want something to read? Download the app! The process of getting an app onto your phone is quick and easy and lots of apps are free, making reading the dailies an easy and efficient exercise.

Which apps are best?

With so many news apps available, it can be difficult trying to decide which ones are best. This obviously depends on what kind of news you are interested in and where you live in the world etc. Below are a few examples of popular UK news apps:

  • BBC News
    When I asked some of my friends which news apps they used the most, almost all of them said BBC News. The app can send instant updates for breaking news, which is something I think millennials in particular like to have. Sometimes being the first person in your group of friends to tell everyone, “OMG William and Kate have had a baby!” is seen as impressive. Bit odd, but some people like to know things before anyone else, which is particularly evident with breaking news. The app is easy to follow and download, making it even more attractive to use.
  • Daily Mail (Mail Online)
    Controversial, but the stats don’t lie. The app was One of Google’s “Best Apps of 2014,” with over 2 million downloads. Very easy to follow and most people go straight to the comments. Whatever you think about the Mail, you cannot deny the app’s success. There is a showbiz area (often known as the “sidebar of shame”) and the infamous “Femail” section, making it a popular news app to keep up to date with celebrity gossip and fashion/diet trends (many are questionable but you get the idea).
  • The Guardian
    Another popular app is The Guardian. Arguably more sophisticated than its hyper-active cousin Mail Online, The Guardian’s app is free and again relatively easy to use. They have a personalise option to change the home feed of news you see to suit you, which is pretty cool if you’re into a certain element of news like sport, or America, or fashion etc. You can also upgrade from the free version to pay a few quid — with that you can access cross words (fab for commuting) and Guardian books as well as a range of other content.

What’s new?

Many of the apps have been around for a couple of years now, though updates are available frequently. I found a cool article which outlines some of the best news apps of 2017 by Digital Trends.

“The technology industry has well and truly infiltrated the publication world.”
 — Digital Trends

Among the list are apps like Buzzfeed, LinkedIn Pulse and Reddit — cool, often creative apps that are perfect for those on-the-go looking for something decent to read or discover. For me, emerging apps that allow you to access the news in different ways is a reflection of how far digital media has come.

There is nothing wrong with still buying a broadsheet every day as you enter a train station, if you still enjoy doing it. But if you are wanting to delve deeper and find new stories — news that doesn’t make it to the mainstream papers — then these sorts of apps might be the ones for you.