The journalism industry is in a unique position right now. People are reading and consuming news more often than ever before, but they’re paying less to do so. People expect to consume news on their computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Most people expect this news to come for free. While content producers have to wrestle with how they want to distribute news, consumers also have to determine how they prefer to consume it. Here are six ways to consume news on Android devices.
1. Dedicated Apps
Downloading a dedicated app is perhaps the easiet method of news consumption to grasp. Just fire up Google Play and search for your news provider of choice. You should easily be able to find the Associated Press and Reuters . There’s also cable news such as CNN and broadcast content available from ABC. Don’t live in America? There’s the BBC, the Times of India, and the Japan Daily Press. Not all news organizations have produced an app, especially local providers, but it’s worth a look. This is a great option for casual users who may be fine with getting their news from only a handful of sources.
2. Curated News
Some people don’t want all of their news to come from the same place. It’s a smart habit to get into, as each organization brings its biases and way of reporting that can potentially distort a person’s view of the world. Curated apps provide a highly visual means of pulling content from a wide variety of places. There are many options to choose from these days. Flipboard is perhaps the most well-known option out there. It presents stories in magazine-style pages that flip whenever you change from one page to another. Google Currents isn’t quite as animated as Flipboard, but the concept is largely the same. Pulse is another highly-visual and popular option. Curated apps are good for people who like getting their news from diverse sources without having to sift through vast amounts of headlines.
3. RSS Feeds
Curated apps are nice, but they aren’t cut out for dealing with large volumes of content. That is a job for RSS feed readers. Google Reader may have gone the way of the dodo, but there continue to be alternatives out there. Feedly has gained a large following in the wake of Reader’s decline, and it’s arguably as attractive as the curated apps. There’s also Feed+, RssDemon and gReader. Feed readers have been around for a long time now, and people who rely on them have pretty specific needs. Look around, and hopefully an option will strike your fancy.
4. Social Networks
Okay, I know we’ve all already signed up for one social network or another and have used them to keep up with friends, family, and acquaintances. That said, their usefulness has grown extensively over the years. Now most major news organizations have fan pages on Facebook, Twitter accounts, and perhaps a page on Google+. They typically post either all of their stories or narrow things down to just those they consider important. If you combine Twitter with an app like Slices Pro, you can filter tweets into specific categories and only see tweets about the topics you’re interested in or from the people you’re curious about. There’s also Reddit, a different type of social network that exists to get interesting stories out in front of people and let users determine what is or isn’t important. Reddit News and reddit is fun are some of the options available for accessing the site on a mobile device.
5. Home Screen Launchers
One of Android’s greatest strengths is its ability to trade out the default launcher for alternatives, effectively changing the entire look and feel of a phone or tablet. Many of the dedicated news apps come with widgets that can be installed on most of these launchers. The same is true of curated apps, RSS feed readers, and social networks as well. Some alternative launchers, such as Chameleon Launcher, can insert news feeds directly onto your home screen. HTC Sense 5 also comes with BlinkFeed, which is essentially a curated news app that consumes one of your home screens at all times.
6. Digital Magazines
This last option isn’t the cheapest, but it offers a traditional experience that the others cannot match. If you love the look of a magazine and hate having to sacrifice the images and diagrams when reading the same stories online, you may want to sign up for a digital subscription. Zinio is a cross-platform option available with a large selection of magazines. Google Play offers a growing selection that may not be comprehensive, but they sync nicely across numerous Android devices and web browsers.
Our smartphones/tablets now connect us with the rest of the world, and we can find out what’s going on nearly anywhere with just a few taps. This can be overwhelming, but with the right apps, we can all consume the news in the manner that we like best. This is important, because how we choose to acquire information will determine how it is distributed in the future. What method do you like best?