Clear out the clutter, get to the truth
In the era of fake news, conspiracy theories, and controversial politics, it’s never been more important to seek out trustworthy and respected sources for news and current affairs. Just because something is retweeted or shared a thousand times on social media doesn’t mean that the information you’re seeing is real or true.
That can make separating fact from fiction in the real world even harder. This is especially hard for breaking news events, where the “facts” can rapidly change. If you want instant access to trustworthy news on the go, then you’ll need some of the best news apps for your smartphone. Here are 8 of the best news apps you can try.
1. BBC News
The BBC is the UK’s public broadcaster, but it also has a significant global presence and reputation for solid reporting and unbiased news across the globe, thanks to the BBC World Service.
The BBC News app, available to users worldwide, offers a British perspective on local and global news events. It doesn’t hype up topics, with the news rating service AllSides confirming that BBC News articles are typically in the center of political reporting.
With correspondents based globally, BBC journalism is at the heart of stories in the UK, US, and worldwide. The BBC news app is freely available on Android or iPhone devices, but non-UK residents will see ads in place during use.
2. Google News
Trusting one source of news can leave you without the dissenting voices you need to really challenge the opinions you’re hearing. That’s where apps like Google News come in, which acts as an aggregator for news sources across the globe.
Rather than provide the journalism itself, Google collects stories from the websites of news agencies worldwide. You can follow different topics, from tech news to local news in your area, which Google will collate into a daily briefing for you to read and catch up with.
You can also delve in deep with Google News, with a full list of news articles and topics (which are ranked based on importance and level of news quality) available in the Full Coverage section of the app.
3. CNN News
CNN is the original 24-hour rolling news service and, despite a focus on US events, there’s plenty of news content worth reading via the CNN News app. You can download CNN News on Android and iPhone devices.
CNN’s production quality puts it ahead of many of its competitors, with an enormous bank of video news content for users who prefer visual rather than textual content. CNN is rated as a left-leaning news source by AllSides, which may put some conservative news readers off.
If you’re looking for two sides of the story, the CNN News app will certainly give you one voice you can trust to be constructive and clear, whether your political opinions differ or not. While it’s US-focused, it also breaks a healthy amount of global news stories to keep international users informed.
The Reuters news service is an international news provider that informs (if not fully provides) the journalism behind stories in newspapers and on broadcast TV across the globe. It’s also one of the oldest news services, dating back to 1851.
With hard-hitting, high-quality journalists pounding the streets and scouring the internet for scoops, Reuters has gained a global reputation for unbiased reporting. Reuters journalists are focused on a wide range of topics, with the app allowing you to see more of the stories you’re interested in, from sport to politics.
Reuters isn’t political, and takes its reputation seriously, even banning emotive words like “terrorist” from stories to ensure totally objective reporting. If you’re worried about fake news, and you’re struggling to trust other news sources, then installing the Reuters app on Android or iPhone devices would be a great place to start.
5. Apple News
For iPhone and iPad users, you don’t need to install anything extra to start getting the latest news and information, whether you’re after local, national, or global news. This is thanks to the Apple News app, which comes pre-installed with iOS and iPadOS. Unfortunately, Apple News is unavailable for Android devices.
To distinguish it from other news aggregators, Apple News places a focus on visual content like video or images. This helps you to see the most important stories, giving users a quick feed to skim over the news stories of the day without losing the critical facts in the process.
Like Google News and other news apps, Apple News allows you to pick topics (named channels) that are most important to you, from science to entertainment, as well as the top stories of the day in your region. If you want to take things further, a News+ subscription gives you access to hundreds of paid news sources for $9.99/month.
6. Financial Times
As the name might suggest, the Financial Times (FT) is a news source that focuses on how politics, current affairs, and global events impact the financial markets. It’s also one of the oldest news sources, with the first edition published in 1888.
Readers of its pink sheets will know what to expect from the FT app for Android and iPhone devices. Stories are positioned to focus on how business and financial markets might be impacted, but between the lines, you’ll see high-quality reporting on a number of topics that don’t stray too much into outright political opinion.
This is backed up by independent news ratings such as AllSides, which confirms that the FT is placed squarely in the center. If you’re worried about the markets, or you’re just looking for a high-brow news source to try, then the FT app is available for both platforms, but you’ll need a paid FT subscription first.
Like Apple News, Flipboard is a news aggregator that focuses on polish, presentation, and appearance. It takes the news, glosses it up, and presents it neatly in Flipboard’s fashionable and easy-to-navigate app for Android and iPhone users.
In the Flipboard app, you can pick the topics that matter most to you, from the most general to niche, which you can then “flip” through at your leisure. Flipboard, like many of the apps on this list, offers a breaking news alert system that’ll alert you to the latest stories as they appear on news sites that Flipboard follows.
You can even add your own sources to the app, letting you build your own aggregated collection of specialist news to read or share with others. If Flipboard isn’t for you, you can use an RSS feeder on your PC or Mac to build your own custom news aggregator, but you’ll need to find the RSS feeds first.
Finding Good News Sources
It’s easy to dismiss one news source or another, based on personal politics, experiences, or dislike for the content generally. That makes it even more important to find good news sources you can trust, especially in current affairs, where you might prefer to see two sides of the story before you make your own judgements.
While it’s always important to consider paying for high-quality journalism, paywalls can sometimes be disruptive and expensive. If you’re on a budget, there are some easy-to-use methods you can use to bypass paywalls for news sites. If it’s a debate you’re after, give some of the calm political subreddits on Reddit a try instead.