NEWS YOU(TH) CAN USE
Modern news apps fight media burnout
Inundated day in and day out by social media, news sources, and mobile phone notifications, today’s youth are overwhelmed, overstimulated, and, frankly, over it. Yet, youth recognize the importance of being “in the know,” especially when it comes to the news. Enter the following apps, which empower youth to stay informed without burning out.
Configured to fight the echo-chamber effect, new iOS app Gem uses a unique algorithm to deliver news articles that matter. Like other news apps, Gem allows individuals to select subject matter categories they wish to read up on, and users are sent algorithmically-recommended stories (along with a daily “gem,” which is an article a user is most likely to enjoy). But the app allows users to rate what they’re reading based on adjectives instead of a thumbs up or down (which helps reduce sensationalism) and filter articles by type: “tutorials,” “opinions,” or “news.” Modern youth appreciate apps like Gem, as they prize content that can be tailored to their unique needs.
Positioned as a therapeutic antidote to modern news consumption, Sift helps consumers understand controversial topics sans the stress-inducing stylization most media apps feature. Sift offers users well-researched content with a complete picture, avoids using inflammatory language, and includes interactive features designed to add engagement and enjoyment. The app’s first news series launched earlier this year for $19.99 for a six-month subscription and addressed topics like immigration, guns, healthcare, education, and climate change. Each topic is dissected into two parts: a backcast and ways to move forward, offering potential solutions other media outlets might miss out on in their reporting.
New app Neocortix News offers users a unique aggregated news platform that emphasizes unbiased and fact-based reporting. The app collects stories across a mix of liberal, conservative, and neutral sources and, unlike other media apps, delivers them to users regardless of previous story choices or prior viewing history, eliminating the “filter bubble” that is created when algorithms recommend similar articles. What’s more, and unlike other aggregator news sources, the app contains no advertising and has zero fees. Without charging users, Neocortix News abandons profit motive—the driver of fake news—to support consumers and society overall.