One of the greatest things about having a handheld device that’s connected to the Internet is having limitless information at your finger tips. We can look up who that guy from the movie we just saw is, or exactly when the song “Never Gonna Give You Up” came out. We can also get the latest news from the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the NY Times, and more.
One thing that was lacking was the ability to get local news. Well, search no more: News Selection gives us access to local newspapers from all around the world. If the newspaper has a website it’s likely listed here.
When you first open up News Selection you’re greeted with a list of countries. The app offers newspapers from all of them. Simply tap one of them to bring up a list of papers.
Country List (and Home Screen)
Some lists are more comprehensive than others; since I’m in the USA, I’ll focus on that list, which is incredibly long. The list is organized first by number of times you’ve viewed each newspaper, then alphabetically by state, where the first two letters of the listing are the state abbreviation. They are then followed by the actual name of the paper. Certain websites and national newspapers like USA Today and the Wall Street Journal are organized strictly by name, no state appended.
As you use the app you’ll realize you can star newspapers; they will appear at the top of the list, again ordered by how much you view each one, starting with the most viewed.
The countries are actually organized the same way, though there is no explicit count shown like with the newspapers.
Finding a newspaper is easy enough. Just scroll through the list or use the search bar on top to narrow it down. The search updates live and will narrow down the results as you type.
I recommend using more than just state abbreviations since the app looks for any character combination in the listings. That means if you search “NY” and there is a paper called the “Pawny Dispatch,” that will show up in the results.
You can also assign gestures to newspapers. Simply press the “g” icon next to a newspaper and draw the gesture with your finger. From the app’s home screen (the list of countries), you’ll now be able to use that gesture to go straight to the newspaper.
Once you select a newspaper to view, you’ll be taken to the mobile site (if it’s available, regular site if it’s not) where you can read the news.
Viewing a Newspaper
One nice feature about News Selection is that it keeps the device awake; that is, the screen stays on while the app is open. I think this shows how much thought was put into the app, as if the screen goes off while I’m trying to read something, I find it incredibly annoying.
Overall I think this is a pretty nice app, but there are some areas for improvement.
First and foremost is the design. I know that there isn’t too much to the app; it’s mostly lists with a few well-placed icons. However, some work could be done to improve the UI – starting with a change in the background image, which I find pretty distracting. Also, when viewing the list of newspapers on smaller screens, there are a lot of multiline titles, although I’m not quite sure how they’d fix that.
Also, while I like how you can star newspapers that you plan to read frequently, I’ve noticed that if you star newspapers from different countries, you still have to go to that country to view the newspapers. I’d like to see a master list of only your starred newspapers; a screen where you can quickly and easily browse through all of your favorite news sources.
I’ve personally found, that the app boasts quite a comprehensive list of newspapers for the US, though some reviews of the app suggest that there aren’t as many good choices for certain countries. I think News Selection does a nice job of rectifying this problem by allowing the users to submit news sources. While viewing the list of newspapers for a particular country, press the folder icon in the bottom right, then press the + button that appears to add a new news source.
You can choose to keep that source private or share with all users. I thought this was a really nice touch. So if you find the app lacking sources, remember you can always add more.
News Selection is a pretty interesting app; a comprehensive list of newspapers from all around the world, all bundled into one app. The functionality is great: star newspapers; add gestures; search for (and even add) your own news sources. While the design is lacking, this is definitely a required app for any news junkie.