Best Free Android Apps for Reading American Newspapers

Best Free Android Apps for Reading American NewspapersFree. Because of its nice ring, the word has always been one of my favorites as well as a favorite for most people. So, while many programs offer premium or professional versions of their software, I have personally found that the free versions were adequate to meet my needs. For this reason, most of the software and now the applications that I use have been — or are currently — free.

That being said, I have currently been on a search to find software applications for my Android operated cellphone and my Amazon Kindle Fire. The particular programs I sought were ones that would:

  • allow the searching of multiple news services.
  • allow the organization of newspapers by title, popularity, or other reader choices.
  • allow the organization of one’s favorites.
  • be easy to use.

Best Free Android Apps for Reading American NewspapersOne such application that I found was US Newspapers by Baris Efe.

The US Newspapers application helps you keep your fingers on the pulse of current events in America. Built into this unique application is an easy to use interface that provides the required attributes listed above as well as additional ones. I further found that this application is not limited to metro newspapers but covers an incredible 45 US newspapers that are scattered throughout the entire country. I found this in itself amazing, but was even more impressed when I discovered that this application extends its coverage to include access to some of the major network news programs such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and others.

So, while I found the coverage exceptional, I was also pleased to find that, within its interface, I was provided with the ability to change the font size (making viewing easier), gain access to the default browser, and access a sort feature to list items either alphabetically or view frequently read areas first. Additionally, I was impressed that it could do all of this without drastically reducing available resources.

Best Free Android Apps for Reading American NewspapersAnother source that I located was called Newspaper USA by Markus Reitberger.

Newspaper USA offers a different set of features from many of the newspaper apps that I have tried. This app has its own favorites, newspapers, IT news, business news, sports, and international sections as well as an “others” option. These sections contain some of the most popular news and information sources available on the Internet. The others section contains links to social networking sites (such as Facebook) and to buying sites (such as Amazon and eBay). However, what I specifically appreciate about this app is the ability it gives you to add links of your choosing to any of the sections. Within this feature I also found that it allows you to remove a link by merely holding down the link’s name and selecting Delete. This design was also built into the favorites section, allowing you the same ease to add and thus access built-in links with the simple click of your mouse.

Best Free Android Apps for Reading American NewspapersIf those aren’t enough, I also found a another great application called Pulse News by Alphonso Labs.

Pulse News can only be described as ‘beautiful.’ This application provides the user with an easy to configure menu of tiles, and has been designed with the intent of making the user feel comfortable.

In the picture here, you can see that I have set the Pulse application on my Android phone with a full three pages of some of the best technology sites on the Internet. Each page holds 12 different websites — each displaying the top stories for the website of the user’s choosing.

While I obviously haven’t tested Pulse News with every available browser, I have been using it without issue on my Android smartphone (which uses the Opera Web browser). Within this browser, I have found the application to work flawlessly by instantly changing from the application to the Opera browser and back again.

Another plus that I found is that syncing with Pulse News is a snap. You just complete a simple setup with your email address, enter a username and password, and your account will be activated, enabling you to sync all of your devices to your account.

Best Free Android Apps for Reading American NewspapersThe last application I found that I think is worth mentioning is called News Republic by MobilesRepublic.

This is one app that invites you to configure it to your heart’s content. Included in the app is the ability to:

  • make your own channels and follow only those topics that are of interest to you.
  • set alerts for when topics of interest to you are posted.
  • use a search feature, called TagNav explorer, to search all the available news to find what you are looking for.
  • share your favorite articles with friends using email, Twitter, or Facebook.

If you are looking for an application that is easy to use, has a great GUI, and has some great innovative features, give News Republic a try and see what you think. I tried News Republic and found it to be extremely useful and helpful.

However, if you haven’t guessed it by now, my favorite of these four fine applications is Pulse News. The interface is up to date and modern, reminding me of Metro that has been incorporated into Microsoft’s Windows 8. As in Metro, I found that the ease of adding and removing news sources added value, thus making it a must-have application.

That is only my opinion, however, and I would recommend that you try each of these news applications before determining which of them meets your needs. Personally I believe that any one of these applications have been well-designed and would be a valuable asset to your Android operating system.

Comments welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo at the top of the page shared by quinn.anya

New York Times Online For Less Than $20 A Month – Maybe $19.95?

The New York Times is going to place much of their online content behind a pay wall. The newspaper is trying to determine how much of their content will remain free and how much subscribers will be willing to pay to subscribe to the full features of the newspaper. Currently Amazon charges $19.99 a month to assess the New York Times news on the Kindle. Newspapers have had their revenues shrink during the past decade and are now looking for ways to survive as the Internet becomes the main source for news.

In a recent article it also stated that:

Times Co. Chief Executive Officer Janet Robinson has said the company plans to begin charging consumers for access to articles on its website during the first quarter.

Speaking at an investor conference in New York last month, Robinson said that users will be able to read a set number of articles for free each month, and heavy users will have to pay a subscription fee. At the time, Robinson didn’t say how many stories would be free or give a price for the subscription.

A print subscription to the newspaper with home delivery currently costs about $46.80 a month. It would seem that the online version would actually be less expensive that receiving the delivered edition. The New York Times has stated that those receiving the home delivery of their print paper would also have access to the online version. It is going to be interesting to see how many people cancel their home delivery of the print version and go digital only. It would seem to make sense both economically and convenience wise, that with all of the new portable devices available, taking the news with you via a device is more convenient than ever.

The day of the print newspaper may be coming to and end. The death will be slow, but inevitable.

Comments welcome

Source – Bloomberg

iPad Newspaper Being Created By Murdoch And Jobs

Apple and News Corp have entered into a joint agreement in which news will be provided for download on the iPad. Rupert Murdoch has been keen on the Apple iPad as a way to deliver news to the iPad users. Murdoch believe that this type of distribution will eventually replace the print edition of newspapers. Jobs and Murdoch hope this new type of news distribution will attract many iPad users and new iPad purchasers.

In a recent article it states that:

Intended to combine “a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence”, the publication represents Murdoch’s determination to push the newspaper business beyond the realm of print.

According to reports, there will be no “print edition” or “web edition”; the central innovation, developed with assistance from Apple engineers, will be to dispatch the publication automatically to an iPad or any of the growing number of similar devices.

With no printing or distribution costs, the US-focused Daily will cost 99 cents (62p) a week.

I guess I must be missing something. Even on my cheap Straight Talk phone, I can browse the net and get the news for free. Though I must admit that 99 cents sounds reasonably, free sounds more reasonable.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Guardian UK

Newspapers May Not Like Apple iPad Revenue Sharing Proposal

Just when Rupert Murdoch thought that the Apple iPad would be the savior for his newspaper empire, up pops the devil in the shape of an Apple. The newspaper people thought they would just pay an upfront fee and keep all the rewards of subscriptions and advertising monies. No, no, says Apple. We have a better idea. No upfront fees, but we want a cut of the action.

In a recent article at the International Business Times it states:

Roger Fidley, head of digital publishing at Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute in Columbia, Mo., told the San Jose Mercury News that Apple would likely take a 30 percent of subscription revenue sold through its Apps Store and 40 percent of the ad revenue.

Fidler said that newspapers are not charmed by the offer as they expected to pay an upfront fee rather than the revenue-sharing model.

Newspaper publishing industry is in a quandary regarding its subscription-based revenue model. It ceded control of the model when it made its content available for free online. Since then the industry has been struggling to wean customers of the free online news feed.

So just when Rupert Murdoch was jumping up and down singing the praises of the Apple iPad, his taste buds may have bitten into one apple that is bitter. The newspapers are still going to find it hard to make ends meet when everyone on the Internet will wait a piece of the pie. Apple pie that is. :-)

But all may not be lost for the newspaper industry. It could always turn to Google for help. Now that Android seems to have become the new choice for smart phones, Google may be looking at a better alternative to the iPad or iPhone. It is nice to have choices for all of us, including the newspaper industry.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – IBT

Chicago Changes Law Of Who Is A Journalist – Think Freelancers & Bloggers

In the city of Chicago,  in order to be eligible for a press pass, you needed to be employed by a newspaper, press associations, newsreels or radio stations. This meant that only those listed above could receive a press pass to be allowed access to the scene of a major event, including mayoral press conferences. But all that is about to change and the city of Chicago has changed the requirements for getting a press pass.

According to a recent article in the Chicago reader it states that:

The city’s journalists and media advocates chalked up a First Amendment victory Wednesday, September 8, when the City Council approved a string of changes to the ordinance governing CPD press passes. The old ordinance limited the passes to “full-time” employees of “newspapers, press associations, newsreels and radio stations.” The full-time stipulation has been deleted, and the list of news media has been greatly expanded to include, among other things, “a newspaper or other periodical issued at regular intervals whether in print or electronic format.”

“We realize that not everyone [who works in the media] is full-time,” says CPD News Affairs director Roderick Drew. “The newsgathering business is not as black and white . . . as it has been in the past.”

Another important change in the revisions, which sailed through the council just as last week they sailed through the Police and Fire Committee, is a repeal of the fingerprinting requirement added in 2002. Also gone is a stipulation that the journalist be “of good moral character.” Still required by the police, though it’s not specifically mentioned in the ordinance, will be a background check by the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.

Freelancers and part-timers will now be eligible for police passes if they can show a letter from at least one news organization stating that they’re working for it. And “news media” is being defined more expansively to include news in an “electronic format.”

Times are changing and no longer is the news regulated to be brought to us by traditional news sources. We are going to be seeing major changes as the traditional newspapers attempt to change over to digital format and more freelancers and bloggers enter the news arena.

Comments welcome.

Source – Chicago Reader

Gallup – Confidence In Newspapers & TV News Low

Every year Gallup does an annual poll of 16 major institutions here in the US of A, and some of the results are not surprising. Americans have a very low rating when it comes from news they receive from either newspapers or TV, with an approval rating of about 25%. The rating is for a combined “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in either. Gallup polls indicate that this has not changed since 2003-2007 when the rating fell 10%. Here is a chart presented in a recent article:

Our military has the highest approval rating for any of the 16 categories I was in shock when I read that our Congress has the lowest rating of any of the categories! Following the low-end of the ratings are banks and big business are not very popular with the American public either. No surprise with the low ratings for either of these failed institutions that have led into economic chaos.

How is your confidence level? Are we going to be able to bail ourselves out of the financial mess?

Comments welcome.

Source – Gallup

PS Can we even trust the Gallup poll findings? How negative have we become?

Google To FTC – Radio & Television Were Also Going To Kill Newspapers

The folks at Google have presented a case to the FTC, in which it has provided a history lesson, on previous attempts by the newspaper industry to cry wolf. In seems that Google recalls when both radio and television were the villains, including an all inclusive statement which said:

The large profit margins newspapers enjoyed in the past were built on an artificial scarcity: Limited choice for advertisers as well as readers. With the Internet, that scarcity has been taken away and replaced by abundance. No policy proposal will be able to restore newspaper revenues to what they were before the emergence of online news. It is not a question of analog dollars versus digital dimes, but rather a realistic assessment of how to make money in a world of abundant competitors and consumer choice.

The document itself is a masterpiece and serves as a history lesson for anyone who chooses to read it. Google also provides a lesson in fair use, copyright, and also a schooling on the First Amendment.

Both the FTC and the entire newspaper industry need to read this document.

It will become a classic in the annals of the Internet and how it changed the entire world, including how news was presented to the masses.

You can read the entire document here.

‘Journalism Needs Government Help’ Says Opinion Piece At The Wall St. Journal

This morning I read an opinion piece over at the Wall St. Journal in which the writer was trying to explain why journalism needs a bailout from the government. The article was written by Lee Bollinger, who states that without government help, we citizens would not get any real news. He seems to feel that the outsiders from foreign news media would give us only biased news articles.

He goes on to state:

The idea of public funding for the press stirs deep unease in American culture. To many it seems inconsistent with our strong commitment, embodied in the First Amendment, to having a free press capable of speaking truth to power and to all of us. This press is a kind of public trust, a fourth branch of government. Can it be trusted when the state helps pay for it?

It makes one wonder where Mr. Bollinger was during his history classes. Freedom of the press is the key to keeping the public informed about issues that can impact them. Having a free press has insured that the newspapers can print the truth no matter who might get hurt. This would be undermined if the government were paying the press, no matter what Mr. Bollinger thinks.

Besides, I thought that paywalls were going to save the newspapers?

Comments welcome.

You can read what else Bollinger has to say, but hurry. A paywall could go up any day.

Source – WSJ

Would You Pay To Leave “Intelligent And Meaningful Conversations” In Comments Section?

The comments section of any newspaper or blog, can draw some ugly writings from those who hide behind the anonymity aspect of commenting. A small newspaper in Massachusetts has come up with the idea to charge a one time fee of .99 cents before allowing anyone to comment. Also the person commenting would be required to post their true name and their home town location. It appears that the newspaper is attempting to eliminate the trolls who just stop by and leave vulgar comments.

I have always felt that by allowing people to post comments anonymously, allows the person to express their opinion, even when that opinion may not be popular. But this is where the problem occurs. Those who disagree with the comment and may leave nasty comments with an opposing view. The most effective way to control comments is to have an approval process in place, that allows the comments to be monitored before they are posted.

So when I read that a newspaper or blog site wants to charge for leaving comments, even when the amount is small, I become suspicious of the real motives behind the decision. Is it to control the comments or to increase revenues?

Comments welcome.

Source – ReadWriteWeb

L.A. Times Front Page Advertisement Upsets L.A. Supervisors

Five L.A. county supervisors are upset because the L.A. Times printed an extra edition that appears like a real newspaper article. But the story was actually an advertisement for the new 3D King Kong attraction at Universal Studios. The advertisement included headlines such as  “Dodger Stadium Heavily Battered” and also “Universal Studios Hollywood Partially Destroyed” as part of the publicity.

In one report it stated:

This is not the first time the Times has sold its front page to advertisers. In March, Disney paid $700,000 to promote “Alice In Wonderland” on the front page of the LAT Extra section.

Another report stated that:

All five elected supervisors signed a protest letter that calls on the Times to “stop selling its front pages to advertisers, especially in such an offensive and alarming manner. The cost of this distasteful practice to the people of Los Angeles County is far greater than any short-term gains by the Tribune Company.”

You have to laugh. When politicians have the time to criticize a business, you know they have way too much free time. Maybe they could spend more time on balancing their own budgets, or protesting Arizona for its immigration policies. LOL, idiots!

Newspapers are struggling to survive. They have to make money any way they can to stay afloat.

Comments welcome.

Source – The Huffington Report

Source – L.A. Observed

Paper.li

There should be an image here!Whether you use Twitter or not, you’re probably familiar with the way in which content is shared on the service and what the stream of information looks like. In fact, it’s hard to not be familiar with Twitter given the prominent exposure it has received in the media. A lot of the communication on Twitter involves sharing links, but the way in which Twitter manages and displays these links isn’t necessarily the most effective. Paper.li turns a Twitter stream into an online newspaper by organizing the links that are shared.

The format and thinking behind this is actually pretty interesting because more of us are turning to Twitter for news, so it makes sense for it to feel like a news experience. The service makes shared links more meaningful, and one of these newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list, or hashtag. This kind of thing makes the information on Twitter even more valuable, and it just goes to show how being in the print publishing business can be scary because your content is obsolete before it even gets out to the public.

Does Journalism Need To Be Reinvented? Only If You Want To Pay More Taxes!

The FCC is looking into several ways to bail out newspapers in the U.S., including additional taxation. According to a recent survey from Rasmussen Reports, 84% of people surveyed rejected a proposed 3% tax on monthly cell phone bills to raise an estimated $3B to help struggling newspapers.  In addition another survey indicated that 74% of those questioned rejected a 5% tax on consumer electronic goods such as the Kindle, iPads, and computers to bail out the newspapers and journalists.

On the Rasmussen site it also states that:

One of the FTC’s central concerns is that the quality of local news reporting is suffering as financially struggling newspapers tighten their belts. Yet while Americans continue to see their local newspapers as more reliable than online news sources, they also have consistently questioned government assistance to keep those papers in business.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Americans are confident that online and other news sources will make up the difference if many newspapers go out business.

Is this just another example of greedy newspaper moguls crying in their beer and hoping to get a sympathetic bailout from Washington? Do we as a nation intend to bail out every industry that hits on hard times? If BP has to file bankruptcy will we bail them out as well?

When is this insanity going to end?

Comments welcome.

Source – Rasmussen Reports

No More Taxes On Cell Phones!

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New York Times Wants To Be Your Blogger Friendly Paywall

We have been bullied, threatened, and generally intimated by newspapers such as the New York Times with their new business model known as a paywall. The paywall is the newspaper industry response to its inability to generate sources of revenue on the Internet through Google ads or other tried and true methods. Newspapers have not only lost advertising revenue, but also readership as well with their printed editions. The papers tried the Internet but failed to grasp the nature of the Internet and are now scrabbling to justify why we consumers need to now pay for something that once was free.

But the New York Times does not wish to alienate the blogging community who enjoys linking to the news items. The Times will continue to offer free news items, but will be limited to a certain number. Here is what the Times says:

So if the Times puts up a wall, it could see its links dwindle, because bloggers don’t want to point to paid sites.

Right?

Probably not. Because that theory requires the Times management to work hard to scare away bloggers and other linkers (from Twitter, Facebook, etc). But the Times says it’s going to make the common sense move of encouraging links to the site.

Remember that the Times is building a “metered model” where visitors to the site can read a certain number of articles per month for free. That’s designed to keep attracting the casual, drive-by readers that make a up a large chunk of most sites’ traffic. Even better:  Bloggy links to the site won’t count against readers’ limits.

This paywall experiment will be interesting to follow. I personally believe that the newspaper industry is not going to survive since I am sure someone, somewhere is going to offer all the news we can absorb for free.

Comments welcome.

Source

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Google Wants To Work With News Groups – Even With Rupert Murdoch

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has stated that Google wants to work with news groups, including those owned by Rupert Murdoch, in order to establish a new revenue model. In what is turning out to be a West coast vs. East coast difference of attitudes and business philosophies, Google is extending the olive branch to patch up the differences and hopefully reach an equitable agreement for both sides.

A recent article states:

It is that, despite the endless debate about whether newspapers or other news organizations should charge for access to their content online, Google itself is agnostic. As James Fallows reported in the Atlantic the other day:

People inside the press still wage bitter, first-principles debates about whether, in theory, customers will ever be willing to pay for online news, and therefore whether “paywalls” for online news can ever succeed. But at Google, I could hardly interest anyone in the question. The reaction was: Of course people will end up paying in some form – why even talk about it?

“We have no horse in that race or particular model in mind,” Krishna Bharat, one of the executives most deeply involved in Google’s journalistic efforts, told me, in a typical comment… for Bharat and his colleagues, free-versus-paid is an empirical rather than theological matter. They’ll see what works.

I believe that the newspapers will work with Google and that it will be Google that can effectively set up a model that works for both sides. If the news groups think they can do this alone, they are sadly mistaken.

Bottom line: Do whatever will work and move on.

Comments welcome.

Source – Financial Times

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Local Newspapers Keep Politicians Accountable

There should be an image here!In areas where members of Congress get lots of ink in local newspapers, voters are more informed and representatives do more to serve local interests, according to a study to be published in the Journal of Political Economy.

“Our findings support the idea that press coverage is important for electoral accountability,” write the study’s authors, James Snyder from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and David Strömberg of Stockholm University. “Voters need information to keep politicians accountable and the press delivers this information.”

However, the researchers say the findings also suggest that the current trend toward fewer local newspapers could make for less responsive politicians in the future.

The research tracked the chain of media impacts link by link. Snyder and Strömberg looked at factors that drive local papers to cover members of Congress, how that coverage influences voters, and how politicians react. The study found that “congruence” between congressional districts and newspaper circulation areas has a strong influence on how much press coverage a member of Congress receives.

The rationale works like this: If a large majority of a newspaper’s readers live in one congressional district, that paper has good reason to print stories about that district’s representative. In contrast, when a paper’s readers are spread over two or more districts, there is less incentive to cover one representative or another. So when district boundaries are congruent with newspaper markets, that representative should receive more coverage in all of the newspapers in the district compared to representatives of non-congruent districts.

Using data from 1991 to 2002, Snyder and Strömberg found that in a district with the highest possible congruence, the average newspaper writes 170 more stories about a member of Congress than in a district with the lowest congruence. The analysis controlled for other factors that may drive coverage, such as whether a representative was a party leader or was involved in a scandal.

All that extra coverage has a strong impact on both voters and their representatives, the research shows.

Voters in highly congruent areas are far more likely to know their representative’s name and are more willing to rate his or her job performance. Voter turnout in congressional elections is also higher in congruent areas. In turn, representatives from highly congruent districts tend to be more constituent-centered. They vote against the party line more often; they are more likely to defend local projects in congressional hearings; and they bring more federal dollars back to the district.

All of these results were driven by the alignment of newspaper markets and district boundaries. Congruence with television markets has none of these effects, the study found.

These results suggest that recent media trends could have a substantial public policy effect, the researchers say. As local newspapers disappear, the remaining papers cover larger areas. In some cases, broadcast media becomes a primary news source.

“The trend is likely to decrease the congruence at local levels,” the researchers write. “This might not only affect the congruence of congressional districts, but also that of municipalities, counties and other local government units. Our results suggest that this is likely to reduce voter information, political participation and political accountability.”

Kevin Stacey @ University of Chicago Press Journals

[Photo above by Alan / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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