App Toolkit: News App

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Between my two majors (political science and public relations) I have a small
obsession with news. I have also learned there are a variety of apps that help a
person stay on top of the news without having to pick up a newspaper. These four
apps are on all my devices and are used weekly (if not daily).


This is a great app because it is something I can listen to. I pop some headphones in and walk to campus with it and by the time I reach campus I have a bit of news in my head that
wasn’t there before.

The nice part about this app is that I can pick different NPR stations to listen to. Therefore, I can follow stations such as MPR (Minnesota station), certain shows such as current events updates, or politics.

I enjoy its Pandora-like qualities, which allows me to click
interesting to stations I like and skip the ones I don’t.This then tailors the future stations I’ll listen to.



  • No reading
  • Can pick what you want to listen to


  • Sometimes there seems to be a glitch and you have to turn back on your screen to get it to move to the next “news show”
  • NPR news can be a little dry at time; however, you can always skip and its generally good information

More Information: Learn more and see how NPR One is attempting to be the Netflix of listening:


This is a personalized magazine and it can be as informational or entertaining as you would like. Want comedy, nutrition, and fashion trend subjects? You can get them. You want current events, government, and Wall Street news? You can get them too.

How does it work?

First: Pick the topics you are interested in

Second: Move the topics you previously clicked on in order of importance

Third: Start flipping to read, save for later, or add to your picks

1Flipboard 2flipboard 3flipboard

This app reminds me slightly of Pinterest except reading based. Instead of scrolling through photos and pinning recipes and photos I like, I can flip till I find a story I want to save or put into my “picks.”


  • Free
  • You can tailor your board to what you are interested in


  • Can get a little overwhelming with the amount of topics you can choose and then the dozens of articles within that one topic.
  • There is no easy way to morphed topics into one consolidated topic.

More Information: Learn more and see how you can access your Flipboard from more than just your app:


Yes, this would be the app for Ted Talks. Some of you might be rolling your eyes at this one. You may have only listened to TED talks in an academic setting and be thinking that this would be a terrible app for yourself. However, I would urge you to check these out. TED videos get over three million views a day, and over a billion a year, so no it isn’t just our professors watching these videos.

There are some that are purely entertaining, others that are motivational, and then yes there are the ones that teach you something. They also range in length, so you dedicate only the amount of time you have. I personally prefer the 15 minute ones, they are a nice length for a warm up when I workout!

I consider TED talks a little different kind of news, it isn’t current event news necessarily, but new TED talks are uploaded daily and because of this they can be very timely.

 What’s my favorite feature? Surprise Me.

There is a tab called “Surprise Me,” which when click on asks “You want to see something…” and it give you a list of words: beautiful, courageous, funny, informative, jaw-dropping, etc.

Next, you get to pick how long you’d like the video to be.

After that it finds you a video and you just have to push “watch now.”

A lot of times I have no idea what I want to watch so this is a great way of finding a video.




  • Free
  • There is a plethora of listening topics to listen to – you can listen from anyone from John Legend and Mark Ronson to Bill Clinton or Stephen Hawking


  • Works like YouTube in that you have to keep your screen on to keep the video playing
  • I have experienced a glitch in the app that links a title I click on to the wrong video (happens very rarely)

More Information: Try a TED Talk out, listen to Mark Ronson (think: Uptown Funk) it is an awesome one:

Skimm (email)

This isn’t an app, but most of us have email on our phones (which does come through some kind of app). This is my morning news source, I try to read it during breakfast, I know others who read it while brushing their teeth, or before getting out of bed in the morning. This is short, simple, and usually a little entertaining; it is the news source for anyone who doesn’t have time or even much interest in the news.

Like I said this isn’t technically an app, but it is an email that is usually read on my iPad or phone, not my computer.

SKim   Skim2


  • Easy and free to sign up for
  • Has hyperlinks to articles that discuss the topics in more depth


  • Not an app… and this is an app toolkit
  • As the name suggests this really just “skimms” the news, it won’t get too in depth with any of its topics

More Information: Learn more and sign up to get the Skimm sent to you each morning:

About the Author Aly

Aly is senior double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science. Her hope is to graduate this spring with a job… any job, but preferably one in the communications field that allows her to apply her passion for government, law, and politics. Aly is a travel junkie and has traveled to 15 countries, but believes that number is too low and is already saving for her next adventure!