Let me preface this post by saying I’m not a news junkie. Well, maybe I am compared to the people who don’t follow the news, but I try to only check in a couple times per day and I don’t have any news notifications turned on.
I’ve gone through this exercise a few times over the years, even posting about it here on occasion. As I mentioned, I’m not a news addict, but when something of prominence happens (whether locally or in the world), I like to hear about it and stay informed.
Earlier this week, a bus drove into a daycare in Laval, Quebec, about a 3 hour drive from me. While I use Reeder and follow a handful of RSS feeds, I wasn’t aware of this story at all until several hours later when I happened to hear about it on television. I suppose this is more than acceptable for someone who isn’t a news junkie, but I felt like this is something I wanted to know about sooner. I felt it warranted more prominence. When I scrolled through my RSS feeds there was precious little about the event. On a day where I didn’t check the news much and my feed was growing by the hour, I likely would have just skimmed right over the article as I think there was one item in the entirety of my feeds.
It was then I decided to give Apple News another try. I figured why not, it’s included with my AppleOne subscription, and it will – in theory – raise big news events like that to the front page somewhere. I was right, it was the first headline. Apple News was off to a good start.
But then it went straight downhill. After a couple of days of light use, I was reminded why I don’t use AN and why I use RSS.
There are far too many ads.
Setting the text-size seems to be a per-article endeavour. I’m not quite mid forties and my vision is pretty good, but I found myself constantly clicking on the giant “A” to increase the font sizes
Way too many click-baity, celebrity-related junk articles. I know you can hide these. Heck, I even clicked the option to limit the app to only sources that I follow. Better, but isn’t the point of a news app trying to see different viewpoints?
I decided to give Readwise a try again this week. I was reminded of the closed nature of the News app. Saving articles for later or highlighting them and storing in a read later service doesn’t work so well.
Did I mention there are too many ads.
It’s a shame because there are a lot of good sources and articles within the News app. But the inability to do anything outside the app itself and the fact they’re constantly shoving ads and junky articles down your throat – it’s a real turnoff.
I see the App Store ratings seem to align with my personal thoughts as it’s sitting at a 2.6.
What a disappointing, non-Apple-like experience that app is.
There are always positives and negatives. If you only focus on the negatives, you will be unhappy of course. For me, Apple News is an incredible value, and is one of the main reasons I subscribe to Apple One
On the website you’ll need to set-up a profile and add this to the deny list: news.iadsdk.apple.com When you save the profile it will have an ID associated with it. Copy that ID.
Open the NextDNS app on your iPhone, iPad (I think available on the Mac but I’ve not checked). You’ll see a switch to enable it and will be prompted to give permission in the settings app. It’s in General under VPN
Go back to the app and go to the settings (under the toggle look for the Circle with 3 dots) then turn on custom configuration. Paste in the ID from the website.
Oh, and a tip for changing the text size universally (for all stories). On iPhone or iPad go to the Control Center and add the Text Size shortcut. If it’s not already there you add it in the Settings app, Control Center tab. Once it’s in Control Center you can change the text size for Apple News (or any app that enables it) via that quick short cut.
My thoughts on this aren’t really Apple News-specific, but if you want news about things happening near you, your best bet probably isn’t major national news organizations or aggregators.
Find the local news outlet that seems to do the best job, and subscribe or add its headlines to your RSS feed. It may not be great – local news has taken a real beating as advertising markets have gone online – but the more support they get, and the more they hear from readers, the more likely it is they’ll be able to invest in local reporting.
You are absolutely correct that if someone wants local news, they should subscribe to (and pay for) local and regional news sources.
Does Apple News employ reporters? The last time I looked, all that Apple News did was aggregate news from other sources. Where does news come from? Local reporters have to go out, hit the pavement, and report it.
Perhaps it was an oversight, but you did not say you pay for that local news source. And if your local newspaper is so small that it only has two writers, then you are going to have to follow (and pay for) your regional newspaper, too.
I’m surprised Google news is still around. Most of the traditional news media has been replaced by something closely resembling the tabloids you find (found?) mainly at grocery store check out lanes. Long on opinion and short on actual facts.
With that said what’s left appears to be looking everywhere for a source of revenue to help it live another day.
“In December 2014, Google shut down its News service in the country (Spain) just before a law came into force that would have forced the company to pay publishers for using any of their content, including headlines, in the News tab. Publishers weren’t able to opt out.” -engadget.com 11/3/21
As I recall traffic to publishers websites dropped something like 20% and Google didn’t return until 2021. At some point I expect most real news will disappear behind paywalls.
This is an interesting question. I haven’t heard of reporters, but I do know a very good visual journalist (interactive graphics, charts, etc.) who went to Apple News. No idea what they’re doing there though.