Any journalist will know that part of the newsgathering process is reading work by other reporters and bloggers with the same beat.
The past few years have seen the creation of some fantastic apps to make the user experience of reading around your subject a highly pleasurable one.
Here are 10 smart RSS readers, social magazines and aggregators that can help in newsgathering. This list can also guide you to some of the places where readers are consuming your content so that you can test the reading experience of your work within the apps.
1. Zite (Android, iPad, iPhone)
Zite allows you to create a "personalised magazine" based on people you follow on Twitter, Google Reader, bookmarking site Delicious and Pocket (formerly Read It Later).
You can then add sections (such as "technology", "politics" and "world news") and Zite will surface content you may not even know existed.
Zite's algorithm means that the longer you use the app, the better it gets at knowing what you are interested in.
If you feel swamped by too many RSS feeds, the amount of information shared on Twitter and want to read a few choice pieces a day that are relevant to your beat, Zite is for you.
2. Flipboard (Android, iPad, iPhone)
Flipboard is a "social magazine" that involves connecting your Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram accounts and more, and allows you to flick through personalised news. You can add specific news outlets (including Journalism.co.uk) which can also be a handy way of reading news from that provider if they do not offer a free native app.
Flipboard offers a beautiful page-turning experience. It is worth checking when you need a solid fix of news shared by your Twitter contacts, to browse your RSS Google Reeder feeds or want to have a magazine-like experience of reading one of your favourite digital sites.
3. Google Currents (Android, iPad, iPhone)
Google Currents allows you to follow "your favourite content" by hooking up news outlets that push out stories via Currents. You can also add feeds from your Google Reader account.
You can then follow sources from the personal "library" you create and click on "trending" stories. (You can find Journalism.co.uk on Google Currents by following this link.)
4. Taptu (desktop, Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nook)
Taptu gets you to "DJ your news" by "curating your own stream by mixing and merging your favourite blogs and websites".
This social reader also works by by connecting your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google accounts and allows you to add feeds from Google Reader.
5. Pulse (iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire & Nook)
Pulse "takes your favourite websites and transforms them into a colourful and interactive mosaic".
It allows you to add feeds from news outlets by selecting from the "catalogue" of providers. It also has a video category and is a great way to hunt down and consume videos from news outlets. It also recently launched a new "premium sources" service, which enables users of the app to subscribe to select content from the Wall Street Journal.
6. News360 (iPhone, iPad, Windows, Playbook, Android, web browser)
News360 is a "personalisation and aggregation service" that allows you to connect up various services (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and Google Reader).
The app also gives you a "360 degree view" of news, allowing you to see how various news outlets have reported the same story.
They are currently US focused but the push notifications are also a great way of keeping up with breaking news.
7. Subpug (browser)
Subpug is an RSS reader that allows you to add feeds and set up filters. For example you can choose to exclude stories about "sport" from a news provider.
Rather than being an app, Subpug is based in the browser. It has a simple email option so you can email yourself a link and access your subscriptions from any device.
8. Trapit (browser)
Trapit allows you to organise "the best, most relevant content into individual topic-based 'traps' for easy consumption".
You can create "traps" by entering a keyword, phrase or URL. You save the "traps", which are then updated with news 24/7.
9. Reeder (iPhone, iPad, Mac)
Reeder is a paid-for app that allows you to take RSS feeds from Google Reader, Fever and Readability.
If you do not want to add feeds from social sources, such as Twitter and Facebook, and want to go through your RSS feeds on your iPad, Reeder is a great option.
10. Niiiws (iPad)
Niiiws launched a UK edition last month and offers "the most important news of the national press on your iPad".
It takes news feeds from mainstream outlets only and is a great way to keep up-to-date with major stories.
It is a particularly useful app at weekends when you want a round-up of news from various outlets and are less focused on following your niche.
- Got a favourite RSS, social reader or aggregator app that we have not included? Leave us a comment below.
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