Once upon a time, the six o’clock news was our one-stop source of current information about politics, sports, the weather, and more. We’d turn on network news during or after dinner and watch it as a family. These days, by the time dinner rolls around, we’re pretty well up to date on the latest news, thanks to the Internet. Throughout the day, we can visit sites and have breaking news forwarded to us in a variety of ways.
The only problem with this approach is that we need to be sitting in front of an Internet-connected computer all day long. Unfortunately, this is not always possible; meetings, errands, and everyday life are constantly pulling us away from our desks. Fortunately, we carry around a small Internet-connected device in our pockets all day long—one with broadband connectivity and a very capable Web browser. In addition, there are a number of free tools available in the iTunes App Store that turn your iPhone (or iPod touch) into a one-stop source of up-to-the-minute news.
World, national, & local news
First and foremost, the six o’clock news gave us the day’s headlines. I found two fantastic apps that will help you with this, from two of the most trusted news sources around.
NY Times is a free app developed for iPhone users by the New York Times, one of the best places to turn to for national headlines. It allows you to download the day’s headlines and read them off line, wherever you are.
Mobile News Network lets you access headline news from one of the most respected sources of world news, the Associated Press
Mobile News Network gives you AP’s raw feed of the day’s events. It also allows you to view photos and videos from the reported stories. In addition, you can search for local headlines by inputting your zip code or tapping on “find current location.”
These days, national and local headlines are not enough for most mobile users. In addition to the traditional news, many of us follow up-to-the-minute postings on dozens of Web sites. To do this, we use RSS feed readers (or “aggregators”) to collect, organize, and push the information to our iPhones.
NetNewsWire is an RSS reader that syncs with the Newsgator (newsgator.com) so that you can set up your feeds online, check them directly from your iPhone, and access news from both your iPhone and your desktop computer.
Sports news and scores
Once of the most popular segments of the six-o’clock news is the sports report. In fact, many viewers intentionally tune in late to avoid sitting through world and national news. There are a number of fantastic free programs available for the iPhone, designed to keep you up to date on sports scores and related news.
Plusmo has created a number of small and mostly free apps that give you up-to-the-minute scores on a variety of sports. They have individual apps for pro and college football, baseball, basketball, and more. (They even have an app for Cricket.) The only sport Plusmo does not cover is NHL Hockey. Fortunately, that’s covered by The Hockey News, a fantastic app that gives you scores, stats, standings, and articles.
Of course, some of us are interested in more than one sport. If you want a more comprehensive report with the latest news, scores, and highlights of a variety of sports, check out this app.
SportsTap gives you access to news and scores for over a dozen sports. In addition to the traditional American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and NCAA), it also covers Futbol (international soccer), Canadian Football, and Auto Racing. My favorite feature is LocalTap, which gives you the latest scores and news about professional and college teams in your area. You can also place your favorite teams on the top of the scoreboard’s page.
One of the most watched segments on network news is the weather report. It all looks so easy on TV, with the weatherman pulling facts and forecasts out of his hat, standing in front of an animated map of the U.S. But accuracy is vital, and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.
There are dozens of weather apps available for your iPhone. Here are two of the best! The Weather Channel app is the gold standard for weather forecasting. Whether you want the current or the multi-day forecast, nothing is more accurate than The Weather Channel. AccuWeather has a few more bells and whistles and offers some really cool features like radar, video, and weather alerts. It’s just about as accurate as The Weather Channel.
The above titles are great, but you still have to hop from one app to another to get your news, weather, and sports. Is there an all-in-one app that gives you everything, just like the six-o’clock news? Yes—in fact, there are two excellent options!
The USA Today app gives you headlines, sports scores, and weather, lets you view the day’s best photos, and has in interactive “snapshot” section. The app is similar in organization to the popular print publication, so you should feel right at home. The headlines section has subsections for news, money, sports, life, technology, etc.—much more than the six-o’clock news.
Pocket Express is an app originally created for Windows Mobile smartphones and ported over to the iPhone by Handmark. It gives you a one-stop source for news, sports, weather, finance, entertainment, travel, and more. It can even zero in on your current location and provide you with personally tailored weather forecasts and even movie times.
The apps mentioned in this article are all free, and I invite you to check them out on the iTunes App Store. With them, you can get latest news, sports, weather, and much more, delivered to your iPhone and available to you anytime, anywhere. You may never watch the network news again.