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Read it and swipe: The best social news app for every reader

Caitlin McGarry | Feb. 10, 2014
There's nothing quite like unfolding a newspaper, scanning the day's headlines, and diving into a local news story or an image-rich feature. It's a wholly immersive experience that ends with your brain full of knowledge and your fingertips covered in ink.

The app has a few social elements: You can comment on stories, like or dislike them, and share them with friends. In that respect, Prismatic can foster more community than other newsreaders, which offer limited interaction, if any. Prismatic also has the most eclectic mix of stories — the app processes about 5 million new stories a day — so if weird, random news is your thing, this is the reader you need in your life.

Best app for: People with crazy interests who aren't interested in headlines or viral stories.

For straight-up newsreading, it doesn't get better than Circa for iOS and Android. Circa's journalists distill the day's stories into a few grafs for easy mobile reading. Photos, quotes, supporting docs are all in separate cards you can view if you scroll down. You don't have to sign up to read the news of the day, though you can, of course. If a particular story intrigues you, there's an option to follow it for notifications when the story's updated with more information. There are only a handful of sections to browse through — no "Cute" or "LOL" frills like Facebook. Circa is about the must-know stories of the day, and that's it. Yahoo's new News Digest app has a similar approach to news, delivering twice-daily digests of top stories, but I prefer Circa.

Best app for: News junkies who want their fix fast.

Flipboard's iOS and Android apps go above and beyond what most newsreaders offer, with a beautiful, flippable, magazine-style design to boot. You can get all the basic news from the introductory Cover Stories section, which is already filled with the day's top stories. Then you can start adding sources you like or topics you're interested in to round out Cover Stories. You can also connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts to see stories your friends have shared with you in the stream. You can even listen to music. It's just not fair. Plus, Flipboard has tablet versions that are even better than the original for evenings when you have time to actually read. Flipboard's only downfall is that it's all a little much. Sometimes you just want no-frills news. (I guess that's what Circa is for.)

Best app for: Magazine subscribers who have time to kill

Like Flipboard, Facebook's news-driven new iOS app takes its cues from magazines with customizable sections, though the network curates both the sections (you can pick from 20) and the stories that fill them. The best part about Paper is that it offers up Facebook's own News Feed as one of the sections, so you can see your friends' news before you flip over to current events. Paper takes Flipboard's gestures a step further with tiles that you can toss up, flip down, or slide over. Honestly, I've started trying to apply these gestures to other apps, which results in a lot of frustration. The mix of stories Facebook selects for each section is solid, and you won't be so overwhelmed by content that you retreat to your ignorance in defeat.

Best app for: Facebook users.


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