Digestible news updates for people who tire of the usual channels
Price: $2.99/£2.29 per month [Free trial]
Size: 34.4 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Based on the popular topical newsletter founded a decade ago, theSkimm summarizes most of the big stories of the day for a predominantly young, female, American audience.
The source newsletter attracted attention a few years back for its zingy approach to news summaries, as well as a predictable degree of backlash for a perceived dumbing down or trivialising of serious subjects.
While it’s easy to be sniffy about theSkimm’s style – relentlessly unserious, always keen to disguise the fact that it’s done its homework, and not shy of using ten pop culture references when one would do – the bottom line is that its goals are extremely worthy. Noble, even.
It wants to make the mind-scramblingly constant stream of daily topical news accessible to the kind of modern audience who might not ordinarily make time to scan the New York Times or The Guardian of a morning. That can’t be bad, especially in a time of rampant disinformation.
What’s more, theSkimm is very good at making that constant news blitz easier to digest, whilst hitting the main points of every story in an admirably clear and concise fashion. It regularly links to credible sources, making it a potential gateway drug to more traditional news publications.
Topics on just one of its Daily Skimms – a simple list of daily topics with an informal quick-fire question-and-answer format – covered Netflix’s upcoming quarterly earnings result, the serious heat wave hitting the UK, and a court case levelled at the Skittles candy brand.
Besides this Today tab on the main hub there are Top Stories broken down into subjects (News, Money, Life etc), regular podcasts, and even a Calendar function. The latter can be synced with your iPhone’s calendar to keep you abreast of important dates, such as elections or awards ceremonies. There’s also tab dedicated to book recommendations.
The extent of how much theSkimm appeals to you will likely come down to how you take to its bright and breezy tone. Each story is shot through with a particularly US-centric form of pop culture-evoking snark that might, ironically, leave some bewildered. Little things like the habit of shortening certain words in a bid to sound more conversational will also grate with some.
Cards on the table time: theSkimm’s sassy approach to news dissemination is not to this male, UK-based geriatric millennial writer’s particular taste. But it might just be to yours, and there’s little doubt its audience appreciates its informative and refreshing daily updates.