New York Times is good for quick news and research, if you don’t mind the ads.
William Jewell College Student Senate, the Pryor Leadership Studies Program and Library Services have teamed up for the latest effort to expand the iPad-based “Jewellverse” into the world of news media. Starting this semester, all students, faculty and staff have access to “The New York Times” online newspaper through a school-wide subscription. Typing in www.NYTimes.com/Passes and registering with a Jewell email will activate a special “Academic Pass”—essentially a free subscription to one of the most renowned newspapers in the country. While not an app in the purest sense because it opens within Safari rather than having its own domain, it still has many merits when it comes to keeping up with current events.
Perhaps one of its major strengths is its aesthetic setup. For those nostalgic for the feel of an ink-and-paper publication, “The New York Times” app comes about as close as anything computerized can with its famously distinctive heading and paste-up. With the exception of photographs, most of the layout uses a minimal black-and-white color scheme, further adding to the image of the traditional newspaper that many online news sources lack. One can click on particular sections or look through the “front page,” which covers a great amount of ground more than an average newspaper would allow. The emphasis is still on the headline of the day, but the online front page can fit pieces from some 30 different stories, allowing the user a good taste of current events possibly without even venturing to other sections.
The app features many more stories than websites such as CNN or USA Today, which can often take some digging through even to access news from several days ago. Its user-friendly and resourceful layout allows for no wasted space, keeping important items within easy reach without causing readers to search too hard for them. One new column for the well-known paper, “The Upshot,” is a particular asset, taking eclectic issues apart through data analysis and deft commentary. On a single day, topics can range from the upcoming Westminster Dog Show, to surges in occupational therapy cases, to calories consumed at Chipotle.
However, the app is not without fault, and its webpage-like setup is perhaps its greatest weakness. Pulling up the site gives users many of the same features as the app without subscription while there are some subscription-restricted areas that provide benefit, it generally seems to lack many of the bonus features that paid usership can give. For instance, the advertisement-free format that has worked for numerous companies cannot be found here: even a subscription will not remove the online ads that annoy the typical internet users. Still, lacking a few bells and whistles is hardly the worst problem to have, as it is one that is easily solved. For all other purposes, “The New York Times” app is a great place to begin both for news research and casual consumption.