As freelance writers, a lot of us rely on news and magazine websites to stay informed. But many sites have their content chambered behind paywalls.
Some sites have hard paywalls. If you want to read even one article, you need to pay.
Some publishers are kind enough to offer several free reads. But even when that’s the case, if you’re in the writing business, you can run through those freebies real fast.
You’re often left with the option of having a long list of subscription fees for sites you absolutely need or you try to concoct schemes to get around the paywalls, like using multiple devices so you can get as many free reads as possible.
Well, there’s a better way. Use NewsBreak.*
What is NewsBreak?
If you aren’t familiar with it, NewsBreak describes itself as a local news app.
The company claims to want to be a solution to the problem of struggling and defunct local news sources.
It aims to do so by connecting users to the information relevant to them locally while also providing a stream of revenue for those publishing that news.
For writers, NewsBreak can be an excellent tool because news sources that provide limited or no free reading commonly publish their stories on this app. And although it calls itself a local news app, you aren’t limited to content from any one particular location.
How NewsBreak Works
Once you download the app, you can use NewsBreak to read and follow content from any of the publications that are on the platform.
So, I, for example, can read Richmond Times-Dispatch articles covering central Virginia, and I can also read the St. Louis Business Journal to keep up with the happenings in Missouri.
And I can do it all for free.
Not to mention that NewsBreak also allows independent content creators to publish on its platform. So, if you want to know what’s going on in LA, and you want more of a boots-on-the-ground, speaking-from-the trenches source of information, you may be able to find those channels on NewsBreak.
I just started following a channel called Sherrell Writes. Her bio says she’s a former 911 operator who now covers crimes that aren’t getting enough attention. And that is how her channel got on my radar. I was lured in by a story about a missing girl I hadn’t heard about.
In addition to showing you the posts from publishers you follow, like any modern, algorithm-driven platform, NewsBreak shows you content that it believes you’ll want to see.
And it curates a variety of different news feeds.
In the photo above, at the top, you’ll see “For You.” That’s going to include the channels you follow and recommendations based on your reading and the algorithm, I suppose. The “Local” feed is going to have content based on what location you enter as being local for you. “COVID” is more stats and info than news articles. “Headlines” is where you’ll find your major news headlines from CBS, New York Times, and so on.
If you continue swiping across, that menu at the top will reveal other feeds on topics, such as food, science and health.
In addition to allowing you to get behind paywalls, NewsBreak is a great tool for journalists and bloggers to use for story ideas and to stay at the pulse of information that’s important professionally or personally because you can curate content from so many sources. Then, the app provides content from so many more.
Now — before you start hurling stones at me for being part of the problem for publishers, let me share another great benefit of NewsBreak. The reason this app is an excellent workaround for paywalls is that, like Medium, publishers get paid for views. So by accessing their content on this app, you’re actually contributing to a revenue stream for them.
And that’s true for small, indy platforms as well. Bloggers, freelance journalists or other writers who would otherwise earn little if anything can post their content on NewsBreak and make money plus they can still have that same content on their own site.
For small creators, NewsBreak can be a source of revenue + a source of traffic.
There are some publishers on NewsBreak that still don’t allow you full access to their content. I’ve seen at least one hometown newspaper that only gives you a glimpse of the article. For more, you have to go to their website. And to get access on their website, you have to be a subscriber. But so far, from what I’ve seen, that’s very rare.
I use NewsBreak daily, and I encourage you to try it. I think you’ll find that it’s not only convenient but an excellent tool.
If you want to download the app to view news, visit here.*
If you want to create a channel for your content, visit here.*
(Disclosure: *These are affiliate links.)
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