The way news is conveyed and who gets to share it is constantly changing. And in this ad-driven world, almost–if not all–news platforms are driven by clickbait, filter bubbles, and sensationalism. Although it makes room for a wide range of ideas, it also magnifies divisive viewpoints.
I am happy to discover Ground News, an app that assists readers to examine news coverage through direct comparison, which reveals how sources equivocate or exaggerate, rather than act as gatekeepers of truth.
Their small team makes it easier for users to see various perspectives and make educated choices for themselves. Learn more about the Ground News app as you read on.
- Ground News–The World’s First Information Utility App
- Grounded on Facts and Accuracy
- How the App Works from the Ground Up
- Reading the Bias Rating Bar
- How to Download and Subscription Plans
Ground News–The World’s First Information Utility App
Ground News is more than a news aggregation platform. It is a guide that allows users to broaden their perspective on news and examine how stories are portrayed across political divides.
Ground News is on a mission to keep the globe fully informed in the interest of more inclusive progress. They gather news from thousands of news sources including many alternative, independent sources that aren’t bound by the dominant news narrative.
This allows our users to chose and compare the news they want to read, rather than having it pre-selected for them by algorithms geared to generate clicks. It claims to be the world’s first information utility that delivers news from different sources so users can think freely once more.
Behind the Ground
Ground News, headquartered in Ontario, Canada, is a small team of 11 people who are concerned about the future of journalism. Harleen Kaur and Sukh Singh, siblings, co-founded Ground News.
They are not backed by a media firm, a large corporation, or big investors. Their subscribers and a small group of individual investors that care about the issue personally back them up.
The Ground team believes that people who are well-informed will make the right decision without needing to be pushed or coerced.
Grounded on Facts and Accuracy
The news on Ground is gathered from over 50,000 major news publications (news magazines, newspapers, news TV channels) worldwide, trending social media (select blogs and verified first-hand accounts), and Ground users reporting directly from the area.
When a favorite news source isn’t available on Ground News, I can submit it for review within the app. Before being allowed on Ground News, all sources are thoroughly scrutinized. They look at the publication’s public information as well as its track record of reliable reporting.
Although Ground users like me can propose news sources for under-represented regions or viewpoints, these publications are reviewed for factual accuracy before being published onto Ground News. It is permissible to use satirical sources as long as they are properly labeled.
No Judgments and Political Agenda
Ground does not have a political agenda and does not pass judgment on news or user comments. News is obtained from publications from across political scales, and if a publication presents information via a partisan prism, it is highlighted with a Bias Rating.
The average rating of three non-profit news publication monitoring organizations–All Sides, Ad Fontes Media, and Media Bias Fact Check–create a bias rating. The Ground team is not involved in determining a Bias Rating for news stories or publications.
Ground News welcomes users from all sorts of backgrounds, but the platform is unfettered by their political beliefs. With their multi-sourced and comparative collection of news around the world, Ground News makes it simple for users to think freely about current events.
How the App Works from the Ground Up
When I opened the app, there were four options—Sign Up, Log In, Continue as Guest, and Enter Referral Code. For the Sign Up and Log In options, I can continue with Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Email. I chose to Continue as Guest and was prompted to select the edition that is most relevant to me.
There were three editions available–United States, International, and United Kingdom. The United States and United Kingdom editions focus mainly on the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively, with breaking news from around the world while the International Edition claims to provide more balanced coverage of all global news.
The edition will guide my news feed, but I still have access to all news stories as they are reported. I can always change my selection at any time from the Preferences on the Settings screen, but I chose International this time and clicked Continue.
The My Feed tab, as well as my Maps tab, changes when I follow locations of interest. My Maps tab initially provides me with two options: top news from around the globe and local news (from where I am located). When I choose different countries, regions, cities, etc, to follow, the Maps tab allows me to browse around the map and view what news is being delivered in those places.
Customizing My Feed and Following Topics
The “My Feed Tab” allows me to tailor my news feed according to my preferences. The news in “My Feed” is personalized for me, depending on my location, followed topics and sources, and app usage patterns. “Top Stories” is the equivalent of r/all, and “My Feed” is similar to my front page on Reddit.
By heading to my “Topics” tab, I can instantly unfollow any topic I no longer want to see more of. Tapping the three dots in the upper right corner of a topic icon will open a menu that allows me to open the feed, unfollow the topic, or pin it to the top.
I simply type the name of what I am looking for in the search field to find other sources or topics to follow. I tap the [+] sign in the top right corner of a topic/source image to instantly follow it, or I tap on the topic/source to access its page and browse newly published articles and similar topics once the options display on the page.
Reading the Bias Rating Bar
Any story I see on Ground News comes with media bias data. It is helpful to see how a story is being reported (or not) across the political scale. The “Bias Rating bar” on each story visually shows this information.
To know if a news source comprehensively covers an event, the news should have a more even balance between sources from the Left, Right, and center. If a story receives just “10% political bias coverage” from one side, it indicates that that part of the spectrum is underrepresented in the news.
For instance, it is a Blindspot for the Left if the bias bar rating indicates 10% coverage from the Left. On the other hand, it is a Blindspot for the Right if the bias bar rating shows 10% coverage from the Right.
If I disagree with a rating, I can always input the Bias Rating by going to the source’s page and clicking “edit bias rating.” To do so, I tap the source logo to open the page, then I hit the pencil icon to the left of their indicated “Average Bias Rating.” My feedback will be utilized to create a fourth bias rating based on the user consensus.
On Coverage Bias
Anyone who only consumes news from only one side of the political spectrum may miss a lot of news. If a story does not appear on one side of the spectrum, it is not Ground that decided not to include it in the aggregation.
Ground aggregates all articles equally, and “coverage bias” is typically responsible for a lack of reporting from one side. When news outlets refuse to report on a story because it opposes their political agenda, this is the best illustration of coverage bias.
This is sometimes observed when a political figure makes a mistake or faces an issue, and publications that share the person’s political leanings opt not to report on the story.
How to Download and Subscription Plans
The Ground News community can easily examine how a story is reported based on a source’s political bias rating, geographic location, and publication date. These features are available in the free version of Ground News on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
But for news junkies like me and anybody else committed to looking through the partisan spin, they offer subscriptions. Readers can join the community by subscribing to their Pro, Premium, and Vantage plans.
To get unlimited access to the Ground News app’s best features, I got Premium, which is billed as $29.99 yearly, $2.49 monthly. The Premium account, which is the most popular, is for dedicated readers that want to stay informed, and it got all features from the Pro plan.
With a Premium account, I can follow unlimited topics, places, and people I care about. There is also a dedicated Blindspot feed for stories from the Left and Right and a Factuality rating for each news source. Lastly, exclusive newsletters are delivered to my inbox.
The Pro and Vantage Plans
The Pro plan is billed as $9.99 annually, $0.83 monthly. With Pro, users can compare up to 10 news sources and track their bias over time with the My Bias Feature.
It also offers users 50k+ local, national, and international news sources, a detailed bias comparison engine, Limited Blindspotter feed exposing stories with opposing politics and narratives, and increased personalization of the Feed.
On the other hand, the Vantage plan is billed as $99.99 per year, $8.33 per month. With this plan, users can enjoy all features from the Premium plan with unlimited My News Bias analysis–Article Bias, Top News Sources, Factuality Score, Ownership Data, Blindspot Consumption, News Source Location, Topic Insights, and Civic Debate.
Ground News is a useful news app that guides news readers to make educated decisions for themselves.
By weaving multiple points of view from thousands of sources via one, reliable news platform, Ground News frees users from algorithmic restrictions, uncovers blind spots, and discloses the media’s inherent biases.