Text only news websites

TL;DR: As of August 2020, the main sites are still CNN, NPR and The Guardian API, with my news agency recommendation being Reuters.

Reasons to use text only sites:

  • Save time
  • Save bandwidth / access conveniently in poor connectivity situations
  • Increase battery life on mobile devices (little or no JS to load/process)
  • Less distraction / more immersion in content (like reading a book)
  • No iframes / social media oEmbeds
  • Usually no advertising
  • Overall, much less stressful

Sites

CNN

Advantages:

  • plenty of stories (40)+
    fast and clean presentation
    few HTML->text conversion issues

Disadvantages:

  • no author name(s)
  • no direct link back to full versions of each item
  • live audio stream hasn’t worked for a long time
  • slightly too many stories on Trump for my liking
    (though we are in the middle of an election cycle)

Today’s Guardian – this is absolutely beautiful (also includes photos).  Swipe right to navigate stories.  Not made by The Guardian – uses their API. Blog post on how it was built.

NPR – formatting is a bit cruder and only 10 stories on homepage (tip: click ‘News’ and you get 15)

Apps:

The Reuters app isn’t strictly text only but it does have an offline mode and supports iOS dark mode.

It is still available for old devices too – e.g. iPod Touch 4th generation – supports offline mode. Not strictly text only, as there are photos at the top (imho, Reuters has the best/fastest range of news photos).  Still loads quickly on hardware that was released in 2010.  Most content sections still working. iPod Touch only weighs 100g so comfortable to read for long periods and easily slips in a bag (just don’t use it for anything that requires up to date security).  Turn javascript off in Safari settings to make websites bearable.