Web surfers have instant access to more news videos than ever before, but quantity doesn’t equal quality — especially when it comes to finding informed sources of world news. Maybe that’s why people spend so much time watching cat videos.
LinkTV World News, a new free iPad app, aims to make it easier to stay informed about world events. The Link TV staff doesn’t create its own videos; they sort through the flood of news to highlight the stories they think matter most in the United States and throughout the world.
The easy-to-navigate app includes a Top Stories section that features news videos selected by a team of editors from more than 125 sources such as BBC, The New York Times and Al Jazeera. Yesterday, it featured stories on Hurricane Sandy, like every other news outlet, but also results from Ukraine’s election and the Catalonian Independence movement in Spain. The most recent videos appear at the top of the screen; scrolling down the page shows older videos.
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To make world news more accessible, LinkTV features a map showing where the news is happening. So you can easily scan for videos in, say, China or the Middle East. When you touch a region, the latest video from that area pops up.
The app also mixes in user videos that related to topics in the news. For example, it features a video from Human Rights Campaign on transgendered filmmaker Lana Wachowski, co-director of the recently released film "Cloud Atlas," at an award ceremony in which she talks about her struggles.
LinkTV includes longer documentaries from around the world, too. Pieces range from the 10-minute “How Many Afghans Know What Happened on 9/11?” to a 54-minute travel show called “Pop and the Belgrade Mafia: Vice Guide to the Balkans.”
When you go to a video’s page, you see related content from Freebase, an open information service — kind of like Wikipedia , but with more sources feeding it. The related content helps provide context to topics in a video. A video on the tech sector in Palestine is accompanied by basic information about the West Bank and the economy of Palestinian territories. Videos also include links to other clips and relevant news articles.
LinkTV World News is basically an alternative video news outlet that can help you find stories you’ll likely miss if you spend most of your time on mainstream news sites and YouTube. You can find the content LinkTV offers elsewhere, but it would take a lot of effort.