PressReader Newspaper Application: A Review

When I was seven, my favorite place in the world was my best friend Megan’s farm. Even though she needed to shove her cats into the basement and vacuum the entire house so my allergies could be kept at bay, the farm and her mother’s cooking made for many happy memories. Among these were having her mother carefully split the comics section down the middle, serve us pipping hot pancakes and mason jars of milk and digging into two things I have always loved – newspapers and breakfast food.

I graduated from college 15 years later with a journalism degree.

While I’m abroad, my desire for news seems to be more acute. Even Spanish news programs are on at 3pm, the time at which most families are sitting down to lunch. I devour newspapers each morning over breakfast – this time with a cup of coffee instead of a mason jar of milk.

I recently took a test run of PressReader, the largest online kiosk for reading newspapers from around the world on a mobile device, tablet or computer. Over 2,300 newspapers in 54 languages are available for browsing, and my subscription started just before the 2012 Presidential Elections. I opened the application to find loads of information about the impending polling and last minute pushes in swing states, quickly saved a few English and Spanish language newspapers into my favorites and dove right in, cup of tea in hand.

They say no news is good news, but no news makes for a deprived Cat with nothing to do to keep her entertained in the morning. Here’s what I thought of PressReader’s application.

What I liked

The benefits of PressReader stuck out right from the beginning. I could easily move through titles, sections and languages and get a good feel for the applications and its capabilities.

Easy Navigation and Stellar Graphics – When each new newspaper is opened, found through a keyword search or by choosing a language, the front cover pops up and the sections can be found on the right hand side. Here, one can browse the sections that interests them the most, using either the table of contents or the thumbnails of the paper’s actual content. There’s also the option to download the paper to a mobile reading device or to send the article to an email address. The newspaper appears just as it was if it were in your hand, with crisp graphics and the ability to open a separate window with larger text and related articles. If anything, I’d prefer the icons for zooming in, turning the page and closing the article to be floating, rather than on the bottom.

Radio Option –  An automated reading of the piece is available in all languages, perfect for multi-tasking or downloading for later listening. The Spanish readings actually sounded better than the English ones!

The Price – After frustratingly trying to open articles to just browse and get my news fill, having to click to read through Facebook ro other social media was irritating. PressReader offers a close to unlimited number of views for a flat fee of $0.99 cents per download, or a rate of $29.95 a month. Considering you’ve got access to well over 2,000 newspapers and all of its content (including the crosswords!), it’s a great deal for keeping informed.

What could be improved

Small Type – The small type led to problems with me clicking on the wrong articles or links. I couldn’t find a magnifying glass to help me sort it out, either.

Not personalized enough from the beginning – Largely due to the enormous number of newspapers availble, the front page is a big jumble of popular articles, my saved newspapers and a dashboard. Trying to find articles that interested me was tougher than I expected, so I would have liked the application to begin with a short questionnaire about my preferences, geographic location and preferred language, along with the look of my homepage.

Overall Value

While PressReader is great for the traveler and the digital minded, I miss the slight weight of a newspaper and the smell of ink on my hands. Regardless, PressReader offers travelers an easy way to stay in touch with no pesky “two clicks a day” limit and a reasonable price to have it all at their fingerprints, no matter where or when they’re having their coffee and paper break.

PressReader generously offered me a multiple-month trial of their application for my desktop. As always, all opinion are my own.

Rocking the Vote in Spain

 

Only a teacher would think to bring a map of the United States, a blue marker and a red one, to an Election Day party in Spain.

“Ok, everybody! Teacher’s here with the electoral map!” Lindsay called out as I hung it on the wall under the TV, and I had miniature US flags waved in my face as a show of solidarity in the upstairs bar of Merchant’s Malt House in Seville. I don’t remember if it was a blustery sort of November that we tend to have In Chicago on Election Night, or which states I colored in, tallying up the electoral votes for each candidate. I do remember the elation of knowing the small team, spearheaded by an incredibly savvy and forward-thinking American woman, had registered dozens of study abroad students and American residents to vote from sunny Spain.

For someone who is not overly patriotic, voting is one of the most important responsibilities I feel I have while overseas. In fact, it’s the only ONLY right I don’t have as a resident in Spain, which makes my voice all the more important when every first Tuesday in November rolls around.

Voting abroad is simple, so there’s no reason to not do it! Here’s how to easily cast your ballot from abroad:

First: Make sure you’re actually registered to vote!

Remember all of those civics classes you had to sit through in high school? By now you should know that no one counts as 2/3 of a person and you can vote as a woman, so there’s absolutely no reason on this big Earth why you can’t do it (unless you’re under 18). Registering to vote is an insanely simple process that can be done in person at a local election office, by heading into the DMV, or even by soliciting this information through the mail. If you’re currently abroad, you can print off these forms and mail them back Stateside to your local office.

If you are already overseas, you will have to print out the forms listed on your state’s election website and mail it to your election office, or complete the online registration at the Federal Voter Assistance Program. You’ll need to provide basic information, including your driver’s licence number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Second: Educate yourself, duh.

I don’t like no stupids, so please be a good person and do your research (this article is strictly non-partisan, so make sure your candidate’s ideals are lined up with your own! It’s all about knowledge, friends!)

Third — Request an Absentee Ballot

Click to the FVAP’s site, choose request an absentee ballot and click on the state you are registered to vote in. Using the Wizard, carefully fill in your pertinent information about where your ballot should be sent. You can request the ballot by email, fax or regular mail. Do note that, using this method, you can mail in the registration and the ballot at the same time.

You’ll receive a PDF with all of your information. This must be printed, signed and dated, then sent to your local election office. I faxed my request into my local office and received my write-in ballot not 12 hours later.

Finally – Cast your ballot and enjoy elections parties around Spain on November 6th!

Your local election office will send you the PDF form of a write-in ballot. your state will have its own regulations about how to return the ballot and whether there is additionally information (Illinois, for example, requires a secrecy waiver). Send it certified and let your voice count!

DA is planning a massive tri-city simultaneous party for the big night, meant to be a sort of gala fundraiser.  I’ve been speaking with the president of the Seville organization, but plans are not finalized. Get in touch with me through my Facebook page for more information, or to help out (possibility of a paid position!).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...