What you need to know about minimalist news app Circa

A new news app called Circa promises news "without the fluff, filler, or commentary." With that in mind, here are what Circa calls the "essential points -- facts, quotes, photos, and more" of some of the coverage of Circa's launch.

• Circa believes news consumption on phones is all wrong. So it breaks down stories into minimalist morsels that fit on a mobile phone screen, with one to three sentences on each point, often with an image or a map. You can follow stories you like and get updates.

• "It’s almost as if Circa turns newsreading into a game, where you want to make sure you keep up with all of the latest developments," Drew Olanoff writes in a rapturous review of Circa. "By bringing on actual journalists with an eye for news, Circa is able to fill the app with things people want to read, in a way that they can read it quickly and on the go. While I’m sitting and waiting for a train to the city or at the airport at my gate, I just want 'the facts.' ”

• "The main idea is that the traditional article or story format that newspapers and other news outlets have produced for so many years no longer fits with the way we produce or consume information now," Mathew Ingram writes in a positive review of Circa, which he says "shows some of the most advanced thinking about not just the delivery of news but the way news stories are constructed, and that is refreshing."

• "I think most of us would agree, an overabundance of long, in-depth articles is not the chief problem with journalism," Sarah Lacey writes in a mixed review of Circa. Circa "may well solve a lot of the problems I have with staying informed on current events," she writes. "I just disagree with the founders on what those problems are."

• Circa "will give traditional media organizations heartburn," John Herrman writes in a skeptical review of Circa, which he calls "aggregation without compromise." The app "is here to say, 'you're doing it wrong.' And then, in the same breath, 'can we borrow some sugar?' "

• I've had limited time to play with Circa. I like how easy it is to scan headlines. As a brute force aggregator, it still has a little fluff, though: A map showing where Luxembourg is located, for instance, doesn't move the peanut when I'm learning about EU representatives meeting there to discuss arms sales to Syria. I already know where Luxembourg is. (Also, the text below needs a copy edit.)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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