After using the Perspecs news app for a while, and being a keen supporter of the idea when it emerged out of a BBC hackday last year, I’m sad to say that I’m retiring it to an iPhone graveyard folder, for possible deletion at a later date.
The idea is that “there are three sites to every story” and this app aimed to bring all three together in one place. Rather than going to The Guardian to read ‘the’ news or The Mirror to read ‘the’ news, I was opening Perspecs every couple of days to force a little balance into my bubble. At first it was truly eye opening, and with topics that I didn’t really have a side on, I honestly found it hard to choose when I read two or more perspectives at the same time.
For a while I was actually a little disturbed by this, realising more clearly than ever that I’m a liberal reading liberal news and spending time with liberal friends but that many of ‘my’ opinions were actually just rote. The disturbance to my news consumption was welcomed therefore, and enough to keep me returning to the slightly clunky and buggy first version app.
Recently though the app was updated, made more native to the iPhone I think, and while I was excited at first, they seem to have diluted the idea somehow and lost some of the previous clarity and balance.
Also when using the app now, I feel swamped with stories from The Mirror and their other titles, with a few more liberal publications peppered in for what feels like an appearance of balance, rather than actually trying to create it. Maybe this is just me, but considering I was so pleased to feel challenged before, I reckoned there was something in it.
Digging a little further this morning to find the Medium post above, from Perspecs founder Darren Sher, I think I’ve found why this imbalance seems to have crept in, as the app is actually from The Trinity Mirror group. This perhaps explains why the homepage ‘highlights’ for 31 January includes of rugby, football, big pharma paranoia, questions about nudity and clickbait about washing your hair every day, none of which stories am I aching to get a better balance or perspective on. Maybe I’ll bypass the graveyard folder after all. A shame for sure though as it felt great for a while. Back to just endure some Breitbart for ‘balance’ for now then :(