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Television News

Journalism is a competitive business with newsrooms eager to break exclusive stories, be the first with breaking news and to trump their fierce rivals in the war for ratings.

With this dog-eat-dog spirit in mind, we’re pitting two newsgathering giants against each other to see who has the better Windows Phone app for your Nokia Lumia. It’s a transatlantic showdown between CNN and Sky News.

The ‘Splash’ Screen

In the trade, the main story on the front page of a newspaper is called the ‘splash’ and is probably the most important decision that an editor will make. After all, the front page is intended to lure readers into buying the paper, as well as informing them.

Now, in the digital world, it is the homepage that is the most important feature of a news website. People want an instant snapshot of up-to-date news that is well presented with nice pictures.

How do our two apps compare on the ‘splash’ front?

CNN and Sky News

The first thing you see on the CNN app is a single top story with a wide picture, headline and a couple of lines from the introduction (the standfirst in journalism-speak). To see more stories you need to swipe the screen across to get a list of the latest news.

 Sky’s app opens up with much more comprehensive ‘Top Stories’ screen. It’s a simple list of news stories featuring a small picture with an accompanying headline. There are half a dozen stories at first glance and even more if you scroll down.

I can see what CNN are trying to do with their one prominent story, but overall I prefer Sky’s approach that offers me more top stories at a single glance. 

CNN 0 – Sky News 1 


Both apps are fairly disappointing when it comes to customisation.

I was hoping I could filter my areas of interest, such as business, entertainment, sport and so on but neither CNN nor Sky News offer this. You need to scroll through their categories to find those stories, rather than have it automatically surfaced to you.

On CNN though, within the settings, you can choose between US or international news. You can also choose from three different font sizes.

CNN 1 – Sky News 1


As you would expect from these two broadcasters, video reports are well represented in their apps. 

On the Sky News app, video reports are embedded within a text story. So where they have a video report available, you will see a video icon over the picture. They also have a separate video section where you can watch dedicated bulletins on the Headlines, Showbiz, Weather or Radio (top stories in audio).

Sky News

Perhaps, best of all on the Sky News app you can watch their TV channel live, both on Wi-Fi and over a data connection.

CNN also has a host of video reports for you to watch but unfortunately there is no TV streaming.

What you can do is enlarge the top picture on each of the CNN article pages. This is actually quite useful because they are cropped so small that they look much better full screen. 

However, for the ability to watch the live TV channel, Sky News just edges this one.

CNN 1 – Sky News 2


This is difficult to judge because Sky News has a largely UK-focussed news agenda, whereas CNN is much more internationally-minded.

Here are the respective categories that they each cover:

CNN: Top Story, Latest News, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle, US, Europe, World Business, World Sport, Entertainment, Tech, Travel and US Election.

Sky News: Top Stories, UK News, World News, Politics, Business, Showbiz, Sport and Strange!

(Strange! is a selection of weird and fun stories. Sample headline: “Sacre Bleu: French Admit They Are Rude”)

Overall, I would have to say that CNN has the more comprehensive and wider breadth of coverage.

CNN 3 – Sky News 2

Interaction & Live Tiles

As you would expect, social media is a feature on both the apps. It is very easy to share and tweet individual articles with your friends. However, neither app lets you comment on the stories.

Of the two, CNN takes interactivity to a much higher level.


Their iReport initiative, which encourages citizen journalism, is enabled through the app, so you can send your stories to them, after you’ve set up your account. You can also read other iReport articles. 

Sky News has a ‘Your Report’ equivalent but this is really a perfunctory contact us form. Sky News’ Discuss screen is similarly disappointing as it is merely a link to their website blogs.

CNN also wins out with a Live Tile, news alerts and a shake to refresh option, all three of which are absent from Sky News. 

CNN 3 – Sky News 1


So, right at the finish line, CNN steal a victory over Sky News. Both are good news apps, but CNN’s just had a little more depth and a couple more advanced features. However, the ability to watch the live TV channel is worth another mention on the Sky News app.

CNN is my winner, but feel free to disagree in the comments box below. Or do you have an alternative news app that you think is better than both CNN and Sky News?