News is a quite particular thing, which is why News Republic for Windows 8 is useful. 'News' is only news if it's about places, people and happenings that are pertinent to you. That sounds rather narrow-minded, but it's largely true to say that what's news to you may be entirely irrelevant to someone else. A news angle is a way of cleverly crafting a story so that a general interest piece becomes a local interest one, or one with a hook that will engage a particular audience.
Go on holiday for a week and you can often skip a whole week's worth of news events, simply because the coverage in the place you're visiting isn't skewed to you and where you're from. Suddenly, it doesn't hold your interest. This is what makes News Republic so good - and it's free from the Windows Store.
News Republic doesn't just shovel in the latest Hollywood entertainment tidbits, headlines from CNN and updates about the golf in Atlanta – it tailors the news to the people reading it. Specifically, it provides news stories from your own country by default. There's also the option to customise News Republic with feeds of your own and to import other Windows 8 Metro apps such as the Weather feed or a photo slideshow. Naturally, you can ignore the Sports section or Entertainment stories.
Another strength of News Republic is that it doesn't just deliver headlines. It provides a content too by serving up links to associated articles. Headlines relating to the extradition of Abu Hamza offered links to the European Court of Human Rights, other stories about the suspected terrorist, but also ones about the role of the home secretary and about Theresa May in particular.
We also liked the stripped back interface that News Republic offers. It's devoid of garish adverts or competing photos (there's a single embedded ad for the smartphone versions of News Republic displayed as a clearly marked tile). If a story looks interesting, you can read it and then browse related stories by clicking a thumbnail to the left when you're ready. For a quick digest, you can limit the stories to just Top news, while Videos lets you give your eyes a rest and view mainly more light-hearted pieces.
We're surprised to find no native story sharing options within News Republic for Windows 8, but if you just have to tweet something, each entry has a link to view it on the web. Refreshingly, this app is so well written that you can then head back the desktop (though not News Republic itself) after your online diversion. Most browsers just leave you hanging.