WSJ’s What’s News app (R.I.P.) is getting a second life in the latest refresh the paper’s main iOS app

Last month, The Wall Street Journal pulled the plug on What’s News, its standalone news digest app that offered a different, more swipe-heavy reading experience from its main app.

Now, the Journal is keeping to its promise of using some of the lessons from What’s News to inform the design of its main news app, which got a refresh yesterday. The new version of the app, which the newspaper says is designed to be a “more deeply-engaging, interactive destination for users,” features a curated What’s News feed with more variegated story presentation than the previous app’s rote list. Users can also customize their experience in various ways, such as saving articles, and opting into notifications for specific categories and from specific authors.

As our own Josh Benton pointed out, the new home screen and other elements will likely be familiar to New York Times readers, including those who used NYT Now (another secondary news app that met its maker; the Times shut it down last August). But the Journal app’s improvements, while comparatively late, come as news apps are becoming more strategically important for the newspaper and other members of its cohort. Ken Doctor noted in a recent piece that, in May, its Android and iOS apps represented 27 percent of the daily active user base for the Times. Responses to Josh’s tweet included discussion of the merits (such as they may be) of news organizations investing in native apps.