Gentle touch is a very firm pellet about the size of rabbit pellets. They are 100% aspen so they are safe for the snakes and for the rodents. It is fairly inexpensive too, if you can find it. It comes in a bright pink bag. It isn't available here in So. Dakota but most of our family live in the Omaha NE area so I stock up when I visit them ; )
Yesterdays news is recycled newspaper. I doubt you would like it any better than newspaper and I doubt that it would be any good for reducing odor. It might be OK for the snakes but again, I like the aspen pellets as they absorb the odor and are easy to spot clean in the snake tanks.