Tribune’s ‘Newsbeat’ App Will Read the News for You


News apps for mobile have become must-haves for media companies. Newsbeat, the latest app from Tribune Digital, wants to make accessing the news on your mobile device easier than ever. It does this by reading the news for you.

I know what you’re thinking– that’s what NPR and other news radio stations are for. Well yes, but what if you wanted to skip through a particular story? That’s where the beauty of Newsbeat comes in.

This Pandora-esque app can stream roughly 7,000 stories each day, which you can customize by topic or publication. You can also specify unique topics to follow, like your favorite sports team, TV show or celebrity. You can even go back if you miss part of a story and, most importantly, you can skip a story if it doesn’t interest you.

So far, Newsbeat has deals with 600 U.S. publications like CNN, Fox News and of course, Tribune newspapers (Unfortunately, The New York Times is not yet available). The app is perfect for commuters and it can even estimate the length of your commute, then create a custom playlist with the most relevant/important stories that fit your drive time. So that’s pretty cool.

The voice is a “blend of human voice-overs and advanced text-to-speech technology,” so basically a combination of Siri and a real, live human.

Since the app is free, the company isn’t making any money from consumers. Instead, Newsbeat is supported by audio ads, which are inserted throughout news segments. There are two ads every 10 minutes.

I can see how this kind of app could come in handy for news junkies, particularly those with a long commute. I’d really need to hear the voices (especially the robot one) to see if it’s actually enjoyable to listen to, though.

What do you think? Would you download the app? Let us know in the comments below!