Alexa can already give you a quick overview of the news from your favorite outlets, but Amazon wants to see if the voice assistant can be something closer to a news anchor that lives in your home. Alexa is getting a feature that will highlight in-depth reporting and long-form news stories from major publications including Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, Newsy, and NPR, according to a report from Engadget.
To activate the new features, users will ask Alexa to “tell me the news” or to “play the news” from a given outlet. Alexa can also give you a list of available stories from news providers. The long-form stories will be available in audio format on any Alexa-powered device including the Amazon’s extended line of Echo smart speakers. CNBC and Newsy will be providing video content that can be viewed on Alexa devices equipped with a screen, including Amazon’s Echo Show.
Because these stories are more in-depth and will require your attention, Alexa has playback controls that allow you to control what you’re listening to. If you’re not interested in one of the stories that come up, you can say “Alexa, skip” or “Alexa, next” to move on to the next story. You can also change your preferred news provider in the Alexa app by going to the “Flash Briefing” section and updating the outlet of your choice. This will put the news you’re more likely to want to listen to front and center.
NPR confirmed its involvement in the long-form news project in a letter to member stations, published by Nieman Lab this week. “Starting today, thanks to a new partnership between NPR and Amazon, new Alexa owners will hear not only the hourly newscast but, immediately after it, a continuous listening experience that delivers a stream of the best and most up-to-date content from Member stations and NPR,” the news publication said in the letter.
Alexa owners won’t have to wait long to try out the new long-form news experience. According to NPR, the extended news stories will be available on all Alexa devices including smart speakers and other products by Monday, April 15.
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