One of the great uses of our Amazon Echo devices is the ability to get news delivered to us when we want from the sources we want. This is done through “flash briefings” in the Alexa settings. We can have national news followed by local news followed by weather and the latest traffic report with one command. All we have to ask is “Alexa, what is my flash briefing?” or “Alexa, what’s in the news?”.
The following Alexa skills are those designed to be used in flash briefings. Some of these outlets also have separate skills that can be used outside of flash briefings. These skills focus on both national and global news. It’s worth adding that there are many local news skills available, especially if you live in a major city. Simply search the Alexa skills on Amazon.com to find them. They make great companions to the breaking news skills below.
NPR News Now
The default flash briefing news skill is consistently the best one running. It’s an informative 5 minutes of news from around the world. Stories go beyond the headlines with short summaries and even sound bites. Sports and the stock market are also covered in the briefing.
Most importantly, NPR News Now updates each hour. This is a rarity in the cluster of news skills that struggle to stay up-to-date. They have added the occasional short commercial, but it’s a small price to pay for the most complete, up-to-date news skill around. Get NPR News Briefing Now
BBC News from TuneIn is arguably the most comprehensive international news skill available. You’ll receive a rundown of what’s happening around the globe from the renowned BBC World Service. A newscaster from the service will read through the news and pass along stories to their correspondents for more in-depth coverage. The briefing ranges from 3 minutes on up to 10 minutes depending on how much news there is to cover.
This is a great skill for those looking for global coverage and an international perspective. They don’t cycle through stories as quickly, so you may come across similar content if you’re using your flash briefing multiple times a day. Get BBC News Briefing Now
The Daily from The New York Times
If you’re tired of the boring rundown of the headlines, The Daily might be the change of pace you’re looking for. This skill acts more like a daily podcast than a news briefing. There are interviews, sound clips, and much more as “the paper of record” delves into what they feel is the most pressing story of the day. You’ll learn not just about the story, but how it came to be. You’ll hear analysis from different sides, learn background information, and understand the significance of the story to the world today.
The Daily from the New York Times can routinely run over 20 minutes which does make it a bit long for a flash briefing. We wish the skill was available in non-flash briefing format. But if you have the time, it’s a unique and informative look at the day’s biggest story from the biggest newspaper in the United States. And if the story doesn’t interest you or time is short, simply tell Alexa to skip to the next briefing. Get the Daily from The New York Times Briefing Now
The Wall Street Journal Minute Briefing
The Wall Street Journal provides the most important business stories in a compact 60 second briefing. The news is read by a real person and features soundbites as well. The skill updates 3 times a day and is a nice quick overview of the money world for those who want it fast. Get the Wall Street Journal Minute Briefing Now
Reuters TV (US and World)
The international news agency based in London has both a U.S. and World skill available for Amazon Echo devices. The news is thorough, straightforward, and about five minutes in length. It’s read by a newscaster with more in-depth coverage of a story being handled by one of their correspondents. With a network of 2,500 journalists from 200 locations around the globe, they are more than qualified to power your daily news needs.
Reuters is also one of the few news outlets that provides video flash briefings for the Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot at this time. So if you’d like to utilize that screen, Reuters is a terrific choice. Get the Reuters TV Briefing Now
CNN Flash Briefing
Keep up-to-date on the latest news from one of the leading cable news networks in the United States. With an American focus, the CNN Flash Briefing covers a broader range of topics from news, weather, entertainment, politics, sports, and more. It typically focuses on 4-5 of the day’s top stories and is read by familiar on-air talents like Erin Burnett or Dana Bash. Briefings run 3-4 minutes in length and are updated daily. Get the CNN Flash Briefing Now
CNN also has a non-flash briefing skill (Get it here) that allows for more control. You can skip from topic to topic or ask for the latest news on President Trump. Video is also available for those with an Echo Show or Echo Spot.
If Fox News is your cable news outlet of choice, you’ll likely enjoy their news skill. This 4-5 minute flash briefing covers the latest news of the day in a more standard radio format. Topics range from breaking news, the latest in politics, sports, and even celebrity gossip. Content seems to come straight from Fox News Radio and is updated rather frequently throughout the day. There is also video available on compatible devices. It is one of the better US based skills for breaking news in a timely manner. Get the Fox News Flash Briefing skill now
ABC News Update
The hourly audio newscast covers the latest headlines from a domestic perspective. ABC has one of the shortest flash briefings among the major news organizations at this time. They pack the top 4-5 stories in under a couple minutes to get you moving with your day. The flash briefing updates every hour and uses real life news anchors. Get the ABC News Update Briefing Now
CBS Radio News
The flash briefing seems to come straight from CBS Radio News hourly news cast. Stories are read by a real life anchor and mixes in soundbites to enhance the presentation. It appears to be updated almost hourly and focuses on the latest news across America. Topics include breaking news, politics, sports and even some pop culture thrown in at the end. The briefing runs 2-3 minutes on average. They have added a commercial or two at the end but you can bypass that by telling Alexa to skip to your next briefing. Get the CBS News Briefing skill Now