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The Bulletin

A news app for car-bound commuters

Posting in Technology

Tribune Digital Ventures, the Silicon Valley-based technology arm of Tribune Co., is betting that it's first app can beat news radio.

On Thursday, the company launched Newsbeat, an mobile news app that delivers audio streaming of about 7,000 stories every day from Tribune-owned newspapers and websites including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune as well as partner publications. The free app is being marketed as "perfect for commuters."

The app uses a blend of human voiceovers and text-to-speech technology to deliver the news. In short, it's like someone reading the news stories out loud to you while you drive your car, go for a run or sit on the subway. 

Nevermind the radio. Tribune Digital Ventures' app assumes consumers would prefer news tailored for them than listen to NPR or other morning and afternoon news radio shows. Listeners can personalize their experience by selecting the publications they like, topics they're interested in and pick news sections based on their levels of interest. They can also navigate back if they miss a part of a story or skip stories that don't interest them, the company says. 

The app can be paired with Bluetooth to listen in the car. And the app can also receive local weather and traffic updates throughout show segments. 

However, listeners won't be spared from ads. Newsbeat will be supported by audio advertising inserted throughout the news segments, the Tribune Co says. And since Newsbeat will have gleaned important information about its users, those ads could be targeted to listeners. 

— By on March 20, 2014, 9:30 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure