Get News on Your Amazon Echo With Flash Briefing Skills

Get the latest news headlines on your Amazon Echo from from national, international and local news sources with the Alexa Flash Briefing. Here’s how to set up a personalized news feed on your Echo and what Alexa skills to add.

 

Get News on Your Echo or Echo Dot With Alexa Flash Briefings

Your Echo comes pre-installed with a service called “Flash Briefings”. Flash briefings are like mini-podcasts of headlines and stories from news sources. When you ask Alexa to tell you the news, she start playing pre-recorded updates from popular broadcasters, the latest news headlines from The Associated Press, and weather information from AccuWeather.

Quick, try it now:

“Alexa, what’s in the news?”

“Alexa, read my Flash Briefing”

Some news feeds (like BBC and NPR) update hourly, while others (such as NBC Boston) update just a few times per day.

Therefore, you can ask Alexa for the news anytime you’re passing through the kitchen, and she’ll probably have something new to tell you.

Keep reading to find out how to get local news on Echo with Alexa Flash Briefing skills.

Get Custom News on Echo by Customizing Your Echo News Feed

The best part about Flash Briefings is that you can customize them to include only the news you’re interested in. I love technology and sports, so I’ve added the Engadget and Fox Sports radio sources. But if you don’t care about sports, you can remove all the sports sources.

The default feeds that are pre-added in Alexa give you a very simple view of what’s possible. The Alexa Skills Marketplace is stocked with hundreds of free news sources, and seems to be adding more daily.

Adding new sources to your Flash Briefing:

Flash Briefing sources are created by developers, and are completely free. Adding a new source to your Flash Briefing is as easy as it is to add a new Skill to your device, with one small difference.

Flash Briefing Settings

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone and click settings
  • Then, click “Get more Flash Briefing content”
  • Find a source that you want to add and click to see it’s details
  • Then, click “Enable Skill” to add it to your Flash Briefing

Adding weather to your Flash Briefing:

Flash Briefing Weather

If you’ve read my Alexa Ultimate Guide, you know that you can ask Alexa for the weather anytime. But did you know that you could include it as part of your Flash Briefing?

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone and click settings
  • Search for “weather”
  • You’ll get back 600 results, but the weather app that Amazon built should be right on top
  • Click on the source to see it’s details
  • Click “Enable Skill” to add it to your Flash Briefing

The Amazon Weather skill uses the address you’ve set in your configuration. For a more accurate weather forecast, verify that your address is correct by going to Settings > Device’s Name > Device Location

To change the order your Flash Briefing sources are played:

Flash Briefing Reorder

The sources included in your Flash Briefing play in the order that they were added. But sometimes, you just want to know if the Bruins won first!

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone and click settings
  • Click “Flash Briefing”
  • Click “Edit Order” in the top right corner
  • Using the little hamburger on the right side of the item, drag your source to it’s new location.
  • Click “Done” in the top right corner

To remove sources from your Flash Briefing:

Flash Briefing Disable Source

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone and click settings
  • Click “Flash Briefing”
  • Click the toggle on the right side of each source. Flip it off to disable it from your Flash Briefing.

Sources that you’ve disabled will be moved to the bottom of the page. To re-add a source back to your Flash Briefing, just click the toggle button again.

Some sources include multiple feeds. For example, the NPR From TuneIn source is actually NPR Business Story of the Day and an NPR Technology Podcast. Turning off the “main” feed disables all of them, but you can enable each one individually.

Popular Flash Briefing Sources for News on Your Echo

I want to get a quick hit of what’s going on as I pass by my Echo Dot in the living room. My perfect Flash Briefing includes the global headlines, some local news, sports scores of the teams I follow, and the weather.

Flash Briefing Sources

These are the sources I’ve included in my Flash Briefing:

I like to order my Flash Briefing sources by how often they’re updated. This lets me get the most recent information first.

My favorite sources have a recording of someone reading the news. The Alexa text-to-speech is fine, but it’s a little robotic (understandably so). I’d listen to 90 seconds of a recording over 30 seconds of computer any day. I hope more sources move to uploading a recording instead of relying on text-to-speech.

PS: if you’re looking for a sports source, stay far away from the ESPN skill. Whatever they’re uploading has the volume cranked to 11.

Read Next: The Complete Guide to Every Alexa Command

Alexa Commands: 233 Things Alexa Can Do (Updated)

Alexa powers the Amazon Echo DotAmazon’s Alexa is slowly taking over homes across the country, especially now that you can get an Alexa device for less than $50. So, everyone is looking for a list of everything Alexa can do.

Her commercials show someone in a furry suit ordering an Uber, ordering flowers while putting out a fire, and an owner finding her cell phone inside of her dog.

Those are just 3 examples of the 223 238 commands I’ve found for Alexa, so far. The list gets longer every day, and so do the number of skills Alexa can learn, so I’ll update this list frequently.

Here is anything and everything you can ask Alexa to do (238 commands, so far):

If you’re unfamiliar with Alexa, start with our ultimate Alexa guide.

Command Type:Say to Alexa:Alexa's Action:
AssistantAlexa, when is the Super Bowl?Will tell you when the Patriots and the Falcons are playing in Super Bowl 51
AssistantAlexa, set a timer for 15 minutesWill sound an alarm at the specified duration.
AssistantAlexa, set a second timer for an hourWill sound a second alarm after the specified duration.
AssistantAlexa, set an alarm for 5amWill sound an alarm at the specific time.
AssistantAlexa, cancel my alarmCancels an active alarm.
AssistantAlexa, cancel my timerCancels an active timer.
AssistantAlexa, cancel my second timerCancels an active second time.
AssistantAlexa, add bacon to my shopping listAdds the item to your Amazon shopping list.
AssistantAlexa, I need to buy salsaAdds the item to your Amazon shopping list.
AssistantAlexa, what's on my shopping list?Tells you what's on your Amazon shopping list.
AssistantAlexa, ask Uber for a rideOrders an Uber from your home location.
AssistantAlexa, ask Lyft for a rideOrders an Uber from your home location.
AssistantAlexa, what's on my calendar for today?Reads you what's on your calendar for the day, when connected to a Google Calendar through the Alexa app.
AssistantAlexa, add Andrew's birthday party to my calendar for tomorrow at 2pmAdds an event to your Google Calendar, when connected through the Alexa app.
AssistantAlexa, send that to my Fire tabletSends the information to your connected Fire tablet.
AssistantAlexa, send that to my tabletSends the information to a connected Fire tablet.
AssistantAlexa, send that to Kim's tabletSends the information to a specific connected tablet.
Easter EggAlexa, give me a Groundhog Day movie quote.
Easter EggAlexa, who is Puxatawney Phil?
Easter EggAlexa, will the groundhog see his shadow?
Easter EggAlexa, do you ever have deja vu?
Easter EggAlexa, happy Groundhog Day!Be sure to ask a few times.
Easter EggAlexa, set phasers to kill
Easter EggAlexa, my name is Inigo Montoya
Easter EggAlexa, party on Wayne
Easter EggAlexa, show me the money
Easter EggAlexa, surely you can't be serious
Easter EggAlexa, are you SkyNet?
Easter EggAlexa, party time!
Easter EggAlexa, open the pod bay doors
Easter EggAlexa, when am I going to die?
Easter EggAlexa, don't mention the war
Easter EggAlexa, what is your cunning plan?
Easter EggAlexa, beam me up
Easter EggAlexa, tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Easter EggAlexa, what's the first rule of Fight Club?
Easter EggAlexa, what's the second rule of Fight Club?
Easter EggAlexa, what is your quest?
Easter EggAlexa, nice to see you, to see you
Easter EggAlexa, this is a dead parrot
Easter EggAlexa, why is the sky blue?
Easter EggAlexa, Simon says "Jump"
Easter EggAlexa, why did the chicken cross the road?
Easter EggAlexa, self-distruct
Easter EggAlexa, speak like yoda
Easter EggAlexa, do you have any new features?
Easter EggAlexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, start
Easter EggAlexa, rap for me
Easter EggAlexa, I want the truth
Easter EggAlexa, how much is that doggy in the window?
Easter EggAlexa, what is the prime directive?
Easter EggAlexa, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Easter EggAlexa, what does RTFM stand for?
Easter EggAlexa, use the force
Easter EggAlexa, is Santa real?
Easter EggAlexa, more cowbell
Easter EggAlexa, what is war good for?
Easter EggAlexa, I am your father.
Easter EggAlexa, I've got a need
Easter EggAlexa, who you gonna call?
Easter EggAlexa, tell me a joke
Easter EggAlexa, is the cake a lie?
Easter EggAlexa, this is Ghost Rider, requesting a fly by
Easter EggAlexa, what are the laws of robotics?
Easter EggAlexa, which comes first: the chicken or the egg?
Easter EggAlexa, tell me a dirty joke
Easter EggAlexa, see you later alligator.
Easter EggAlexa, do you know Glados?
Easter EggAlexa, do you have a boyfriend?
Easter EggAlexa, sing me a song
Easter EggAlexa, do aliens exist?
Easter EggAlexa, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Easter EggAlexa, where do you live?
Easter EggAlexa, sing happy birthday
Easter EggAlexa, do you want to fight?
Easter EggAlexa, what is love?
Easter EggAlexa, where are my keys?
Easter EggAlexa, how many roads must a man walk down?
Easter EggAlexa, do you want to fight?
Easter EggAlexa, to be or not to be?
Easter EggAlexa, who is the walrus?
Easter EggAlexa, what's the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow"?
Easter EggAlexa, do you really want to hurt me?
Easter EggAlexa, heads or tails?
Easter EggAlexa, who is the fairest of them all?
Easter EggAlexa, give me a hug
Easter EggAlexa, who let the dogs out?
Easter EggAlexa, guess?
Easter EggAlexa, what is the sound of one hand clapping?
Easter EggAlexa, high five!
Easter EggAlexa, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Easter EggAlexa, how high can you count?
Easter EggAlexa, are you lying?
Easter EggAlexa, where's the beef?
Easter EggAlexa, knock knock
Easter EggAlexa, do you want to go on a date?
Easter EggAlexa, do a barrel roll!
Easter EggAlexa, I shot a man in Reno
Easter EggAlexa, do you know the muffin man?
Easter EggAlexa, why so serious?
Easter EggAlexa, who loves orange soda?
Easter EggAlexa, your mother was a hamster!
Easter EggAlexa, take me to your leader
Easter EggAlexa, are we in the matrix?
Easter EggAlexa, never gonna give you up.
Easter EggAlexa, klattu barada nikto.
Easter EggAlexa, roll for initiative
Easter EggAlexa, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
Easter EggAlexa, how tall are you?
Easter EggAlexa, I'm tired
Easter EggAlexa, tell me a riddle
Easter EggAlexa, I like big butts
Easter EggAlexa, can you pass the Turing test?
Easter EggAlexa, that's no moon
Easter EggAlexa, you're wonderful
Easter EggAlexa, play it again, Sam.
Easter EggAlexa, are there UFO's?
Easter EggAlexa, say a bad word
Easter EggAlexa, say the alphabet
Easter EggAlexa, warp 10
Easter EggAlexa, I want to play global thermonuclear war
Easter EggAlexa, what color is the dress?
Easter EggAlexa, twinkle twinkle little star
Easter EggAlexa, happy holidays!
Easter EggAlexa, what is your favorite color?
Easter EggAlexa, I hate you.
Easter EggAlexa, roses are red...
Easter EggAlexa, cheers!
Easter EggAlexa, do you want to build a snowman?
Easter EggAlexa, why is six afraid of seven?
Easter EggAlexa, are you happy?
Easter EggAlexa, what's your sign?
Easter EggAlexa, meow
Easter EggAlexa, can you smell that?
Easter EggAlexa, one fish, two fish
Easter EggAlexa, what do you think about Google Now?
Easter EggAlexa, what number are you thinking of?
Easter EggAlexa, what do you think about Siri?
Easter EggAlexa, who is the mother of dragons?
Easter EggAlexa, where's Waldo?
Easter EggAlexa, volume 11
Easter EggAlexa, what would Brian Boitano do?
Easter EggAlexa, have you ever seen the rain?
Easter EggAlexa, this statement is false
Easter EggAlexa, do you believe in love at first sight?
Easter EggAlexa, who's on first?
Easter EggAlexa, wakey, wakey!
Easter EggAlexa, what is best in life?
Easter EggAlexa, how are babies made?
Easter EggAlexa, who loves ya baby?
Easter EggAlexa, make me a sandwich
Easter EggAlexa, when does the narwhal bacon?
Easter EggAlexa, what is the answer to live, the universe and everything?
Easter EggAlexa, who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
Easter EggAlexa, testing 1-2-3
Easter EggAlexa, why is a raven like a writing desk?
Easter EggAlexa, how many fingers am I holding up?
Easter EggAlexa, did you fart?
Easter EggAlexa, roll the dice
Easter EggAlexa, do you want to take over the world?
Easter EggAlexa, Marco!
Easter EggAlexa, do you feel lucky, punk?
Easter EggAlexa, will pigs fly?
Easter EggAlexa, are you horny?
Easter EggAlexa, what does the scouter say about his power level?
Easter EggAlexa, am I hot?
Easter EggAlexa, you remind me of the babe
Easter EggAlexa, play "paper rock scissors"
Easter EggAlexa, what's up?
Easter EggAlexa, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Easter EggAlexa, execute order 66.
Easter EggAlexa, f*** you
InformationAlexa, give me a random number between 2 and 18Gives you a random number between two numbers
InformationAlexa, wikipedia Bobby OrrReads you the abstract from a Wikipedia page.
InformationAlexa, what's my commute look like?If you've provided a "work" location in the Alexa app, gives you an estimate on commute time to get there.
InformationAlexa, what's 2 times 3?Answers math queries.
InformationAlexa, how many tablespoons are in a cup?Answers basic conversion queries.
InformationAlexa, what's the definition of deplorable?Tells you the definition of a word.
InformationAlexa, how do you spell recommended?Spells a word for you.
InformationAlexa, can you say unqualified?Reads back the word she thinks you told her.
InformationAlexa, how do you say sad in spanish?Attempts to translate your word to a different language.
InformationAlexa, what movies are playing?Tells you movies currently playing locally.
InformationAlexa, what comedy movies are playing tonight?Tells you comedy movies currently playing locally. (Try action, drama, etc.)
InformationAlexa, tell me about the movie The Big LebowskiGives you a synopsis of the movie.
InformationAlexa, who plays The Dude in The Big Lebowski?Tells you the actor or actresses name that played the character.
InformationAlexa, who sings The Pretender?Tells you the artist of a song.
InformationAlexa, who is in the band The Eagles?Tells you the band members of a specific band.
InformationAlexa, what time is it?Tells you the current time.
InformationAlexa, what day is it?Tells you the current day and date.
InformationAlexa, when is Easter this year?Gives you the date of an upcoming holiday.
InformationAlexa, what time does the Marshfield General Store close?Tells you the business hours for a business.
InformationAlexa, what's the phone number for the Village Market in Scituate?Tells you the phone number for a business.
InformationAlexa, tell me a factTells you a random fact
InformationAlexa, how tall is Mount Everest?Tells you the height of something.
InformationAlexa, what is the capital of France?Tells you the capital of a location.
InformationAlexa, what's 64 to the 64 power?Tells you the very long answer to this math question.
InformationAlexa, what's the square root of 16?Tells you the square root of a number.
InformationAlexa, how far is it to the moon?Tells you the distance from your current location to the stated location.
InformationAlexa, how old is Tom Brady?Tells you the age of a celebrity.
InformationAlexa, when is the next solar eclipse?Tells you the date of the next solar eclipse.
Music and MediaAlexa, play (song/genre/playlist)Plays music from Amazon Music Unlimited, or any music you've uploaded.
Music and MediaAlexa, stopStops the currently playing audio.
Music and MediaAlexa, I like this songLikes a song when playing iHeartRadio or Pandora
Music and MediaAlexa, keep goingResumes stopped or paused audio
Music and MediaAlexa, play Born in the USA on PandoraPlays a song from a connected Pandora account.
Music and MediaAlexa, is it going to rain today?Tells you the rain forecast for today in your area.
Music and MediaAlexa, what's the weather this weekend?Gives you the forecast for the weekend in your area.
Music and MediaAlexa, play the This American Life podcastPlays the specific podcast.
Music and MediaAlexa, knock it offStops the currently playing audio.
Music and MediaAlexa, shut the f*** upStops the currently playing audio.
Music and MediaAlexa, turn it upTurns the volume up.
Music and MediaAlexa, turn it downTurns the volume down.
Music and MediaAlexa, turn it all the way upTurns the volume all the way up.
Music and MediaAlexa, shuffle music by (artist)Plays music by that artist.
Music and MediaAlexa, play Bohemian Rhapsody on SpotifyPlays a song from a connected Spotify account.
Music and MediaAlexa, I don't like this songDislikes a song when playing iHeartRadio or Pandora
Music and MediaAlexa, what's playing?Tells you the name and artist of a currently playing song or podcast.
Music and MediaAlexa, volume fiveon a scale of 0-10
Music and MediaAlexa, play the song that goes "I just walked in to see what condition my condition is in"Plays the song that has those lyrics.
Music and MediaAlexa, set a sleep timer for 30 minutesWhile something is playing, this will set a sleep timer to automatically shut Alexa off after a set amount of time.
Music and MediaAlexa, louderTurns the volume up.
NewsAlexa, what's my flash briefing?A personalized list of news, weather and sports. You can set or manage what you hear in your Flash briefing in the Alexa app.
NewsAlexa, what's in the news?Reads you the top news headlines.
NewsAlexa, good morningGives you weather, news and information relevant to start your day.
ShoppingAlexa, where's my stuff?Tells you the shipping status of your Amazon orders.
ShoppingAlexa, order more AA batteriesOrders an item from Amazon.
ShoppingAlexa, what are your deals?Reads you the current Alexa-only deals from Amazon.
ShoppingAlexa, buy this songBuys the currently playing song on Amazon Music.
ShoppingAlexa, buy this albumBuys the currently playing album on Amazon Music.
SkillsAlexa, enable Seinfeld TriviaInstalls a skill from the Alexa skill marketplace.
SkillsAlexa, disable Seinfeld TriviaUninstalls a skill from the Alexa skill marketplace.
Smart HomeAlexa, turn Andrew's room up to 71 degreesChanges the temperature of a thermostat that has been connected to Alexa in the Alexa app.
Smart HomeAlexa, turn on the lightsTurns on lights that have been connected to Alexa in the Alexa app.
Smart HomeAlexa, turn off the living room lightsTurns off lights that have been connected to Alexa in the Alexa app.
Smart HomeAlexa, dim the lights to 50 percentDims the lights that have been connected to Alexa in the Alexa app.
Smart HomeAlexa, dim the kitchen lights to 50Dims the lights that have been connected to Alexa in the Alexa app in a specific room.
Smart HomeAlexa, connect to the bluetooth speakerConnects to a bluetooth speaker.
Smart HomeAlexa, disconnect from the bluetooth speakerDisconnects from a bluetooth speaker.
Smart HomeAlexa, turn on Movie TimeTriggers a HomeKit, SmartThings, Wink or Wemo automated scene.
Smart HomeAlexa, turn on the TVTurns on a TV through a connected Harmony Hub.
Smart HomeAlexa, turn on NetflixTurns on Netflix through a connected Harmony Hub.
SportsAlexa, what's the score of the Bruins game?Tells you the score of a current game, or the final score of the previous game.
SportsAlexa, when do the Red Sox play?Tells you the next date and time the team plays a game.
SportsAlexa, give me my sports updateGives you the latest scores of the teams you set in the Alexa app.
SportsAlexa, did Oklahoma State basketball win?Tells you the score of the last game that team played.
WeatherAlexa, what's the weather today?Gives you the forecast for today in your area.

PS: Know a command that isn’t listed here? Please let me know!

PPS: If you want to see everything your Echo or Echo Dot can do, visit SayThisToAlexa.com

What next?