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