Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.
Although you can probably read a lot quicker than you can listen, sometimes it’s just too much effort to stare at your phone screen to read a long-form article after a hard day at work staring at your computer screen.
Maybe you catch yourself drifting off, your mind wanders to the weird corners of your brain, or you’re just bored of the sound of the voice in your head — and of course, you can’t read all the time.
There’s a whole selection of apps that make news more accessible and engaging. There are paid subscription services like Curio, Noa, and Narro, or free services including The Atlantic’s SoundCloud library with audio versions of their articles, and a wide selection of stories on Medium are free to listen to, until you’ve reached your monthly limit.
If you’re only interested in a free service to listen to today’s top news, Pocket is an app available on iOS, Android, and desktop, that allows you to listen to a wide selection of articles from publications including The New York Magazine, Wired, and MIT Technology Review.
To download Pocket and listen to articles all you have to do is:
- Head to your app store, be that Android or iOS, or simply visit Pocket’s website on desktop
- Create an account using an email and password
- Choose whether you want a free account or PocketPremium. (A free account allows you to save, read, watch, and listen to content on the app — but it’s a limited selection than the premium account. But if you opt for the upgraded account, for either £3.99 or £34.99 per year, you’ll have an ad-free experience, a wider range of fonts, a permanent library, and a powerful search bar to find topics you’re interested in, suggested tags, and unlimited highlighting).
- Once you’ve selected your account preference, head to the home page.
- On this page, a timeline will appear showing news in chronological order from various publications.
- Simply click an article, and select the headphone icon to begin listening.
While Pocket does exactly what it says on the label, the voice of the audible article is robotic with barely any emotion, making it harder to fully immerse yourself in the story.
Luckily, there are some paid alternatives that provide a better experience. One of the best choices is Audm, a subscription giving you daily, curated pieces of long-form journalism read aloud by voice actors available on both iOS and Android devices.
How does Audm work?
Launched in 2016, Audm works with dozens of publishers giving you access to thousands of stories from sites including The New Yorker, ProPublica, Wired, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed News, and more.
Firstly, it’s good to know that Audm is subscription based, and while the app is free to download, you can’t start listening to articles unless you sign up for a $7 per month plan or a $5 per month. However, there is a three-day free trial but this option doesn’t allow much room for you to cancel before the first payment comes out.
If you decide to subscribe to the audible-articles app, depending on what device you have, you can download the app from the app store.
Once downloaded and subscribed, you’ll have immediate access to a diverse catalogue of publishers, 49 to be exact — from Forbes to more niche publications like The Bitter Southerner.
As outlined by LifeHacker, Audm doesn’t release daily stories from every outlet. For example, the Outside Magazine only had a small collection of available articles whereas The New Yorker delivers a larger selection of news weekly.
With this in mind, Audm will introduce you to new articles, publications, and potential interests you never knew you even had — and there should be enough to pass the time on your daily commute.
Since Audm has a huge selection of daily stories, and there’s probably no way you can listen to them all, the app allows you to listen on the go with CarPlay, an app that takes the things you want to do with your iPhone while driving and puts them on your car’s built-in display.
However, playback controls are limited allowing only a 15-second skip back and forward, alongside a speed toggle tool to speed up an article if you really want to know all the details quickly.
Not only does Audm allow you to listen to articles whenever you’re on the move, it makes long-form journalism more accessible to people who have difficulty reading and those who are visually impaired.
With a bunch of free and paid versions of audio-apps out there, there’s really no excuse to not know what’s going on in the world.
Pssst, hey you!
Do you want to get the sassiest daily tech newsletter every day, in your inbox, for FREE? Of course you do: sign up for Big Spam here.