by Joe Lonergan
Do you like listening to news narrated by a professional reader? Well, Alexa has a skill for that, and it’s called Noa!
Noa stands for News Over Audio. The Noa Alexa skill allows you to listen to narrated articles of your favourite journalists, publishers, and categories.
It claims to have content from over 1,500 journalists and publications and all articles are human narrated. So, if you are into the Irish Times or the New York Times you should find something to suit your taste.
You can enable Noa in the Alexa app on your smartphone or try saying “Alexa enable Noa”. In my experience, I found I had to spell out the word Noa for the speaker to understand me. Once the Skill is launched, it seems to work well with the occasional glitch.
Try some of the following phrases:
- “Alexa, ask Noa to play the Irish Times”.
- “Alexa, ask Noa to play the latest content”.
Alternatively, you can wait for Noa to prompt you and just say latest content, Bloomberg, New York Times, or say a journalist’s name you like, and it will search for the latest content from that journalist. This skill will suit anyone who likes their news in long-form content similar to a podcast.
Noa has a companion app available on smartphones too. The app allows you to set up a profile and select your interests. The app is usable, but it could be better as some buttons are not labelled. But at least all the titles of the articles are read allowed with VoiceOver and when you double tap on the headline or title it plays straight away. You can pause the article with a double tap with two fingers, otherwise known as the magic touch gesture.
You can link the app to Alexa by going to the Alexa app and then Skills and Games and searching for Noa. Here you can tap on a link to the app. When you download the app first you get 7 days complimentary use of the app to listen to as many articles as you like. Then there is a premium option which is €76 per year, or you can decide to pay monthly.
At the moment I am using the Skill and I have access to up to 10 free articles per week. Time will tell if they persuade me to go premium but for now, I recommend this Skill, and news in this form is good for people with sight loss who want easy access to the latest journalism and news narrated by a professional reader.