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March 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the latest in tailor-made media — an app being launched today (Thursday) by the Tribune Company that reads a customized newscast to commuters. In some cases the voice reading the news is human; in others, it’s robotic. The app, dubbed “Newsbeat,” also determines the location of the listener and provides time, weather, and traffic updates. The app is free, but users will have to put up with a commercial every ten minutes or so that they won’t be able to fast-forward or skip. That’s not the case with the news stories, however. In fact the app reportedly will learn what listeners are most interested in by analyzing which stories they skip, which they listen to partially, and which they pay attention to throughout. The app is the first to be released by Tribune Digital Ventures, but initial reports did not indicate whether resources of the Tribune newspapers or television stations are being employed in its implementation. Today’s Los Angeles Times, which is owned by Tribune, said that Tribune Digital Ventures is talking to automakers about outfitting cars with Newsbeat.