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Morning Fix, Times Four - Catch Up On Your Daily Newspapers with Audible

This isn't about having a quadruple espresso to start the day smiling, unless it’s served with the morning news. I picture my ideal morning as sitting down for breakfast with enough time to peruse the news and feel the pulse of the world. What I once thought was an impossible dream, just got a little closer with and its news services.

I don't have three hours each morning to read through one or two daily newspapers. Unless you’re retired, an executive with free rein, or have a long train commute to work, it’s going to be hard to justify a subscription to any of these monsters. I either walk or drive to work, making reading a not so safe (nor smart) option. I also do not want to waste my precious screen time on general news (I reserve that for tech news).


'All I know is what I read in the papers' ~ Will Rogers

Thankfully, Audible rescued me from this dilemma. It is the modern-day version of 'Books on Tape'. There, you’ll find new and classic books read by professional actors (some by very famous actors like Jeremy Irons reading The Alchemist). But most of you already know that. What you may not know is that they also offer audio versions of many newspapers and magazines.

When time is precious, you want your information to be succinct and curated, which usually entails a fee. Audible (which is owned by Amazon and shares login credentials) offers several membership plans with a basic package at $15 a month (the one I use). For that you get monthly credit towards one book of your choice and a free subscription to either the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

For the past two years I have been listening to both of those papers. Each amounts to about an hour of audio and covers front page articles along with some sports (NYT) and editorial opinions - Krugman and others.


Thus, the information is as good as the paper’s, vetted and edited by seasoned staff and delivered early in the AM just like the physical version (I'll be honest here, living on the West Coast, I never tested how early). The WSJ even includes a weekend edition, unfortunately not the NYT. As I listen to both, I have to pay one of the yearly subscriptions out of my pocket as only one is included in the basic membership. Each cost around $70 a year (versus $30 or more a month for a physical subscription) but can also be bought by the month or individually.

Some first time listeners complain that the narration is monotonous and find themselves drifting off too easily. This may have been my initial experience but certainly not anymore. I listen to this exclusively on my phone via their Android application using headphones or plugged into my car stereo. The app offers links to your full library and keeps track of where you last left off. The UI is simple and intuitive with typical controls like textual bookmarks, moving back and forth between chapters, and a 30 second rewind button.


Now, about the four times, here's the kicker, I exclusively listen to the news at three time’s normal speed! That's the maximum offered. If Audible offered a four times playback speed, I'd be using it right now. Yeah, it’s a bit sad and definitely neurotic. The point is I don't have 2 hours every morning to listen to the news, but I still want to be in the know before I set foot into my cubicle.


Three times speed condenses the full two hours (both papers) into about 45 minutes. Whatever compression algorithm they use doesn't affect the pitch outrageously, nor does it completely clip silences. Matter of fact, It is so easy to listen to that I don't notice it anymore. If you try it for a few months, reverting to regular speed will sound comical, as if the narrator was reading to kindergartners (no offense meant).

So, I’m still not sitting down for breakfast, but definitely ‘listening’ to the pulse of the world every morning. I even quote stories of the day to colleagues who all look at me incredulous, undoubtedly wondering how I find the time to keep up with these publications.

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