This is kinda neat. The International Herald Tribune has started a service that allows you to select the stories you want to hear, and listen to or download them. Unfortunately I could not get the service to do what I expected/hoped/wanted. It’s in beta and does require registration; you can give it a whirl at http://audionews.iht.com.
You do need to register, but registration asks for only a user name, password, e-mail address, and statement of country. Once you’ve confirmed your registration via e-mail, You’ll be presented with a long list of categories and stories within each category (business, world, technology, top stories, etc.) For each story you can either listen to it (courtesy of text-to-speech company ReadSpeaker) or download it as an MP3 file. The voice reading the stories sounds a little rushed and sometimes words overlap a bit, but it’s quite listenable.
Here’s what I THOUGHT I could do with AudioNews. What I thought I could do was pick and choose the stories I want, and then get them all mooshed together in one podcast to which I could subscribe in iTunes. So I wandered through the headlines, picked a half-dozen stories of interest, and then went to the My Podcasts link to get the podcasts URL. And when I tried to open that podcast URL in iTunes, it didn’t work! The URL downloaded only one story.
I love this idea; I was hoping to find a utility that would allow me to put together a quick set of stories to which I could listen in the car or whatever. I even tried it in IE and it still didn’t work. I don’t know if I missed something, if this is a function of beta, or what. If anyone gets it to work let me know.