Monday, February 19, 2007

Now hear this ...

Catching up on some back reading, and in another space has been a thread about newspapers starting to provide audio versions of their stories using text-to-speech technology.

Here's an example.

It sounds just weird enough to be off-putting for me.

And you know, turning the newspaper into radio -- bad radio -- may be OK for those who are sight impaired, but I'm not sure it accomplishes for the rest of us what is intended. Just running the paper through some software to produce audio has that "cheap" feel about it and produces something much less memorable than the original story (think how much of your typical radio broadcast you really remember) -- even if it is the original story being read. In fact, that's the problem; those stories really are not designed to be read out loud, but in your brain.

If you are truly aiming at that audience that's rushing around then maybe it's better to rewrite the thing into briefs at least -- something with a little more substance than the typical radio story, but not much. Something like the Wall Street Journal podcasts (this link via Mobilcast)

Anyhow, some links to companies doing it: It uses voice talent.

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At 2/20/07, 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the majority of the video before I had to shut it off. It was a little too PR for me. I agree with you, it makes me a little uneasy. I completely understand what they're trying to do. They're doing what Farrand has preached since the first day of CR, being aware of their readers and bringing them into the paper. It makes sense. But, I'm just not sure they really know what they're doing yet. I'm sure it will become better as the time goes on. I agree completely with you on the "Help us investigate" portion. My immediate thought was "really?" You know that every single person is going to send in what they think is a "tip" and they're just going to get flooded with silly things. It seems more counterproductive than anything else.
I guess it's a step in the right direction because multimedia is happening whether we like it or not.


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