Monday, July 11, 2016

Prepare for the Video Robot Deluge

The New York Times ran a piece yesterday on the surge in online video and how news and magazine publishers are marshaling all sorts of resources—including semi- or fully-automated video generation tools—to churn out more of it.

It talks about the much-derided announcement from tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) that it aspires to ratchet up from producing a few hundred videos to 2,000 . . . per day. And it talks about the rising prospects of two tech companies with eminently silly names—Wochit and Wibbitz—that offer automated services that scan the text of a script or news article, automatically find corresponding images and video clips from subscription archives, and generate on screen captions. They can even—if desired—produce complete videos with no human intervention.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Click-Baiting Editors and Barbecue Lists

Yes, I do actually think Cannon's is one of the best BBQ
joints in the Carolinas. And the South for that matter.
The Fourth of July is upon us, which means the Internet is awash with barbecue listicles. Time just ran two such pieces, but they carry a lot more weight than most such roundups because of who wrote them. The authors aren't fresh-out-of-college Millennials leaning primarily on Google and Yelp but two experienced writers with estimable barbecue credentials and a whole lot of pulled pork and brisket under their belts. But you wouldn't know that from the headlines that the editors slapped on the pieces.

The first one promises to name "The 8 Best BBQ Spots in the Carolinas." If you read the copy that follows, though, it's clear that the author, Rien Fertel, set out with a more limited scope: "In the eastern Carolinas," Fertel writes. "Tradition dictates that barbecue pitmasters go the whole hog."

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