Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, September 01, 2021

If you’ve ever wondered how one scripts an audiobook adaption, writer Sidney Williams provides an inside peek:

Step one is adapting expository material to dialog. “Look there’s a green streak in the sky. It’s going down behind those hills.”

To punctuate that you need an appropriate sound effect, not unlike those Thwapps I was talking about earlier.


I approached the adaptation of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, now available at Audible.com and on iTunes, the way I approached comics. Tell the story - don’t worry where the word balloons go.

Or in audio terms, write the sound effects needed, let the sound artists worry about the rest.

This specific comics technique is the Marvel style, which is built upon a writer-and-artist collaborative effort at plotting. Contrast that with the DC style, which relies upon a more traditional writer-first, artist-second storyline development. Check out a side-by-side comparison of the two methods.

The issue of who should be the driving force in a collaborative work — not only comics, but music, movies, etc. — is an oft-revisited tug-of-war. In film, a writer often resigns him/herself to punching out the script, then watching as it gets butchered tweaked by director, actor, etc. That’s a linear, almost assembly-line approach. In other mediums, the evolution comes more gradually. A constant struggle, even when relatively friendly.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/01/2021 07:09:31 PM
Category: Publishing, Creative | Permalink | Feedback

stars are blind
Finally, signs of a pulse in National Hockey League marketing, at least on a team level. The Dallas Stars are using their new ad campaign to trash-talk on the other three major-pro sports leagues.

Notably, the NHL squad is taking aim at the NBA’s well-documented referee scandal:

As part of the team’s “come into the cold” ad campaign to sell seats for 2007-08, the Stars took a shot at the NBA’s referee scandal on a billboard near the American Airlines Center, the building the Stars share with the Dallas Mavericks.

The message? “The only thing our refs shave is the ice.”

No hard feelings from Dallas’ hoops king, Mark Cuban, who admires the attempt at edginess. Of course, given his track record as a maverick (pun intended), it would have been a shock if he had expressed raised hackles.

Besides, it’s not just basketball that the Stars are picking on:

The campaign, dreamt up by the Stars and Austin, Texas ad agency Door Number 3, is aimed at conveying the toughness of hockey players in an edgy style. One board reads “One game a week? Is the N in NFL for Nancy?” the [Dallas] Morning News reported.

Even baseball was not immune, despite the fact Stars owner Tom Hicks also owns the Texas Rangers: Another billboard reads “Maybe baseball should stop using the word sacrifice,” according to the Morning News.

It’s about time a hockey team got proactive about selling its wares. Anything to attract attention. It’s not like the other leagues are going to strike back — apathy for hockey does enough of a job. Why not adopt this tone on a league-wide level, without overdoing it of course? The NHL’s got nowhere to go but up, and with the image problems basketball and football have suffered this summer, there’ll never be a better opportunity to generate attractive PR.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/01/2021 06:34:53 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Hockey | Permalink | Feedback

making the news
Instead of merely pointing to other news sites, Google News is now actually hosting stories from the Associated Press and other wire-service sources.

The shift is being spun as an effort to reduce the online clutter that comes from aggregating a bunch of duplicate wire editions:

Our goal has always been to offer users as many different perspectives on a story from as many different sources as possible, which is why we include thousands of sources from around the world in Google News. However, if many of those stories are actually the exact same article, it can end up burying those different perspectives. Enter “duplicate detection.” Duplicate detection means we’ll be able to display a better variety of sources with less duplication. Instead of 20 “different” articles (which actually used the exact same content), we’ll show the definitive original copy and give credit to the original journalist. (We launched a similar feature in Sort-by-Date and got great feedback about it.) Of course, if you want to see all the duplicates on other publisher websites with additional analysis and context, they’re only a click away.

By removing duplicate articles from our results, we’ll be able to surface even more stories and viewpoints from journalists and publishers from around the world. This change will provide more room on Google News for publishers’ most highly valued content: original content. Previously, some of this content could be harder to find on Google News, and as a result of this change, you’ll have easier access to more of this content, and publishers will likely receive more traffic to their original content.

Personally, I’ve used Google News to hunt out the link to a (hopefully) more permanent online archive of an AP story, thus reducing linkrot on this blog. I’ve found USA Today to be the most reliable destination for that purpose. Will Google’s self-hosing replace that? It would follow their company line of generally never losing anything that’s published online. On the other hand, a future contract spat with the AP, Agence France-Presse, or any other news service could dash that.

I have a hard time believing that Google’s going to keep these pages ad-free — or rather, AdSense-free. That’s tied to a further, underlying reason for this move:

Despite Google’s dominance in search, its news section lags behind several other rivals. In July, Google News attracted 9.6 million visitors compared with Yahoo News’ industry-leading audience of 33.8 million, according to comScore Media Metrix.

Yahoo Inc., along with other major Web sites such as Microsoft Corp.’s MSN and Time Warner Inc.’s AOL, have been featuring AP material for years.

Which leads to perhaps the bigger picture: Google’s now set itself up as the content-destination site, instead of just the pass-through linker. It’s a clear shift from being “just” the search gateway. Now, it’s even more completely become a portal, just like Yahoo! and its other rivals.

True, Google Groups and other offshoots have hosted original content for years. But this is a more fundamental shift: Google has, in effect, become a media publisher. Despite claims of benefiting newspapers and other news sites by accentuating their proprietary reporting, I don’t think it can deny becoming a competitor in the news-service sector. And naturally, Google won’t have to cut in news partners for a share of AdSense revenue.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/01/2021 05:23:47 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Business | Permalink | Feedback