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Hey Listen! A New Way to Experience Tyee Stories

We’re testing out audio versions of our work. Tell us what you think!

Em Cooper 29 Aug 2022TheTyee.ca

Em Cooper is the outreach manager at The Tyee and a standup comedian.

I have a secret.

I don’t read every single story that we publish.

There, I said it.

I’ve worked for The Tyee for over three years now on the biz side of the team, and my respect for the integrity, smarts and thoughtfulness of our journalists, editors and contributors just keeps getting deeper and deeper. However, I can’t always find the time and focus to ingest each story.

While this could be related to my ADHD or the fact that I have lots of projects on the go, I don’t think I am alone in this. As our outreach manager, I regularly talk to the Tyee Builders who support us, and have heard some of you say, in apologetic tones, that you love our work, but you can’t always find the time to read it all. Life is busy and can get in the way of finishing even the most interesting of articles.

Audio has taken off as a medium, with folks listening to podcasts and audiobooks at increasing rates.

So we wanted to do a little experiment to see if folks would listen to audio versions of Tyee stories. We’re lucky to partner with local Vancouver tech startup Ad Auris to test-drive audio editions of our stories.

This test-drive starts today! If you want to listen for yourself, you can find the audio version of each Tyee story on our website, at the top of each story page, and via podcast players over the next few days as they individually approve us.

On our website, on desktop or mobile, you will see an embedded Ad Auris audio player on each Tyee story, just below the story’s first image. All you have to do is hit play and listen to our analysis, news and culture stories while you cook, clean and commute.

If you prefer listening via podcast players, we are sending our stories out there too. Search for The Tyee Audio Edition and you should see our new yellow logo pop up (as well as our old podcast from 2010!). If we are not on your preferred player, email us at info@thetyee.ca and we will work to get it on there.

Ad Auris is helping us bring our newsroom’s valuable reporting to you by scanning news stories and other text and converting them to AI-narrated audio. This does the work of an entire audio studio automatically which, for our small team, saves us time and money, and is allowing us to offer our in-depth journalism in a format that more folks can access.

As someone who enjoys audiobooks and podcasts, I’ve really loved listening to the narrated version of Tyee stories as we’ve tested out Ad Auris’s AI readings ahead of our launch today.

But just like we have many eagle-eyed folks who send in comments if we have a typo on our written stories, we will certainly have folks notice mispronounced words. Ad Auris is constantly working to make their AI more accurate, so the narration will continue to improve, particularly as they were selected to participate in the Google Cloud Accelerator Program, which will give them even more tools to improve the AI functionality.

Long-term, our plan is to connect with organizations that will help us confirm the correct pronunciation of proper nouns in our stories, such as Indigenous place names, and town and city names, so that we can update the AI. This is an evolving work-in-process.

If you do notice a mispronunciation, please send the word that was mispronounced, along with the link to the story, and, if possible, an audio recording of the correct way to pronounce it, to info@thetyee.ca. Or leave us a note in the comments.

We hope you will give our new audio versions a listen and offer constructive feedback. We’ll also accept selfies of you hiking, doing chores and living your life while listening to The Tyee as the soundtrack.  [Tyee]

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