Providing second-screen play-by-play of Oscars

scott.jpgI'm not sure it quite worked, but NYT film critic A.O. Scott and columnist David Carr did a kind of "Mystery Science Theater" during the Oscar ceremony, illustrating the ways in which different kinds of media can intermingle during big events. Sitting behind an anchor desk in the paper's newsroom (you could see staffers throughout the night), they commented on the winners, the show, the state of Hollywood - most everything Oscar. From the Nieman Journalism Lab:

It also represents the next step for the Times as it expands its coverage of live events and tries new approaches to second-screen viewing. On, the video was only one component of a lively Oscars page that included live discussion with Times reporters and critics, photography, social media, and an interactive Oscar ballot. The classic second-screen scenario involves sitting on the couch with a smartphone or tablet, and the Times' Oscar efforts shined in its app for iPhone and iPad, where you could literally have Scott & Carr in the palm of your hand while you watched a snappy show tune about, well, boobs -- you watching the show tune, Scott & Carr watching the show tune, you watching Scott & Carr, Scott & Carr reading your tweets. "It was built as a mobile experience from jump, and that was the whole idea," Carr told me Monday. That appears to be where people spent most of their time Oscar night. More than half the traffic to the Oscars dashboard came from mobile, Fiona Spruill, the Times emerging platforms editor, said.

The webcast reminded me a little of how local TV stations used to cover live events in the 50s and 60s: A couple of white guys yammering in between long periods of dead air (Carr described their approach as "incredibly seat of the pants"). Working under the aegis of the New York Times was no doubt an inhibitor (at one point Scott wasn't sure whether it was all right to say "boobs"). In other words, I don't see the paper reaching out to Kathy Griffin. But I do see the Times and others raising the stakes in the webcast arena.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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