Better Transcriptions, Grumpy Alumni, And Video Quick Hits

We’ve had a busy summer here at Capstone HQ, but we took some time to put together an update with what we’ve been up to. Enjoy!

First, here are a few stories the Capstone team has worked on:

I also take on a few projects each quarter. Here’s a sample:

  • Do you want to hear my opinion on politics? OF COURSE YOU DON’T. You want to hear the opinions of Harvard Law professors who weigh in on the history of presidential power grabs.

  • It’s a business truism that you never want to be the smartest person in the room. When you’re interviewing a bunch of Phi Beta Kappa members for a story about the prestigious, brainy organization, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re the dummy in the equation. I was! It was delightful. My story for Albion here.

  • Many women (and a lot of men) have had to think about whether to change their names at marriage. Does it matter what we call ourselves? This story for Smith Alumnae Quarterly will make you appreciate the complexity of this process — and why, as a culture, we seem to care so much.

Now, on to a few other things we think you’ll love:

  • Check out our video series. Over the past few months, we’ve put together a bunch of short videos to improve your communications. We’ve shared ideas on headlines, covers, sources, and interviews. Missed any? Visit our YouTube channel here.

  • Does your magazine make your alumni feel bad? Find out why your magazine may be alienating your alumni — and the simple tweaks you can make to draw them back in.

  • Could this Twitter account be the inspiration for your next story? Not long ago, I started following an irreverent Twitter account, @justsaysinmice. Its aim was simple: post all those breathless media stories about scientific research touting “new treatment” or “miracle food” with the caveat that few noted within the stories: the research had been conducted only in mice.

    In other words: all those tantalizing headlines weren’t a reflection of what was actually going on — not by a long shot.

    The account itself is making a big impact, but it also made me think of the work our schools do to promote faculty research. Could you do a story that explains the actual process of research? How does a smart idea go from lab bench to bedside? Why does it take so long? A story I did for Purdue awhile ago, Eureka!, gets at this topic.

Should you pony up for buck-a-minute transcription? I’ve made no secret of my love for Rev, a knockout transcription service service that does lightning-fast transcription for $1/minute. (Capstone is categorized as a “highly active user” of Rev’s service.)

Still, I often hear from folks who want to know how I feel about AI transcription for about 10¢/minute. Here is how I feel: THUMBS DOWN.

Recently, Rev’s AI division proved me right. In what seems to me an inappropriately braggy blog post, they shared that their AI transcription service got 14 out of every 100 words WRONG.

bar graph showing accuracy of different AI transcription services
AI transcription is terrible. The end.

Yeah, Rev AI was modestly better than the other terrible options, BUT THEY’RE ALL CRUMMY. Invest in good transcription! You’ll save yourself a *ton* of time that will allow you to do more important things than…well, transcription.

As always, we love to hear what you think about these ideas. Hit reply and let us know what you agree with and what you disagree with!