Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

A Translation of Tronc’s Internal Brand Introductory Video

I’ve somehow resisted covering Tronc — the company whose name sounds like a Canadian goose caught in a windsock — because, in my head, they do not exist. Alas, the Tribune Company has now started trading on the NASDAQ under that name — the sort of name your crazy uncle would make up for a nonexistent startup he thinks all the kids are using these days — so I must acknowledge the reality.

To introduce Tribune employees to the new name, which kind of sounds like someone blowing their nose through a length of PVC pipe, Tronc has made a couple of videos, and they’re full of buzzwords and B-roll.

Madison Malone Kircher has translated them to English for New York Magazine:

“The key to making our content really valuable to the broadest possible audience is to use machine learning to maximize all the time. Artificial intelligence is going to allow journalists to do their jobs more efficiently, finding the right photos the videos, the databases, the things you package your stories with.”

Translation: We’re going to replace many of the people who get laid off with “artificial intelligence,” which means those that remain will be asked to churn out more work in the same amount of time as they did in the years Bt (Before Tronc).

“Ultimately those efficiencies will help us produce more content, better content. That will make stories much more visual, much for exciting. Today, that is what people expect.”

Translation: We’re going to make more video.

I’m joking around a bit, but there are actual numbers in the video. Tronc executives Malcolm CasSelle and Anne Vasquez explain that the company currently attaches ad-supported video players to 16% of their articles; their target for 2017 is for 50% of articles to include video.

The problem is that articles that are typically published by major newspapers are not always readily-suited for video, not even half the time. And that means that purely increasing the number of CPM video players across their properties requires writing articles specifically for video, which probably means more filler.

Speaking of filler, Tronc is the sound made when packing peanuts squish and rub together.

Update: I’ve updated the headline to this piece because the original — “A Translation of Tronc’s New Welcome Video” — didn’t make any sense.