Case Study

How Glacier Media Saves Time with Otter Transcribing Hour-Long Interviews in Minutes

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An integrated media company reaching millions of readers throughout Canada and the U.S., Glacier Media delivers essential daily news, market analysis, and more to clients and audiences internationally.

“We’re traditionally a community newspaper chain, though we have some digital-onlines and a daily,” explains Katie Mercer, Vice President, Content, at Glacier Media.

Katie Mercer
Vice President, Content, Glacier Media

When you're on deadline, breaking a story, or tackling an internal project, you need tools in your tech stack that are simple to use and collaborative.

In recent years, the organization undertook an initiative to improve its tech stack and make life easier for its nearly 150 editorial staff members. Time savings and greater efficiency were identified as top-priority goals, though the company was also interested in improving its legal protection—particularly in the case of its court and current reporters—as well as creating a central source for transcripts. “As the number of videos and features produced by the team has increased, having everything in one place makes sense,” Mercer notes.

When searching for technology that would meet these objectives, Otter was a clear front-runner. “There's not a journalist I know that doesn't know Otter,” she says. “In fact, when we surveyed our newsrooms about transcription tools they were aware of or already using, it was the only one noted. We looked at some others as well, but it just made sense to go with something people are already using.”

How Glacier Media Implemented & Gained Buy-In for Otter

Once Glacier Media—a publicly-traded company—navigated purchasing seats across its multiple legal entities, adoption of Otter was swift.

“Our first real, obvious use case for Otter was our almost daily—or at least weekly—COVID pressers from the government,” states Mercer. “We had multiple reporters from different newsrooms that would file based off of those press meetings, whether it was a local version or an angle or niche topic. With Otter, we could have just one person transcribing it, and everyone could go from there.”

Since its initial adoption, the standard use case for Otter within Glacier Media has evolved to include the recording and transcription of all interviews. “Typically, our journalists are using Otter to record their phone interviews, albeit using the computer while they're on the speaker,” Mercer explains. “Editorial staff are also using it out in the field while at events and doing interviews in-person, which makes it easier to have authentic conversations with your interview subjects vs. trying tobalance a recorder/phone, plus notepad and pen while standing.”

However, as its usage of Otter has become standard across the organization, Glacier Media has also identified new applications for the technology. In addition to transcribing daily press conferences to assist with breaking news reporting, the team is also using Otter to transcribe its older content.

We've been using it to transcribe past video interviews that we've done so that we have those documented as well.

Saving Time Over Manual Transcription

As expected, the biggest benefit Glacier Media has seen since implementing Otter has been the time saved by team members, compared to their former manual transcription practices.

“On average, [our reporters are] recording 15-20 hours of interviews monthly using Otter,” says Mercer. “Because they're not importing the files, their transcripts are typically completed within minutes of their interview ending, saving them 30 minutes to an hour per interview. If you can take an hour interview and have it done in 10 minutes, that’s amazing.”

The Glacier Media team also anticipates further time savings down the road, as Otter enables the team’s reporters to quickly skim and scan past transcripts for quotes to use in their reporting.

That way, they can focus their attention on their interview subject and not potentially miss any details when trying to take note of the quote live

How Media Teams Benefit from Adopting Otter

To media organizations on the fence about adopting Otter, Mercer offers the following recommendation: “When you're on deadline, breaking a story, or tackling an internal project, you need tools in your tech stack that are simple to use and collaborative. This isn't like the digital or tape recorder that journalists used to have, where we had to note time stamps and rewind, rewind, rewind to ensure we had the quote right.”

Now it's done, almost instantaneously, for you

“Better yet, you can quickly add notes and context for your colleagues to pick it up and run with it, should the need arise," she continues. In addition to supporting effective content management workflows for production, Otter’s AI-driven capacity for learning means that the tool gets smarter in terms of recognizing voices and typos the longer your team uses it.

Through these and other media-centric features, Otter makes it easy for editorial teams to focus more on their craft and less on logistics. From transcription time-savings to streamlined content management practices,

From transcription time-savings to streamlined content management practices, see how Otter helps media teams tell the stories that matter - contact us to get a demo.

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We have a very short window of time to get all of the information gathering done and turn it around to the analysis team to get the analysis out of the raw data that we've acquired.

Katie Mercer
Vice President, Content, Glacier Media

When you're on deadline, breaking a story, or tackling an internal project, you need tools in your tech stack that are simple to use and collaborative.

Joshua Hori
Assistive Technology Analyst

We have a lot of notetaking requests, and we were proactively looking for ways to improve it since it was a volunteer based program.

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Instructional Technologist

We have a whole mix of ages and abilities, technologically.

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We wanted to find if we could better equip our current folks that were here today….we wanted to find if we could make our folks today more productive, more efficient, more effective.

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It helps me to keep myself accountable. I can’t hear well so I learn better by reading. It’s been a lifesaver in that sense.