Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Smooth Sailing and Frantic Paddling at the Hugo Awards

The Hugo Award nominations were announced today, and I was in the middle of it as the lead host of the official online coverage from the Hugo Awards Website and also being primarily responsible for getting the results posted on TheHugoAwards.org.

This year's Hugo Administrators helpfully gave me an embargoed copy of the results the day before the event, which allowed me to get the nomination page mostly formatted before the announcements. Cheryl helped proofread (and caught some of the errors I made caused by starting from last year's nominations as a template) and she also acted as "studio coordinator" for the CoverItLive event, with primary responsibility for approving (or not approving; some people think they're witty, but they're only half right) comments.

Fortunately for all concerned, Minicon came through with a UStream video feed of the live announcement there, while live announcements (each at their own pace) were also happening at Norwescon, Marcon, and Eastercon. I also had what I called the "Hugo back channel," a Skype chat with the LoneStarCon 3 Social Media team who were responsible for posting to LSC's Twitter, Facebook, and web page. Colin Harris, who coordinated all of this and who made sure THA.org had the nominations in advance, was there as well.

I understand that the results announcements at Eastercon moved somewhat more sedately than those at Minicon, where they mainly just read off each category. By previous arrangement, our online coverage moved at Minicon's pace, and I could only just barely keep up with them, pasting in the nominations to CoverItLive just as they finished reading the last nominee in each category. Thank goodness Cheryl was keeping the rest of the event flowing while I dealt with the "play by play."

We had a good turnout for the announcement event. I counted a peak of 182 people online, and around 50 stuck around for some chat immediately after the announcements. As usual, there were people coming to the chat who didn't quite understand that the Hugo site coverage is text only, not live streaming. From the comments I saw over at UStream and a few on our CIL coverage, not everyone can follow the video stream and people do appreciate the text-only coverage. Personally, I consider the two forms of coverage complimentary, not competitive. They are like the television and radio coverage of the same sporting event. The fact that you can watch baseball on TV doesn't mean there's no value to the radio coverage. (Indeed, I actually tend to prefer the radio coverage of baseball games, but I digress.)

I got the results posted to the Hugo web site not too long after the final category announcement, but because I was both writing web site posts and trying to keep involved in the CoverItLive coverage, it was around twenty minutes or so afterwards that the "front page" posting went up. I could have composed it in advance, but I wanted to incorporate any late developments. As it happens, our very initial announcement also incorporated some typographical errors in the very first form of the press release, but I think we got those fixed before anyone noticed long enough to complain about them. (Possibly we need to have a Hygo Awards Ranquet this year....)

travelswithkuma sat next to me supervising but staying quiet. Lisa looked in several times but stayed out of the living room, as I pounded away on the keyboard, keeping two computers busy between UStream, CoverItLive, and the web browser.

All in all, I was very pleased at how today's Hugo Nomination Announcement coverage went. There were no significant technical glitches and we got a decent turnout of between 100 and 300 people (besides those in person at the four conventions) in the CIL and UStream events. As I said in our live coverage, I thank Chicon 7 for sponsoring the CoverItLive show (CIL is not free; today's event cost $49) and LoneStarCon for working with the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee to provide the coverage. Assuming all of the funding and technical issues are dealt with as they have the past few years, I expect that I'll be acting as host of CIL coverage of the Hugo Awards ceremony on September 1, probably with Mur Lafferty as "color commentator" (although as a Campbell nominee herself, she might be called away at the early part of the event) and with Cheryl Morgan "in the studio from the wilds of Wiltshire" keeping the event going for the benefit of those who can't be with us at San Antonio.
Tags: hugo awards
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