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Thursday
Apr202017

Alexa... Ripley's Believe it or Not

Want a"Weird Minute?"

Orlando-based Ripley Entertainment has received approval from Amazon to use Alexa, the voice-activated internet hub, to distribute 60 seconds’ worth of weird news under the name of “Ripley’s Weird Minute.”

Alexa users subscribe to the Ripley news through the tabletop device’s flash briefings alongside NPR, CNN and other traditional news outlets, said Suzanne Smagala-Potts, Ripley public relations manager.

“A lot of these outlets are kind of covering the same topics – they’re all covering what’s going on in politics or what’s in the news,” she said. “We’re bringing you 60 seconds of odd, weird news to your day.”

It’s “a reprieve from the normal news that you’re getting,” Smagala-Potts said.

“Ripley’s Weird Minute” features fresh content six days a week, Monday through Saturday.

The segments are written and recorded by Ripley’s Orlando-based writers and researchers. The subjects are mined from the company’s vault of oddities or play off news of the day. For instance, for March 14 – aka 3-14 – they prepared a minute’s worth of news about pi and math.

For a recent leap-forward day “we wrote stories about napping and the history of daylight savings … trying to keep it really light and fun,” Smagala-Potts said.

Other planned tidbits include the whereabouts of the first baby incubators, which were not kept at a hospital but instead at Coney Island, facts about colonial dentistry and the burly-man cheerleaders of the 1800s.

The addition of Amazon Alexa continues Ripley’s trend of using new media and platforms. The company tailors content to Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and its own blog.

“We want to reach new audiences and reach our current audience in the ways that they’re getting their content now. … and there’s a million different ways to do it,” Smagala-Potts said.

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