60second Recap

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60second Recap
Www.60secondrecap.com homepage.png
Type of site
Internet video study guide
Available in English
Slogan(s) "Books for teens (of all ages)."
Website 60secondRecap.com
Alexa rank Negative increase 107,019 (April 2014)[1]
Registration Optional
Launched September 3, 2009
Current status Active

60second Recap is an educational video project launched in September 2009 to provide 60-second video summaries and analysis of classic literature. The site provides one-minute video commentaries on plot, themes, characters, symbols, motifs, and other aspects of books commonly studied in secondary schools in North America.

A year after its launch, 60second Recap's website offered over 400 videos covering 35 classic literary works and 60 contemporary titles. It had also received more than 4.5 million website visits.[2] During its second year, 60second Recap continued to add to its content library, with new 60second Recap video "albums" of 10-15 individual videos covering various aspects of a work such as Beowulf or Hamlet. The website currently presents approximately 800 videos encompassing 42 classic literary works, and over 250 reviews of contemporary books of potential interest to teenagers.[3]


60second Recap was created by Peter Osterlund, a former journalist who, while working as a Hollywood screenwriter, began exploring media formats suitable for smartphones and other handheld devices. He said he decided to structure his concept around a 60-second video format upon noting that viewer's attention to "small-screen" video tended to lapse after about one minute.[4] Media interest in 60second Recap's subsequent launch focused on two novel aspects of its design.[5] First, 60second Recap offered a new variation on an old form by presenting its study aid material in a video-only format based on Osterlund's 60-second concept. Second, all editorial content was researched and written by a single individual, Jenny Sawyer, a book critic for The Christian Science Monitor who also served as 60second Recap's host.[4] Sawyer said this approach was intended to help students see 60second Recap not as a "cheat-sheet authority" but as a "conversation-starter" on a given work.[6]

Video format controversy[edit]

Some online critics took exception to 60second Recap's video-centric approach. They argued that 60second Recap's format trivialized Elie Wiesel's Holocaust memoir Night by summarizing its plot and themes in a series of twelve 60-second videos.[7] One journalist contended that 60second Recap-style study videos might encourage students to avoid reading altogether.[8]

Classroom acceptance[edit]

60second Recap won acceptance in schools, however,[2] and teachers said they found it effective in sparking classroom discussions.[9] 60second Recap was also cited by special education teachers as a pedagogical tool for students who have learning disabilities that interfere with their ability to comprehend written material.[10]

Industry response[edit]

In 2011, CliffsNotes announced a joint venture with AOL and reality TV show producer Mark Burnett to introduce its own series of 60-second video study guide surveys of classic literary works.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "60secondrecap.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b Gallegus, Manuel (2010-10-10). "60 Second Literature Recap?". CBS Evening News. Archived from the original on 20 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  3. ^ "60second Recap: An Update". JennySawyer.com. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  4. ^ a b Toppo, Greg (2009-09-07). "Reluctant students of the classics, lend me your earbuds!". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  5. ^ Aucoin, Don (2009-10-31). "A novel approach". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  6. ^ Rooney, Emily (2009-11-03). "Great literature in 60 Seconds". WGBH. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  7. ^ "Holocaust Memoir "Night" Finally Made Complete with Animation". Heeb Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  8. ^ Strauss, Valerie (2010-03-05). "Wiesel's "Night," "Hamlet" in 60 seconds?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  9. ^ Carlin, Cali (2010-03-10). "Video Cliff Notes". Channel One News. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  10. ^ "Best Assistive Technology Tools for 2010". Ohio Center for Autism. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  11. ^ "Cliff Notes Goes Digital". American Public Radio. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 

External links[edit]