Newspapers Beyond the Infographic
Friday, February 27, 2009
What should newspapers do? What newspaper can’t do.
The New York Times website recently released an interactive video and transcript
of President Obama’s speech unlike no other.
Beyond an infographic with all sizzle and no steak, the feature transformed a traditional live media event into a compelling application which simultaneously compiled the emotional experience, primary text, political issues, journalistic analysis and related historical coverage into a single screen.
Spend a few minutes with the interface, you’ll see a truly elegant use of Flash to present and manipulate “the news.” What’s especially heartening about this example is how it underscores that clever Web gadgetry and top-notch content are mutually dependent on one another. This is no mere tag cloud of terms out of context—this is a stellar tool for close reading, backed by the insight of professional reporters, journalists, and analysts. One really doesn’t work without the other.
As Teri Schindler
and I discussed this, we remarked that sports has been doing this for years: one game, one score, one league, yet myriad ways to break down, analyze, play with and access the content, from stats to polls to highlights, on every conceivable platform, from the most interactive to the least. ESPN
has been a master at mining, presenting and contextualizing content far beyond their actual coverage of the games on television.
The New York Times webite is getting it right, and it’s a refreshing change from the “ Highlights for Adults
” approach you find with most popular newspapers.
Going forward, if a newspaper’s online presence is experientially indistinguishable from its print version, it won’t last long. Engagement hinges on the marriage of exceptional content and intuitive, innovative usability. The New York Times is finally leveraging its access and exceptional journalists on the ground, then using the content like a media company – not a paper.