By Sarah Barchus
The Cable News Network and The New York Times online websites both have multimedia elements. But as far as variety and flavor go, The New York Times site would not only take the cake (picture-wise), but also would have video of someone blowing out birthday candles, interactive graphs of people's favorite cake flavors, maps one can manipulate to find the best cake shops, and perhaps for icing on the top, full length news stories to accompany the fancy features.
From what is immediately evident on the website, CNN has video and picture slideshows to enhance news stories. These add a great visual element to news stories; video can put the reader in the action and pictures help the readers savor the scene. The video itself does not usually contain text, other than to identify location or perhaps add subtitles, as the clips are often segments taken from broadcast news. The picture slideshows are captioned with appropriately clipped cutlines that explain the picture and then place it within the context of the accompanying story.
The New York Times offers interesting interactive content beyond video and pictures such as maps, graphs and simulations that can be manipulated by the user's mouse; thus the Times' site is tactile beyond the type. One example of an interactive graph allows users to explore student debt across the nation. The graph is prefaced by the first paragraph in the full story to explain the graph. Other text serves to label different groupings of information. The graph also has a link to the full news story. This multimedia strategy displays data in a way that is easy to digest.