Analysis: Multimedia Web Newspapers

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For this week's analysis, I would like to compare the two different (yet similar) ways the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune run their online newspapers. For clarity's sake, I started off with a list format with links to examples of what I refer to in the bullet points.

Chicago Tribune

Accompanying text stories
• Occasionally illustrations (sometimes in lieu of actual photographs)

On their own
News Maps & Apps
Picture slideshow
Picture gallery
Just Videos
Links to related stories

The New York Times

Accompanying text stories
Links to related stories

On their own
NYT video
Picture slideshows
Picture galleries
Raw data
• Interactive maps, quizzes, graphs, and charts among others

On the whole, I believe that the Chicago Tribune almost rivals the New York times in multimedia experience, which is impressive considering their comparative sizes. The New York Times has specific podcasts, a page just for videos, you name it, and it all amounts to more stories than what the Chicago Tribune can offer. But the Chicago Tribune has that one section -- the News Maps & Apps section -- that is just so innovative and informative that the New York Time's data page and multimedia page just don't compare.

Video, pictures, sound, graphs, and any other accompanying material you can add to or link to on your story will enhance it. The web is different than a newspaper in that long swatches of text simply don't look very good, and people don't read it. You can get a lot of information out in much quicker and more pleasing ways, thereby keeping your readership in spite of their seemingly shortened attention spans.

The kind of writing I see in these items varies greatly from item to item, depending on the context each one is used in. Some graphs have no writing other than numbers and basic labels, and some have a lot of short explanatory paragraphs smattered all over the place. Sound bytes and videos can accompanied by an entire story (or are they accompanying the story?) or they can stand on their own. Videos on some pages get short captions below, and many slideshows add a short caption to the bottom of each photo to tell a story. Some stories, very rarely nowadays, consist entirely of high-end writing, though these kinds of stories normally indicate a news organization that is not yet fluent in the web, and that they might just be shoveling their print content onto the website.

Most writing on most news sources on the internet tends to be very simple, effective, and to-the-point. No frills, no fancy language, and with other multimedia sources, such as video and photos, to tell a lot of what is left of the story. Both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune have really grasped what it is to be a newspaper on the web, and are making huge strides in shaping the future of the field.

1 Comment

Nice job, Kim. GG

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This page contains a single entry by Kim Thompson published on February 24, 2012 9:18 AM.

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