January 20, 2009, 10:06 am
Goosing the Gray Lady
By Lisa Agustin
Interactive infographics and visualizations have been part of the New York Times’ online edition for some time; typical examples include the “Word Train,” an interactive mood database for collecting public opinion on Election Day, and “Casualties of War: Faces of the Dead,” a project merging photography, databases, audio, and graphics that marked the date U.S. military fatalities in Iraq reached 3,000 (both pictured above).
Now this week’s issue of New York Magazine features an article on how the Times’ Interactive Technologies Group came to be:
The proposal was to create a newsroom: a group of developers-slash-journalists, or journalists-slash-developers, who would work on long-term, medium-term, short-term journalism—everything from elections to NFL penalties to kind of the stuff you see in the Word Train. This team would “cut across all the desks,” providing a corrective to the maddening old system, in which each innovation required months for permissions and design. The new system elevated coders into full-fledged members of the Times—deputized to collaborate with reporters and editors, not merely to serve their needs.
Most interesting to me is this idea that the roles of journalist and developer have merged at the Times, resulting in projects that aren’t window-dressing for articles, but offer new ways to explore and make the news more relevant to its readers.
There is a good interview with Shan Carter and Gabriel Dance at http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3659.html
Posted by Andrew Gilmartin on February 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm