Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

One in eight million

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on July 7, 2009

NYT screenshot

Another great piece of multimedia craftmanship from the folks at the New York Times.

It’s not so much the content of each story I like (in fact, I’ve only watched a couple), but the way all the stories collectively create this living breathing tapestry of modern New York. And I love the presentation: a slick fluid carousel running along the bottom of the screen. Choosing a story is like picking a delicious sushi from the conveyor belt.


War Without Borders: top marks

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on June 9, 2009

Tracey Boyer over at Innovative Interactivity has already written about this new interactive from the New York Times…but it’s so good, I had to write about it too.

New York Times: War Without Borders

New York Times: War Without Borders

At the centre of its sleek design: a large window, which plays a 10 minute film, broken down into 6 chapters. Each chapter tells a different part of the story so you can easily navigate through it.

If you break it right down, there’s not too much to this, visually: a map animation, some titles, one video interview, and some photographs.

But I love this because it’s not just a great piece of multimedia; it’s not just a great interactive. This is a fantastic piece of visual storytelling – and it betters anything I have seen in a TV news film for a long time. The colours, the transitions, even the map is the sexiest thing I’ve seen in ages.

Unless traditional  TV producers learn to experiment with more creative visual styles, the internet will soon become the place for great visual storytelling.

‘They didn’t…so they aren’t’

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on March 21, 2009

Have a read of Michael Rosenblum‘s blog about why some newspapers failed and others didn’t.

It’s the subject of a lot of chatter, debate and writings, but Rosenblum cuts right through it all and delivers this crisp diagnosis of why papers are screwed:

“US papers have been eviscerated because of Craigslist.  It stole the classifieds and their income.

“Ironically, the offices of The [San Francisco] Chronicle are just a few blocks from Craig Newmark’s apartment in San Francisco.  The Chronicle could have started Craigslist, they could have bought it, they could have owned it. A Chronicle that was married to Craigslist today would have no financial troubles whatsoever. They could afford to send the best journalists all over the world to do the best journalism. But they didn’t … so they don’t.

“The New York Times once could have bought Google for $1 million. But they didn’t.  They didn’t because they didn’t think that internet search engines had anything to do with their business.  A strange postion for a paper whose very motto is ‘all the news that’s fit to print’. If The New York Times owend Google (or part of it), there would be no question about their becoming the engine for journalism in the 21st Century. But they didn’t.. so they aren’t.”

Presidential mashup

Posted in Broadcasting and Media, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on January 24, 2009

A fantastic piece of ‘history 2.0’ from the New York Times this week.

They’ve produced tag clouds from each of the 44 US presidents inaugurual speeches, and then arranged them in an interactive timeline.

Like the tag cloud on the right of this blog, the words which appear most often are larger. Those which appear more than the average are highlighted in yellow.

New York Times

Copyright: New York Times

It’s fascinating to see the word “country” and “people” as the popular words, slowly replaced by “nation” and “America.” Note how Obama’s big words are the same as Clintons.

And a brilliant use of web 2.0 to help understand the past.

Hat tip:

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What’s your “news eco-system”?

Posted in Adam, Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook on November 25, 2008

The BBC have carried out some research into how the modern homo-sapien consumes its news. They asked a load of people to keep a diary noting everytime they checked up on the news, and how they did it.

Steve Hermann writes about the results here.

Interestingly, their researchers described each person as having their own “news eco-system”: ‘where an individual might read several papers, hear news on the radio, look at various websites and/or TV channels for news’.

Well I hope that pattern isn’t news to the BBC.

But that’s an interesting term, and got me wondering what my news-ecosystem might look like….

0630: BBC 5 LIVE – DAB radio, in bed – to find out the headlines and who’s saying what

0800: Viking FM – DAB radio, in bed – to see what stories I’ll be sent out to cover that day

0830: Radio 1 – radio, in car – to get an idea of how Newsbeat are tailoring the news for their audience.

0900: Scan through the local papers, plus Mail, Mirror and Sun – to get an idea of what our listeners are reading.

Mid morning – a catch up with the big stories online. I also check Media Guardian, BBC News Online, NY Times. I also get email alerts from various sources.

All day – brief glances at Sky News in the office. I’m also drip fed news via IRN’s wire service.

1330 – BBC Look North – to see what the opposition are up to; inevitable plug of Peter Levy’s show.

Evening – check up on social news: Facebook, Google Reader/blogs and Twitter all tell me what people I’m interested in are up to.

1900 – Channel 4 News – but these days for just a few minutes. On Friday’s I love Unreported World.

Evening – alternative news sources if I have time: Current TV

There you go – I count 17 different sources (20 if you breakdown all the local papers, 50 if you add each blog). Each one consumed for no more than 5-10 minutes, and each one I select, chew and spit out as I please.

So what could be a useful conclusion for the future of news? It can be alternative. And it needs to be short.

What’s your eco system? Post below, and maybe we can give David Attenborough a ring!