Clicking for Quake News
The New York Times’ coverage of the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti is a prime example of how editors are thinking for the Web and print.
On today’s home page, a promo box offers choices: an interactive feature with satellite images, an interactive map, a video, a closer look, and a graphic.
- The satellite images show Port-au-Prince before and after the quake.
- The interactive map features clickable icons taking viewers to Port-au-Prince and its surroundings. The icons include: audio, photos and information. Click around and you’ll hear first-person accounts; you’ll read quick bits of information; you’ll see photos of neighborhoods, churches, schools, hotels and the United Nations Headquarters. You will experience the human suffering and devastation.
- The video is one of many on the NYT site. These videos show the story of the quake, the aftermath, the sick and suffering, the helpers and the helpless.
- The closer look features images in a way that the viewer can zoom in on the destruction.
- The graphic shows a detailed map of the area by population and destruction. Short narratives describe what happened, where and when.
An earthquake of this magnitude is not an everyday occurrence, nor is the breadth of coverage.
But in towns and cities and communities every day, at news organizations large and small, editors have the ability to think about how to fully cover local tragedies, national and global tragedies that have local angles, and everyday events. Their thinking can lead to stories that show readers and involve readers.
When readers are involved, they are called to action, free to comment, motivated to help. They are informed and enlightened in many ways.
Ultimately, resources are a factor, but don’t get hung up on that because it’s your ability to think that counts. When you are called to act on a story, it is your thinking that will make a difference.