This week the New York Times changed the face of the Web with a single story. “Snow Fall,” a deeply reported narrative story about an avalanche that killed several skiers near Stevens Pass, Wash., is the single best piece of web-based reporting I’ve ever seen.
Read the story here – but do it on a computer, not a phone.
Simply put, the Times presentation works for three reasons:
- John Branch did a superb job writing the story. It reads like a New Yorker magazine piece.
- The story has been formatted to take over your browser with a simple, clean and brooding presence. You don’t have a bunch of stupid links to click on. You don’t have to click through one quick page turn after another. The tone is right.
- Most important, the multi-media information is presented as a clean and inviting addition to the story itself. It invites the reader, instead of demanding you click through boring links. It seduces you with subtlety. The graphics actually change on their own as you read the story.
Most multimedia work is terrible. It screams “look at me!” like an exhibit at a bad museum or like almost all educational software.
A wonderful job, one that may actually change the course of journalism.