Donald Trump repeatedly called it “the failing New York Times.” It sort of was until Trump took office. Then it went on a tear, fuelled by an endless supply of Trump-induced stories, and today, the Times’ stock price, circulation and reputation are close to all-time highs. In fact, the fastest-growing international market for nytimes.com is ….Toronto.
One benefit of worshipping quality and hoping your customers do, and then finding out they do, is that you can invest in more quality. The Times did this in its graphics. Its stories aren’t just words and nice photos, with the odd graph or chart to ease understanding. They now have 3-D interactive maps, videos, and instant links to other stories. Their stories are multi-media productions. Like this, on the volcanic lighthouse of the Mediterranean. Or how vaccinations are going in your postal code. Or how George Floyd was killed in custody.
Maybe the shift in our work and life from ‘in person’ to ‘online’ has sped up something that was happening anyway, like telemedicine, streaming, online shopping, virtual concerts, weddings and funerals.
Whatever the cause, the effect is spectacular and has changed how we read and react to journalism. Even better, this won’t go away once our lives get back to new-normal.
Here are three examples of what I mean. These are not little squibs of reportage. They’re deep wells of information, all drowning another myth, that long-form journalism is dead. Like radio morphing into podcasts, it just shed its old skin and grew some new layers.
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