3.29.2007

Malofiej 15 speakers:
New approaches in New York

Pamplona - Matt Ericson, deputy graphics director at The New York Times, delivered a smart presentation this morning on the ways that print and online storytelling are working together, starting the "cross-pollination" of disciplines that's changing the way America's paper of record operates.The best piece of advice Matt gave was, as he said, simple in theory and difficuly in practice: Find the best way to help people understand the news.

Being "platform agnostic" comes with a bunch of real-life editing skill in an ever-evolving medium, though. And Matt was quick to point that out in his completely enthralling presentation.

Our favorite analogy was from Shan Carter in online graphics at nytimes.com (and our former colleague at The Merc), who says that he's trying to build work for "both Bart and Lisa Simpson," meaning that it can be surface and simple (like Bart) or deeper and thoughtful (like Lisa). It's a good way to think about making work that appeals to two very different kinds of readers.

Matt used the example, among others, of the good reporting that The Times has done at chronicling the war in Iraq in the Casualties of War interactive feature, which can be both a fast scan or a completely immersive experience. How you choose to use the data depends on your needs, and in that way it is a completely different tool than the print newspaper. Check it out to see how you can dig deep into complex data sets.

The structure of the graphics department at The Times is changing rapidly, becoming infused with the best ways to tell stories and still branding that with the authority of what has always been done well in print, namely working hard to have a commanding voice.

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