These are the best of [the New York] Times - SXSW DAYS 3, 4
blog by S.J. Velasquez • March 11, 2013 @ 11:25pm
When it comes to journalism in America—and arguably the world—the New York Times is it, so you can imagine my fangirl face when I had the chance to interact with multiple reporters, editors and contributors for the Times over the last few days.
Who Runs the (Internet) World: Women
I began my Sunday morning by securing a spot in the audience for the “Who Run the (Internet) World: Women” session, featuring a panel of prominent women in media, including Times tech reporter Jenna Worthman, whom I’ve been following on Twitter and on the Times website for years.
The discussion moved around from topics like women’s consumption of mobile technology to the differences in attitudes between men and women when responding to difficult-to-operate phone applications. Interestingly, the largest potential market for mobile products is women, but product marketing is geared heavily toward men.
“Design for inclusion. Design for access,” Worthman said. To limit a product’s audience to one gender, she reiterated, is not necessarily beneficial to the audience or the product/service provider.
This particular discussion forced me to evaluate how Buffalo media reaches out to both genders and whether or not the content is focused on one particular sex.
Gate of Heaven, Gates of Hell
New York Times columnist and reporter David Carr had a lot to say about paywalls implemented by newspapers during his session Sunday afternoon. First off, he supports paying for content—worthy content, that is.
“I pay for the New York Times,” Carr admitted. “Natch.”
When the Times first implemented its paywall model, readers weren’t as enthusiastic as Carr about handing over cash for content they’d received. And even today, years since the paid access model launched and has earned money from online subscriptions, select readers still insist on getting the news organization’s content for free.
“We did a leaky wall on purpose,” Carr said. “If you like us so much that you’re willing to do a hack around a URL just to get a peek under our dress, have at it.”
Carr was careful not to say that all news content is worth the price tag advertised.
“Just ‘cause something is paid doesn’t mean it’s great.”
Carr, clearly a guy with a healthy sense of humor, is also full of killer dance moves. Kat and I ran into Carr at the Foursquare party later that evening, and we were thoroughly impressed by his moves. That’s a vision I’ll never forget. I wish I could say I shot some video, but I was too busy gawking at the media genius breaking it down on the dance floor before me.
Version Controlling the News. How We Can Archive.
At Buffalo.com, we often debate the appropriateness of changing a headline or timestamp of the entries on our website. Though it might seem like a trivial battle to fight, there’s actually a much larger discussion about matters of archiving multiple iterations of edited content, including the original—though sometimes erroneous or incomplete—copy.
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan was joined by MIT graduate student Eric Price, who created a Times archival log called NewsDiffs, for a panel that attracted both journalistic types and those on the design and development sides of things.
Price noted that 44 percent of all Times articles will change at least once after being published online. The edits and additions are often times minimal, but other changes are major enough to change the tone and even the facts in the story. Price noted that the Times had no version control option in place that would allow versions of the same (or developing) story to be made available to readers interested in following a particular story’s development, so he created one.
It’s terrifying yet refreshing to know that both Buffalo.com and the Times have this issue in common. In its current form, our CMS does not offer version control that allows readers to know when a story has been updated and the particular parts of that story that have been modified. We generally do not change time stamps unless the story has developed to the point that it’s an almost completely new story, but we do note that content has been updated right at the top of the blog post.
Sullivan, who does not speak on behalf of the Times, critiques the famed news organization’s content and actions, communication with and on behalf of the readers. She admitted to referencing Price’s site for specific information about a particular story’s multiple iterations.
That’s my Times face
I just had to share this. The photo above was taken at the New York Times booth inside the SXSW trade show.