Monday 19 May 2014

So much good sense

About a million people I follow on Twitter have over the last few days called out the leaked New York Times innovation report and singled out the observations in it that could just as easily (though perhaps not as fluently - the writing in this thing is a joy before you even consider the content: these guys eviscerate themselves with style) come out of museums and other cultural institutions.

If you don't have time or motivation to peruse the whole scanned report linked to above, do at least take ten minutes to digest the work Nieman Lab staffers have done to extract and highlight what they think to be the most interesting points. They describe it as 'one of the key documents of this media age' and anyone who has ever worked near the web in a memory institution will find something here that resonates with them.

Some of extracts I was most drawn to include:

There are about 14.7 million articles in the Times’ archives dating back to 1851. The Times needs to do a better job of resurfacing archival content. The report cites Gawker repackaging a 161-year-old Times story on Solomon Northup timed with the release of 12 Years A Slave“We can be both a daily newsletter and a library — offering news every day, as well as providing context, relevance and timeless works of journalism.” 

The report proposes restructuring arts and culture stories that remain relevant long after they are initially published into guides for readers. They give an example of a reader wanting to find the Times’ initial review of the play Wicked. “The best opportunities are in areas where The Times has comprehensive coverage, where information doesn’t need to be updated regularly, and where competitors haven’t saturated the market.” They view museums, books, and theater as the best options for that. 

Andrew Phelps (full disclosure: a former Nieman Lab staffer) made a Flipboard magazine of the Times’ best obits from 2013 on a whim. It became the best-read collection ever on Flipboard. Why wasn’t the Times doing stuff like that on its own platforms, the report wondered. 

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