August 31, 2015

God Save the "New York Times"

Every Sunday morning for years, I've stepped out the front door to pick up my New York Times and Washington Post from the sidewalk, yard, or curb... depending on the delivery driver's aim.

During Ben Bradlee's 26 years as editor, the Post increasingly challenged the Times as the best in American journalism. No more.

Digital Journalism
The Times is considered a top innovator with web journalism, particularly multimedia and interactive data. It recently announced that it had reached a new milestone: one million digital-only subscribers.

As a subscriber to the Sunday-only Times, I can access its many digital offerings. Here's one example.

The Times Weekly Wrap
Every Saturday, I receive an email with "The Times Weekly Wrap," which "takes readers behind the scenes of the New York Times newsroom to show how its journalists work and how decisions are made."

Sounds boring, and sometimes it is. But then I find something like last week's posting, "Where Are U Now That I Need You?" -- the name of the million-selling single by Skrillex and Diplo with Justin Bieber. The song, which Times music critic Jon Pareles calls "four minutes of high-tech bliss," was the subject of a series of articles that ran last week about how pop music is made today.

I have little interest in pop music, but I really liked the song:

I was also fascinated by this look at how the song was created.

What We're Reading
My favorite feature from the digital Times is "What We're Reading," the twice-weekly email I receive with recommendations from Times reporters and editors about great stories they've discovered on the web.

Last week, media abounded with stories on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In my "What We're Reading" email, I found this blurb about the coverage:
There are reams of stories to read on what it all means 10 years later. In fact, you may have already read enough. But don’t stop until you read this poetic offering by Lolis Eric Elie in the online journal Bitter Southerner. Mr. Elie has been a columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a filmmaker, a story editor for the HBO show "Treme" and a great chronicler of food. Here, he is at his best as he lays out in painful and hilarious fashion New Orleanians’ sometimes spiritual, sometime nefarious and always hopeful reasons for heading home. The photos are stellar, too.
 Click here for this piece.

Mixing Digital and Print
Print and digital aren't kept in separate compartments at the Times. It works digital pieces into print stories much more than the Washington Post or other newspapers.

When I turned on the computer Sunday morning, I was saddened to see the news alerts about the death of Oliver Sacks, one of my heroes. I quickly went to the Times website to get the report.

It began with an excellent video clip.

The "Gray Lady" is certainly a sprightly and useful old gal.

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