Tidbits for Amherst

Some passing thoughts on a rainy Monday:

For me, the summer of 2001 was the last one of innocence. In Washington, the news cycle was dominated by reports of sharks in the water and, of course, the Chandra Levy mystery. The Post is revisiting the story with a 12-part serial entitled “Who Killed Chandra Levy?” The series is being unveiled daily, both online and in print (but I’m going to guess there will be more readers online.) The chapter presentation is attractive because of its archival nature. I didn’t finish yesterday’s story (no, I don’t know why I’m revisiting the story) but was able to click on today’s story, access the index page and get to the first chapter. The beauty of the Web strikes again.

The package includes timelines, video, audio, message board and a link to the investigative team’s blog.

Take a look at the packaging and design of the article page. When we talk about Web design, this is what is important to me — not the design of the homepage. The article page allows you readily to access many items, and as horizontal delivery continues to grow (accessing articles via RSS, blogs), the type of packaging becomes even more important.

Now, the larger issue — is this newsworthy? One reader commented:

mde2s wrote:
In the twisted world of the WaPo editors, this story is somehow more newsworthy than the deaths of 9 American Soldiers fighting terrorists in Afghanistan….shameful
Well, yeah.
And, I also wonder on a Monday whether “we” — as in the collective “we” — have lost our ability to laugh, to poke fun, perchance to giggle. The controversy that has erupted over The New Yorker’s satirical cover is perhaps a sign that we all need to lighten up a bit?

Happy Monday!




About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing amherstwire.com, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at washingtonpost.com. He also edits part-time for espn.com with the NFL and college football network.
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