Capn Design

Entries tagged New York Times

Trimming the Times

Posted April 3, 2011

In response to the Times’ new paywall, the Atlantic Wire is planning to pick out the best articles from each day’s edition in a new series called Trimming the Times. The Nieman Journalism Lab puts it succinctly:

“Trimming the Times” isn’t — per its framing, at least — about gaming the Times’ meter, per se; it’s about helping readers navigate stories within an ecosystem that, from the payment perspective, punishes aimless exploration.

While our household subscribes to the weekend edition of the Times, this was my biggest concern. I didn’t want to have to worry about how many articles I’m viewing. Even though I know I won’t hit the paywall, I find myself avoiding articles that are purely factual, figuring I can save the click and get the information elsewhere.

While I’m busy quoting, my coworker, Mr. Andrew Anker, reframes the discussion by pointing out the real value that the Times provides:

The New York Times’ value to me (as my hometown paper) has never been its hundreds of writers who create a bunch of content every day; it’s been the tens of editors who picked exactly everything I need to know today. When I grew up, that one package on my doorstep every morning was by far the easiest way to figure out what mattered. Now with the internet, social media and portable devices I want more than one set of editors can provide. But I still would like one easy package and I wish more media companies would redefine their editorial mission to include creating new types of packages, not trying to C&D others out of business.

Andrew’s post falls into the category of “I wish I wrote that”, as suggesting that companies make their package more valuable instead of trying to litigate is right on the nose. It’s been said before, but people will happily pay more for additional value. It is now harder to read the Times online and I have to pay to make $35/month to not have to worry. I am happy to pay for the Times, but hate that they make it feel like extortion.

Annotations View in the Times' New Document Viewer

This is a great implementation of the notes view I outlined in my Multi-Layered iPad talk. It’s exciting to see how people are implementing features like this. You can read more about the new doc viewer, if you’re so inclined.

Times Open and the Interesting People I Didn't Meet

Posted February 25, 2009

Me at Times OpenLast Friday I attended the second half of the Times Open conference. The NYT put on the event so developers could "spend the day with industry leaders, learning about applications, data resources and the trends that will shape the way you work." Our hosts were incredibly gracious and I had a chance to see the tour the art floor (thanks Khoi and John!). Unfortunately, the event itself was disappointing.

While I can't speak to the morning sessions, the afternoon was spent getting an overview of the various APIs and attending "breakout sessions" with the other attendees, save for Jacob Harris' interesting talk about the interactive newsroom. The overviews would have been more useful if the breakout sessions had some structure. Instead of going to various rooms (that went unused) to discuss a specific topic, folks milled about, chatting with each other. If you consider the breakout sessions as just breaks, the 8 hour conference had only 4 hours of presentations.

My goal at the conference was to get my hands dirty with the APIs, discuss the implications of a news organization opening up its data and to meet some interesting people. I did get to meet a few interesting folks, but the conference didn't help me on the first two points. The lack of small group breakouts meant I walked away with fewer practical concepts and interesting questions in my head than I would have otherwise.

I don't feel too bad about being a debbie-downer because the NYT developers all were quite interesting and I am genuinely excited by the stuff they're building. In fact, I've got a couple more NYT-related posts floating around in my brain. Still, I do hope they'll take my advice next time and provide some more structured breakouts. An active backchannel may appear to be a positive, but I'd much rather the attendees be focused on the event and engaging with each other in real life.

NYT Announces Their Article API

I'm super excited to see what comes of this. Also, I'll be at the Times Open event a week from today. If you're gonna be there, keep an eye out for me.

Find Your Elected Representatives with NYT's Represent

The app looks great and gives a list of all articles tagged with the names of your elected officials.

The Softest, Cuddliest Kitten

Posted September 8, 2008

Man, this is the best Metropolitan Diary story in a while.

Dear Diary:

After picking up my wife's dry cleaning, I boarded a crowded but not crammed N train at 57th Street to join the evening rush hour. To keep my wife's sweaters above the fray, I held them aloft in the same hand I used to grip the train's center pole.

We left the station and the car was quiet until a large, dreadlocked man in the seat nearest to me said to his similarly styled friend in a lilting Jamaican accent, "You, my friend, are soft and cuddly as a kitten."

To which the man replied, "No, it is you who are soft and cuddly as a kitten."

This being New York, no one stared or turned their heads even as this repartee repeated itself. Back and forth they went, each kindly demurring to the other. "No, no, you are the softest and cuddliest kitten I know."

Looking for a place to train my eye, I stared at the dry cleaning I was holding aloft, and saw that the plastic bag covering my wife's sweaters bore a picture of a small cat playing with a ball of yarn, beneath which read the words, "Prepared just for you, soft and cuddly as a kitten."

I turned to the two men, who were smiling back at me.

"Ha, ha, we got you, man!" They clapped their hands and then, along with most of the folks in our car, burst into laughter.

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