After the horrendous weekend of shootings in Chicago, many news organizations rushed to cover the May 17-30 events. Most did the same typical coverage, but The New York Times took a new approach which may usher a new day for news coverage.
If you’re searching for this, look for “A Weekend in Chicago.” The scrolling story is a mixture of edited video, a print story, still photography, graphics and finally, an animated graphic at the end of the story. The story itself looks like a website. The animated graphic shows the shootings on a map of Chicago in chronological order to demonstrate where and when the shootings occurred.
It is a comprehensive in-depth look at the people involved and the city trying to deal with the problem. I found myself going back to the story several times as I tried to come to grips with the 64 victims shot in one weekend in a Midwestern city.
There are no reported results from the story, however, the use may have implications for years to come. The use of multi-media within a story made the coverage feel totally inclusive, eye-opening and emotionally engaging. The story, and the way it was presented, drew me back to it again and again. I was seeing a new kind of journalism that is not encumbered by space (limited column inches) or time (a typical news package is about 1 minute and 30 seconds long). The focus seemed to be on telling a complete story—not filling time or space in a news hole. If that’s the future, journalism is going to find a new golden age.