Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joe Paterno and the Future

It has been months and months since I have posted here ... I've sort of had a lot going on in my life. But I do still have huge interest in this topic and hope that over the next few weeks I can get this rolling again.

Let's start here: Today, at FlyPMedia they posted a multimedia version of the Joe Paterno story I wrote for Sports Illustrated. This is true multimedia -- photos, charts, graphics, video, audio, interactive, the whole works.

It's very interesting to me ... and very new. I didn't have anything to do with the process (other than writing the story) but I'm really interested in how this works ... and how such things can work in the future. One complaint I have heard about newspapers that I tend to agree with is that most of them use the Internet in the least imaginative ways ... they just put the newspaper online. Some -- and The Kansas City Star is one of those papers -- will incorporate a little video, some photo galleries, etc. Some -- like the Washington Post and New York Times -- will go further and incorporate what are almost mini-news documentaries into their sites.

But it seems to me that there are so many more possibilities. The Internet is not stagnant and immobile like print. You can do so many things to bring the words to life, to engage the reader and make her a part of the experience. And there will be more and more and more ways as time goes on.

Anyway, I'm interested to hear what people think of the piece at FlyPMedia ... not the story (no critiques, please), but the presentation. Did it engage you? Did it make the experience of reading more or less enjoyable? Do you want for stories to burst to life on the Internet or does it steal some of the intimacy of reading? What do you think about this sort of reading future?

I don't expect many people are checking in here these days and for good reason. But if you happen to stop by, would love to hear your thoughts.

12 comments:

  1. I thought the FlyPMedia presentation was really interesting. I'll admit I haven't read the story in SI yet, and I think that would have made a difference for me -- I see this presentation as augmenting a traditional story rather than replacing it. Especially for a story like this one based so much on history -- and lots of video, player interviews and the like -- this type of treatment is perfect. Definite potential for paid content beyond a base story, which could draw in more readers and revenue while keeping the original story free to all.

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  2. Poz, I agree with you, too little is used at times. Sometimes papers seem to think their medium has changed (from newsprint) to online, but don't do as much as they can.

    I think some of that has to do with cost cutting, if they had more staff they could do more with them.

    At the same time they work with what they know.

    I work for a large media company, and while they have all the capabilities (though with a different product), than what is presented here, they really just create flip pages of special sections and sell stale advertising spots (i.e. tower, banner and pop-up/pop-under ads).

    I don't see them engaging their advertisers in creating a bigger, more engaging product, and offering advertisers more too.

    Just as the videos, graphics etc. are made use of in the story, so too could they be made us of for the advertiser.

    We're really talking two sides of the coin here, making a better presentation for the story content and for the advertising content that pays the bills.

    I don't think that every story has to be presented like this, but perhaps build more around the Saturday/Sunday major stories.

    Involve the reader more, like FLYP did here.

    I think it added to the substance that already existed in your story, though it would have been great if you narrated (sans Snuggie of course).

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  3. I liked the parts where the original text was read over photos/videos playing. I didn't like the fact that you had to click "more" to read the full text (because without that "more," it wasn't really a full story), and some of the pages seemed a little cluttered. I think something along these lines would be a great idea, but I'm not sure FLYP got it exactly right here.

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  4. I didn't think it involved the reader so much as distracted him. I felt like I was being directed to do everything but read the story

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  5. Good article, but buried under a pile of ADHD distractions. My God, have we no attention span anymore as a culture? If we're at a point where people can't hold it together enough to read a magazine feature then we might as well give up.

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  6. Good side-beautiful presentation, interesting article, more "in depth" with the video clips.

    Bad side-I got "lost" with the "more" and "page forward" wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing and was afraid I missed something. I actually reversed to make sure I covered all of the pages.

    I am not a SI subscriber-in fact I am not a subscriber of any paper or magazine. I am 42 but prefer to read things on line. A presentatioin like this makes feature articles more interesting and I felt like I probably learned more about Joe Pa than just reading the mag article. No offense Joe!

    Last thought while viewing this I was thinking to myself-"is this free"? If so, they need to be charging somebody! :)

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  7. Interesting presentation but I agree that the original article was lost in the presentation. I'm pretty deep into this area right now as I work for a tech company helping papers transition from ink to digital without losing the presentation that makes a paper a paper. Current web sites do exactly that.

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  8. This is great, Joe. Much more engaging than a couple, three pages of html. Excluding the quality of the story is impossible, though. It is an integral part of the multimedia experience, the reason for anything else being there. Without the story, so bit. With a story that isn't engaging, it's just visuals and background sounds.

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  10. Nice article, thanks for the information.

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  11. http://deadspin.com/5879169/a-plea-to-joe-posnanski-stop-writing-mealy+mouthed-nonsense-about-joe-paterno

    A single hazy event?!?!? Say it ain't so, Joe. My favorite sportswriter drinking the local Kool Aid is as sad as my favorite ballplayer taking 'roids. Sad times.

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