Teaching Examples


Disappearing multimedia: This is nuts
May 27, 2007, 3:50 pm
Filed under: graphics, journalism, multimedia, news, usability

Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech
You have eight talented journalists working for hours under deadline pressure. They produce one of the best-ever examples of online storytelling. You post it on your Web site. You link it very prominently to the related stories. You feature it in the printed newspaper. And rightly so! It is a great achievement. It is a work worthy of study and appreciation long after the news event dims in memory.

For heaven’s sake, give the thing a permanent URL. What the heck is the matter with you people?!

I have Times Select, the paid premium service that provides access to The New York Times archives, video, etc. I’m not asking to get something for free. But you can’t even bookmark this graphic. I have tried everything. And you can’t properly search for it. Just try. NYT Multimedia search (only videos and slideshows come up). Archives search (only text stories).

You can search for “Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech”; “Viginia Tech shootings”; “Virginia Tech graphic” — all useless. You can bookmark http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/17/us/20070417 _SHOOTING_GRAPHIC.html — but it will take you to an April 17 column called “The TV Watch.” And if you bookmark the full URL (including all the numeric garbage following .html), it will work for about 24 hours and then revert to “The TV Watch.”

So the only solution I have found, so far, is to go to this omnibus page about the shootings, scroll down to where you read “INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: Recounting the Events at Virginia Tech,” and click that.

Doesn’t The New York Times understand bookmarking? People like to bookmark things. They like to e-mail links to their friends and work colleagues. This is Online Usability 101, folks: Use permanent URLs.

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