An interesting presentation by Alexis Lloyd, Creative Technologist in the NY Times R&D lab, on profound shifts occurring in user interaction and product design in news media.
So what does working in the NY Times R&D Lab entail? Here’s how Lloyd defines its mission:
The R&D Lab was founded about 4 years ago, and our mission is really to look around corners, to foster innovation at the company by researching technology trends and projecting outward anywhere from 18 months to 2-5 years. And we design and prototype ideas for what future interfaces for news media and content might look like.
Cool. The rest of this post highlights key messages from Lloyd’s talk, and is broken down into 5 sections:
- Introduction (this section)
- Trend #1: From one (or a few) to many Devices
- Trend #2: From a Web of Pages to a Web of Data
- Trend #3: From static web to Real-Time Web
- The Future of News
From Static Publishing to an Interaction paradigm
Lloyd says that if she had to boil her entire presentation down to one sentence, it would probably be this:
The web is shifting from a publishing paradigm to a paradigm of communicating.
And this is having profound effects on the way we understand, experience, and create content.
The old paradigm
First, Lloyd presents the traditional publishing paradigm:
In the old paradigm, information was at the center, and people actively seek it out. So you have a website, and people make this pilgrimage to your website to experience your content.
The new paradigm
Then, the new publishing paradigm:
Again from Lloyd:
In the new model, people have shifted to the center of this equation. And more and more often, content and information is getting pushed to them rather than them actively going and seeking it out. Which really changes how they experience it, how they interact with it. And furthermore, those arrows are now moving in two directions a whole lot more. So not only is content being pushed to users, but they’re increasingly broadcasting it and creating their own content and pushing that outward.
This new paradigm (or model) can be described in terms of three profound shifts. They are:
- From one (or a few) to many Devices
- From a web of pages to a Web of Data
- From static web to Real-Time Web
These three shifts are described in the following sections.
A very interesting announcement by Google, the NY Times, and the Washington Post around an experiment called Living Stories. The ideas is to have a page devoted to a specific story Topic, where the evolution and unfolding of the story can be tracked at a single place.
Here’s a video that describes the Living Story concept:
Here’s to Google Lab’s Living Stories page. And here are a couple of examples, one from the New York Times on The Struggle Over Health Care, and the other from the Washington Post on Fixing D.C.’s Schools.
I previously blogged about The Guardian’s Open API strategy. Today, let’s have a look at the New York Times.
New York Times Open API Strategy
While this is a somewhat innovative strategy for a News organization, it’s a classic Web 2.0 strategy, pioneered by the likes of Amazon and Google. This is an inevitable outgrowth of the emergence of the Web as a Platform, and the Open Business Models and Value Chains that it enables. It’s going to force traditional News Media companies to make some tough discussions, as The Guardian’s Martin Belam points out in his post MPs expenses, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and the ‘open’ and ‘closed’ models of 21st century journalism.
So in a nutshell, the New York Times and The Guardian are making their data open to the public to build Mashup applications. In the case of the New York Times Article Search API, here’s one example, where someone took the raw article data, and created a visualization of the most popular topics for NY Times articles from 1985 to 2001. This may seem like a rather cheesy example, but the possibilities are profound, as suggested by the post above by The Guardian’s Martin Belam.
Nothing too profound here. Just wanted to point out that the New York Times is also incorporating Open Data into its business strategy. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.