Newspapers: more creativity, please

As many people probably know by now, Google came out with another of its Google Labs features on Monday: a Google News timeline view, which gives users the ability to see and scroll through headlines, photos and news excerpts by day/week/month/year. The sources of this data can also be customized to include not just traditional news sources but also Wikipedia, sports scores, blogs, etc. It’s a fascinating way of interpreting the news — not something that is likely going to replace a regular old Google News headline view, but an additional way of looking at things.

One question kept nagging at me as I was looking at this latest Google effort at delivering the news, and that was: Why couldn’t a news organization have done this? Why not a newspaper, or even a collective like Associated Press (which seems to prefer threats to creativity)? Isn’t delivering the news in creative and interesting ways that appeal to readers what we are supposed to be doing? Apparently not. Even the most progressive of newspaper sites still looks very much like a traditional newspaper — not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. But is it too much to ask for a little variety? Why not have some alternative display possibilities available? Who knows, it might even con some people into reading more.

(please read the rest of this post at the Nieman Journalism Lab blog)

Me: Joining the Nieman Journalism Lab

Anyone who has followed my posts here for any length of time knows that I’m passionate about the future of journalism, so it gives me great pleasure to announce that I’ve joined the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard as a contributing blogger. My posts will be showing up there several times a week, along with the posts of two other journalist/bloggers I’ve come to admire: Tim Windsor, a former online VP at the Baltimore Sun who also blogs at Zero Percent Idle, and former newspaper publisher Martin Langeveld, who also has a personal blog called News After Newspapers. I’d like to thank Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab, for giving me this opportunity.

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