Is this the future of photojournalism?

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(Not pictured: real-time flopping. This is a screengrab from a full-screen video. © New York Times)

Over the weekend, I clicked on an interesting looking headline story on the New York Times website. I was expecting a traditional (well, digital) news story and was instead greeted by a full screen, automatically looping video. I usually prefer text to video, but in this case, I was immediately absorbed. I spent the next 20 minutes watching videos, looking at photographs, studying animated, color-coded maps and reading through text, becoming immersed in the conflict surrounding the Spratly Islands. In a short amount of time, I was able to delve into a complicated situation from a range of perspectives —  personal, visual, geopolitical — all in one place.

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(The map above is animated, effectively communicating the different layers of geopolitical intrigue. © New York Times)

Maybe people felt like this when Life magazine first came out? But unlike Life, with its heavy emphasis on the image, this piece felt particularly compelling because of its deft balancing of several kinds of media. The words, images and graphics all felt integral to the story and no one component could have stood alone (credit to the evidently great teamwork between the writer, Jeff Himmelman, the photographer Ashley Gilbertson, and the editor Joel Lovell). Hopefully this new format proves to be an invigorating force in the field of photojournalism.


© New York Times

—Alexander Strecker

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