Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Boston Bruins win their first Stanley Cup since 1972; print outshines the web in capturing the moment

To the surprise of many hockey fans, and to the utter delight of the city of Boston, the Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks last night in Vancouver to capture the Stanley Cup. The game seven match up ended up being a bit lopsided, with the Bruins winning 4-0, but surely the fans in Boston didn't mind one bit.
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And as usual, newspapers were called on to provide the instant souvenir as editors designed their front pages for their readers. Because while the web can provide readers with instant and up-to-date information, website design is still in the Middle Ages.

Neither the Boston Globe's Boston.com website, nor the Boston Herald's site, could really capture the emotion and spirit of the moment.

While print newspapers, dependent but not restrained by their page production technology, give editors maximum freedom in a situation where one story can dominate, most websites are too locked into their looks because of the constraints of their content management systems.
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PhotobucketThe Globe, via Boston.com, probably the best job of making sure their online readers knew the significance of the victory. It used its front page slideshow to have the story dominate the home page the best it could.

But the overall design of the page, with its leaderboard and navigation requirements, limited what the editors could do.

Compare the home page of Boston.com to the front page of the Globe and one sees that in print the editors have maximum freedom express the moment: font sizes can be increased, pictures enlarged, and the number of stories can be as few as one, or even none.

In situations like this, whether it is a World Series win, a 9/11-like event, or even the death of a celebrity, I wonder if creating a system that allows for a landing page solution isn't better than trying to stretch the designs of these locked-in web home pages. In any case, web design is only an art two decades old. We are still in our Lascaux phase compared to the art of print newspaper design.

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Usually after a sports victory one fears the reaction of the fans of the victorious team. Last year ESPN erroneously reported riots in San Francisco when there were none, for instance.
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But this morning the news is that the riots occurred not in Boston but in Vancouver. The Vancouver Sun leads today with "Canuck hockey dream is now Vancouver's nightmare."

"As the final game was winding down — angry, perhaps inebriated young men surged towards the giant screen on Georgia Street," Ian Mulgrew wrote this morning on the newspaper's website.

"A few bottles were hurled, there was jostling, a fistfight and an eruption outside the Canada Post building — Whoosh! A car was consumed in flames, the hooligans rejoiced and a mob began to run amuck."

Bruce Arthur, writing for the National Post, the Postmedia Network national newspaper, has this headline "Tears and Tear Gas" over his opinion piece this morning. Sad.

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